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Last edited 24 Mar 2019
Grenfell fire door investigation
On 16 May 2018, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire updated Parliament on the fire door investigation undertaken following the Metropolitan Police discovery that a fire door installed at Grenfell Tower, which was designed to resist fire for up to 30 minutes, failed after just 15.
The Grenfell Tower independent expert advisory panel concluded that there was a performance issue with these fire doors (manufactured by Manse Masterdor), which do not consistently meet the 30 minute fire resistance standard required by the building regulations.
The National Fire Chiefs Council advise that the risk to public safety is low as the fire protection of buildings involves a range of measures and that the failure of one should not significantly change the overall safety of residents. In addition, all doors provide essential protection in a fire if they are properly closed.
However, the panel advise that owners of buildings with this type of door should review their fire risk assessment and consider how quickly these doors should be replaced. They have published guidance to assist building owners in making this decision, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-for-building-owners-on-assurance-and-replacing-of-flat-entrance-fire-doors
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is writing to customers of Manse Masterdor. It is also looking at the wider fire door market and intends to test fire doors from other door suppliers.
James Brokenshire said; “Based on the results of these investigations to date, the expert panel advise the risk to public safety remains low. However they advise there is a performance issue with Manse Masterdor which is why we are taking the responsible step of writing to relevant building owners setting out clear advice on what they should do. Fire service advice to residents remains the same. Regularly test your smoke alarms, ensure your front door is properly closed and in the event of a fire follow existing fire procedures for the building.”
The council had been heavily criticised in a report commissioned by voluntary sector organisations that led the response to the Grenfell fire, and said that they 'believe that the replacement programme must be started as a matter of urgency'. However, it is expected that it could take up to two years to complete.
In July 2018, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire MP reported that fire doors from five suppliers had failed to meet fire performance standards, and suggested this highlighted broader potential failings within the industry. He instructed major fire door suppliers to meet and agree a clear plan of action to tackle these failings. He also asked National Trading Standards to oversee local investigations.
Brokenshire said; "While the department’s investigations are on-going, I now have enough evidence to suggest that there is a broader issue across the fire door market. That is why I am calling on suppliers to meet this week and provide reassurance that they are gripping this issue properly. I want to see a clear plan of action to rectify existing problems and ensure such failures are not repeated in the future. Whilst our Expert Panel assures me the risk remains low I want to assure the public that the government is doing everything it can to ensure construction products are of the highest safety standards and accurately tested and marketed."
The products that failed tests were both glazed and unglazed doors supplied by Manse Masterdor and Masterdor Limited and glazed composite doors supplied by Specialist Building Products Limited, trading as Permadoor; Solar Windows Limited; and Birtley Group Limited, trading as Bowater by Birtley. They have been now been withdrawn from the market.
In February 2019, the government reported that 75% of manufacturers who make glass reinforced plastic (GRP) composite fire doors have failed government commissioned tests. Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-door-testing-grp-composite-test-results
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