Thousands of new fire doors for Hackney homes

Thousands of new fire doors for Hackney homes

AROUND 17,000 homes in the London borough will have front doors replaced with 30 minute fire doors, according to Hackney Council.

Hackney Citizen reported on the news from the council’s installation plan, with this expected to take three years and going before its cabinet later in October. Replacement doors will be fitted ‘in order of priority’ based on fire risk assessments (FRAs) undertaken by the council, with the majority of residents living in tower blocks six storeys or higher to get new front doors. Those in blocks with 10 storeys or more will get the doors first, it noted however.

Doors that need replacing include older units that don’t meet the 30 minute fire and smoke legislation laid out in building regulations, alongside a ‘small percentage’ of newer doors that ‘may need to be replaced or improved’. This is because the council ‘cannot be sure they provide that resistance’, and this is subject to ‘ongoing government testing’. These newer doors make up around 10% of the total number, though the council does not have any Manse Masterdor units.

In response to that discovery earlier this year in relation to the doors used at Grenfell Tower, Hackney Council commissioned an accredited fire safety company to undertake fire resistance testing on its doors, which include two composite and one timber brand, with initial testing concluded in July. The council is set to ‘scrutinise carefully’ the composite test results after they passed, while timber door tests are to be undertaken by the government in coming weeks.

Kim Wright, group director of housing, stated: ‘We have been working very closely with the London Fire Brigade on this issue. Their advice is that residents are at no immediate risk and the current doors provide protection and valuable escape time in the event of a fire. What we are proposing is investment in new doors that will make homes even safer.

‘Fire-rated doors prevent the spread of fire and smoke. It is important to remember that the Grenfell tragedy related to the cladding on the building, which assisted the spread of the fire, and not the fire doors.’

Earlier this year, the council stated that 178 urgent issues in its blocks remained ‘outstanding’, though 94% of the 2,968 ‘high priority issues’ discovered from its FRAs undertaken last year ‘have been either resolved or are being worked on’, leaving around 6% or 178 issues.

The council also stated that 83% of the 12,571 medium priority issues ‘are either resolved or are in the works’, alongside 79% of 5,318 low priority issues. It stated earlier this year that ‘essential’ housing works ‘face years of delays’ without the government’s help on fire safety, having previously disclosed that ‘at least’ 40% of the high priority jobs picked up’ in FRAs ‘will breach’ a one month window recommended by experts, and it would take FRAs in house to save money.

Last year, the council – through mayor Philip Glanville – released 1,800 FRAs online having previously apologised for providing incorrect fire safety information on the day of the Grenfell fire and ‘misleading’ the public. He had stated on 14 June that ‘all of our buildings have an up-to-date fire risk assessment (FRA)’, but after one assessment was found to be ‘out of date’ and another had not been undertaken for five years, he said ‘we apologise, it was not our intention to mislead anyone’.

FRAs ordered found there were nearly 3,000 jobs to be undertaken, and in a report published following the review, 1,823 FRAs were carried out that found 21,743 issues, with 2,968 of these deemed ‘high priority’ and 11 ‘critical’ that have been fixed.

The council had stated a cladding report was being written, but has since said it will not be produced, while a former health and safety officer had stated that information given to residents about upcoming cladding work was ‘meaningless’, with fire risks still remaining. He also complained about contractor safety on more than one occasion, with the council being forced to defend its cladding contractor against those allegations.