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1 August 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Fire doors from five suppliers have now been identified as failing to meet the requisite fire performance standard, following an investigation by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
This highlights broader potential failings within the industry and the government is taking immediate action to address this.
MHCLG began investigating the fire door industry after it was found that a glazed, composite fire door from Grenfell Tower manufactured by Manse Masterdor failed a 30-minute fire resistance test after approximately 15 minutes.
Issues were subsequently identified with doors produced by Masterdor Limited (the successor business to Manse Masterdor). Investigations have continued and in the past few days, doors from three other manufacturers have failed fire-resistance testing when tested on both sides.
The MHCLG is writing to all building control bodies to highlight the need to check that existing building regulations guidance on new fire door installations is followed. The guidance sets out the tests that should be performed - including testing doors on both sides - in order to meet building regulations requirements.
Community's secretary James Brokenshire has instructed major fire door suppliers to meet this week and agree a clear plan of action to tackle the failings that have been identified, with weekly progress reports.
The government's Independent Expert Panel and the National Fire Chiefs Council have advised that the additional risk to public safety is low, as even when not meeting full resistance standards fire doors will provide some protection from the spread of fire and are part of layered fire protection systems within buildings.
Brokenshire said: "While the department's investigations are ongoing, 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."
Brokenshire has also asked National Trading Standards to oversee local investigations that are taking place. The MHCLG will also work with third-party certification bodies to develop minimum standards of assurance to provide building owners with greater confidence in the fire doors they buy.
The products that have failed government tests to date were 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.
All doors that are known to have failed to meet the necessary standards have been withdrawn from the market and the department has informed local trading standards of its findings. Each manufacturer has cooperated fully with the government's investigations, which are continuing.