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Grenfell investigation throws doubt on fire door performance

In a statement issued last week, Scotland Yard confirmed that tests on the front door of a flat taken from Grenfell Tower had found the door only resisted the fire for approximately 15 minutes. The door was designed to resist fire for 30 minutes.


The investigation is ongoing, but the statement from Scotland Yard has once thrown the spotlight on the critical issue of fire door safety.


DHF (Door & Hardware Federation) has today re-issued its call for the use of factory-prepared doorsets.


The Tamworth-based trade association believes that installing a complete factory-prepared doorset that has been tested as a complete unit, manufactured under a third-party certification scheme, installed and maintained by companies certified to do so under third-party certification, provides a plethora of benefits, namely, safety, peace of mind, reduced installation time and ultimately, costs. 


 In February, DHF produced a comprehensive guide to the benefits of ‘factory prepared complete timber doorsets’ in a bid to raise awareness of their many advantages, most importantly, fire safety.  The organisation has also urged the UK to follow Europe’s lead in providing more thorough fire door maintenance procedures, which can ultimately, save lives.


“We find the results of the Metropolitan Police’s recent investigation extremely troubling,” explains DHF’s CEO, Bob Perry.  “Fire doors are an integral part of the fire strategy for any building. Properly installed and maintained, a fire door will achieve its specified fire resistance which could be anything between 30 minutes and four hours, depending on location, providing vital and life-saving minutes in the event of a fire.  


“We wholeheartedly recommend the use of factory-prepared complete doorsets whose components have been tested together and – when correctly manufactured, installed and maintained by trained personnel – will meet the necessary fire safety requirements.  


“We would also once again encourage landlords and large housing providers such as local authorities and housing associations to be completely aware of their legal and moral responsibilities in ensuring that their premises provide protection and keep their residents safe.”


White Paper published

Also released this week is a thought-provoking White Paper from ASSA ABLOY Security Doors. The White Paper covers key topics of fire door safety, including the purpose and effectiveness of fire doors, fire door regulations, manufacturing and installation.


Fire doors are one of the most important and effective elements of a building’s passive fire protection. ASSA ABLOY Security Doors wanted to discuss how mandatory inspection and maintenance of fire doors can only serve to protect a building and its occupants.


The White Paper discusses in detail how installing correctly specified fire doors can significantly reduce the spread of fire within a building. It then provides practical information covering current fire door guidance, standards and accreditation.

It also calls for the UK government to adopt and enforce a mandatory fire door inspection and maintenance scheme. 


Brian Sofley, Managing Director at ASSA ABLOY Security Doors and author of the whitepaper, says: “Proper fire doors save lives, but only if they are correctly manufactured and installed. However, there is nothing in UK law or building regulations that states public buildings must maintain fire doors, even though they are a life-saving product.


“This White Paper provides information and guidance about fire door safety as a whole, and I hope it will prove useful for those involved in the construction industry as well as those lobbying to change fire door regulations in the UK.”


Click here to download the White Paper.