Police investigations revealed in March that glazed composite fire doors inside Grenfell Tower could resist fire for only 15 minutes, instead of the 30 minutes they were required to by building regulations guidance.
The government immediately sought advice from its independent expert panel to see what action was required, and has undertaken further testing and investigations.
The composite flat entrance fire doors used in Grenfell Tower were manufactured by Manse Masterdor, a company that has not been trading since 2014. Their inadequate performance was discovered by the Metropolitan Police investigation into the fire that killed 71 residents of high-rise Grenfell Tower in June 2017.
The government’s expert panel has now confirmed that there is a performance issue with these Manse Masterdor FD30 fire doors, which do not consistently meet the 30 minute fire resistance standard. The National Fire Chiefs Council has advised the expert panel that the risk to public safety remains low. They point out that fire protection in a building is developed using a range of measures so a failure of one protection measure – such as fire doors – should not significantly change the overall safety of residents. In addition, all doors provide essential protection in a fire if they are closed.
However, the expert panel is advising that building owners need to replace these doors. “Fire risk assessment processes should be used to determine how urgently such doors should be replaced,” the advice note says.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government is writing to customers of Manse Masterdor identified in the company’s records as having been supplied with these doors. It is also looking at the wider fire door market and intends to test fire doors from other door suppliers.
It is also now looking at the wider fire door market and intends to test fire doors from other door suppliers.
Secretary of state for housing James Brokenshire told the House of Commons: “Public safety is paramount. When we were informed about an issue with a Grenfell Tower fire door, we acted quickly to seek independent expert advice and established a wide-ranging investigation.
“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.”
Fire safety advice for residents is available at: https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/High--Rise-Safety-for-Residents