Fire Door safety is an issue that we’ve placed the utmost importance on at RW Joinery, as we know full well the risks of installing doors which don’t meet test standards. We’re shocked and saddened to see that it has taken a tragedy such as Grenfell for the campaign to receive maximum attention.
As part of the latest “comprehensive investigations” into the Grenfell Tower disaster on 14th June last year – where 71 people lost their lives – has revealed that the installed Fire Doors were able to withstand the deadly blaze for 15 minutes. This was only half as long as the doors were intended to endure when originally designed (30 minutes).
In an article for Sky News which covers today’s new findings, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police had this to say:
“As part of this investigation experts tested a flat front fire door taken from Grenfell Tower.
“The fire door tested was designed to resist fire for up to 30 minutes but during the test, it was only found to resist the fire for approximately 15 minutes. A much shorter period than expected.
“The forensic examination and the testing phase is ongoing and we are not able to comment as to the potential impact or otherwise that any test result may have on the overall criminal investigation.”
The families affected by the disaster are understandably upset by these findings, with this being the latest in a long line of faults to have been discovered in the structural design of the building. Natasha Elcock, a representative from Grenfell United, had this to say:
“It’s shocking – first the cladding and insulation, then the doors. Who knows what else is putting people’s lives at risk?
“It’s time people’s lives are taken more seriously – and that includes everyone from every walk of life.
“People’s homes must be made absolutely safe for them and their children. The Government should have improved regulations after previous fires. We can’t listen to any more excuses.”
The local council, however, have urged the public not to jump to conclusions just yet until test results are complete.
A Kensington and Chelsea Council spokesman said:
“We understand that tests organised by the Government have found that three fire doors from the same company provided less protection than guidelines recommend, but test results are as yet inconclusive.
“Alongside hundreds of councils and landlords across the country, we are seeking further information from the Government on what this means for our residents.
“As soon as we have clear advice from the Government about the safety implications of these tests, we will write to our residents about what this means for them.
“We understand this news will be of particular concern to residents in this borough, which is why we are urging the Government to move as quickly as it can to give us clarity about the situation.”
“It is concerning to hear about the door at Grenfell, but sadly it is not a surprise.
Through our Fire Door Scheme (BWF Certifire), Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) and the Fire Door Safety Week campaign, we have been raising awareness about the critical role that fire doors play in protecting occupants, buildings and firefighters and to draw attention to the legacy of neglect. Too many people don’t give fire doors a second thought and forget that their real job is to provide a barrier to fire, prevent it spreading throughout a building and keep escape and access routes clear.
The fire door is a system of components that all must be tested and work together to prevent failure. Getting just one small detail wrong can have an enormous impact. We regularly see fire doors that have been compromised by the use of uncertificated, incompatible and non-fire-resistant components, poor fitting and inadequate maintenance, and of course, if a fire door is wedged open it’s no use whatsoever. It is vital the door is installed by competent people and there is full traceability of the products so that those who hold legal and moral responsibility for managing fire safety can ensure specification is not broken, and the doors can be managed properly to remain safe throughout their life span.
Grenfell is a tragic event and we and our members stand resolute in our commitment to supporting this review process and ensuring that this kind of event can never happen again.”
There’s more research to be found on Fire Door safety through the official Fire Door Safety Week website with their toolkit, which can be found here. You can also find a best practice guide with more detailed info on the BWF’s website too. We urge readers to take a look at both of these pages, as it is imperative that awareness is raised about this information as often and as much as possible. It really could be the difference between life and death for lots of people.