• Emma Morby

Fire doors...what do you need to look for??

Fire doors

We all watched the horror unfold when Grenfell Tower caught ablaze in 2018, I found this heart wrenching to watch as a professional who has worked in the fire industry and some findings by Dr Barbara Lane in the wake of the Grenfell tower fire were harrowing.

You can read the full report at the link below but i want to summarize on a few keys points

Here comes some technically jargon…….

Dr Lane’s report says that of the entrance doors to 120 flats at Grenfell Tower, on the night of the fire, 58 were unglazed Masterdor Suredors and 48 were glazed Masterdor Suredors. These doors were installed in 2011 as part of a replacement door programme. 14 doors were not replaced at that time. The report goes on to say the Masterdor Suredor doors “……..were composite form (filled with polymeric foam)………”. Dr Lane’s report says that she assessed all 106 doors as non-compliant with the current statutory guidance and that this non-compliance would have contributed to the failure to prevent the spread of fire and hot smoke from the flat to the lobby. Such failure would have materially affected the ability or willingness of occupants to escape through the lobby to the stairs.

I still speak to landlords on a daily basis who aren’t aware the law changed around fire doors as a direct result of Grenfell, these landlords are exposing themselves and their tenants to risks which could be so easily avoided, they are breaking the law unknowingly which Is why I decided to write this blog, to highlight the risks.

In July MHCLG produced Advice Note 16 containing advice for building owners when replacing flat entrance doors and part of the advice was that Flat entrance fire doors should have test evidence demonstrating they meet the performance requirement in “Building Regulations guidance for fire resistance and smoke control from both sides”. Advice in the same document said that “Landlords or building owners should replace flat entrance door-sets if they suspect they do not meet the fire or smoke resistance performance in the Building Regulations guidance. Fire risk assessment processes should be used to determine how urgently such doors should be replaced”.

The landlord or building operator has a legal duty, in England & Wales, to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and their Scottish and Northern Irish equivalents in those parts of the UK. Breaches of fire safety law are often severely punished so it is perfectly understandable that, in the case of flat entrance doors, the landlord will insist on assurances that the installed fire door is compliant.

I have first-hand experience from hundreds of fire door inspections that very often installation defects cause fire door non-compliance issues. These often vary from as something as basic as the door failing to self-close or intumescent strips removed/painted over to poorly fitted doors and non fire retardant fittings.

If you’re a landlord or letting agent reading this blog thinking….how do I know what fire door I have?? Is it compliant?? How do I complete a Fire Risk Assessment?? Then I have a cost effective solution, email me for more detail.

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