Halt on composite fire door sales lifted
THE GOVERNMENT lifted the moratorium after three months of discussion with industry representatives as to their safety.
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 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.
Later, new Housing Secretary James 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. Police tests on doors used at Grenfell Tower found that they could only resist flames for 15 minutes, and not the 30 minutes expected.
In August, five suppliers’ doors failed UK performance tests, and have been withdrawn from the market, while the National Housing Federation then warned that social landlords are ‘struggling to get hold of’ new fire doors, and are ‘uncertain’ about the risks posed by those that failed safety tests. In September (http://www.frmjournal.com/news/news_detail.fire-door-replacement-delayed-by-misleading-government-advice.html) confusion over government advice regarding fire doors delayed ‘vital work’ to replace unsafe fire doors nationwide.
Now, Inside Housing has reported that the ‘moratorium’ on the sale of composite fire doors has been lifted, after the government and the industry spent three months discussing the risks. The doors are ‘typically made’ from plastic casing and insulation, and their sale was halted ‘after a slew of products’ failed safety tests.
The sales ban was lifted based on the proviso that manufacturers ‘can demonstrate primary test evidence illustrating that products have passed the required fire tests from both sides’, alongside ‘written confirmation’ from a test house confirming the result. In turn, a director from the manufacturer must also confirm ‘in writing’ that the company will ‘supply doors using only the exact same components as tested’.
Andrew Fowlds, chair of the Association of Composite Door Manufacturers (ACDM), stated: ‘The cost to the composite door industry during this period has been very heavy, with a number of casualties in terms of jobs and revenue. However, as long as all manufacturers of such products have completed bilateral testing in strict accordance with the building regulations, and provided the necessary written confirmation to their supplier, then supply may resume.
‘The task force set up by the ACDM to tackle this issue has spent a great deal of time and energy to bring this to the earliest possible conclusion.’
Another development arising from the discussions was that the ACDM will become the governing body for the composite door industry, and will lead ‘development, implementation and policing’ of standards as well as promote use of the doors. The ACDM will also compile a database of all fire door products ‘tested by members’, and provide technical advice.
A spokesperson for the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government stated: ‘It was right that swift action was taken to remove the GRP door off the market. We are pleased the industry has taken steps to ensure their products meet the required standards to be sold on the UK market.
‘Fire doors on sale in the UK must meet the safety requirements as set out in building regulation advice, and we are continuing to work with the industry and local authorities to make sure this is the case.’