Since the 2017 Grenfell Tragedy, companies have been under scrutiny for ignoring the hazards their products can cause.
The fire at the tower, which killed 72 and left people homeless, has brought the issues with fire safety products into the national spotlight. In a recent market survey, five top suppliers of fire doors failed their initial tests. These products have now been withdrawn from the market, but it begs the question as to how likely another tragedy like the Grenfell Tower could be if companies are not willing to bring their products up to standard.
The government agency tested these fire doors and found they could only withstand flames for around 15 minutes, as opposed to the necessary 30 minutes. These doors are vital when it comes to containing blazes and allowing occupants to exit their buildings safely.
Among the major companies who were cracked down were glazed and unglazed doors from Manse Masterdor and Masterdor Limited, Specialist Building Products Limited, Solar Windows Limited and Birtley Group Limited. Tested by the Building Research Establishment, experts concluded that the products, which are present in hundreds of thousands of homes across the UK, could put a huge number of people in danger.
The Communities Secretary James Brokenshire called for greater transparency and a huge overhaul of the suppliers in the market. He argued that he now had enough evidence to ‘suggest there is a broader issue in the fire door market’ and that the emphasis was now to support the suppliers into making their products safe and durable.
Companies are already beginning to invest in newer materials to create more durable products. Here at RWJ, we have pioneered the making of timber fire doors in the belief that this helps maintain safety in buildings. It will take time to change the presence of unsafe fire doors in buildings across the UK, but the government is confident that the Grenfell tragedy will speed up the process of helping keep people safe in the event of a fire.