Five suppliers see fire doors fail performance tests
THE FIVE suppliers’ doors have failed UK performance tests, and have been withdrawn from the market as a result.
The Guardian reported on the news, which saw fire doors manufactured by Manse Masterdor and Masterdor Limited, Specialist Building Products Limited (trading as Permadoor), Solar Windows Limited and Birtley Group Limited. These companies’ doors, including glazed and unglazed units as well as glazed composite doors, were tested at the Building Research Establishment, with each supposed to be able to withstand 30 minutes of fire, but some failing in 19 minutes.
As a consequence of failing the tests, the doors ‘have been withdrawn from the market’ according to the government, with the suppliers named above said to ‘represent some of the main suppliers in the market’, with fire safety expert Arnold Tarling stating that there are ‘tens of thousands’ of the doors nationwide, ‘possibly hundreds of thousands’.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire ordered the suppliers to meet this week to ‘plan how to rectify the problem’, with The Guardian pointing out that the move is ‘likely to mean front doors across the country will have to be replaced’. Mr Brokenshire stated: ‘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.’
Earlier in 2018, an independent panel stated that ‘no change’ was needed to building fire safety advice after a fire door from Grenfell Tower tests recently failed police tests. That panel aimed to ‘determine whether any further action was required as a result’, and in a written statement, then Housing Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed further investigations into the doors – manufactured by Manse Masterdor, which is now no longer trading – were not recommended.
More recently, Mr Brokenshire updated parliament, confirming experts ‘advise the risk to public safety remains low’, though soon after that an investigation found that London councils continue to ‘scramble to replace’ tens of thousands of faulty fire doors. These latest tests came after police tests on doors used at Grenfell Tower found that they could only resist flames for 15 minutes, and not the 30 minutes expected. With this new development, Mr Brokenshire has asked the National Trading Standards body to oversee local investigations taking place.
Mr Tarling commented: ‘I am not surprised these have failed. If you have a solid wooden door you know it is going to work, but if it is thin plastic and aluminium I don’t see how it can work. The reason these doors are used is they are cheap. There are tens of thousands of them across the country, possibly hundreds of thousands, because they are cheap. We are finding that you get what you pay for.’