NEWS Halt on composite fire door sales lifted

THE GOVERNMENT lifted the moratorium after three months of discussion with industry representatives as to their safety. Earlier in 2018, an independent

panel stated that ‘no change’ was needed to building fire safety advice after a fire door from Grenfell Tower tests failed police tests. That panel aimed to ‘determine whether any further action was required as a result’, and in a written statement, then Housing Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed further investigations into the doors – manufactured by Manse Masterdor, which is now no longer trading – were not recommended. Later, new Housing Secretary

James Brokenshire updated parliament, confirming that experts ‘advise the risk to public safety remains low’, though soon after that, an investigation found that London councils continue to ‘scramble to replace’ tens of thousands of faulty fire doors. Police tests on doors used at Grenfell Tower found that they could only resist flames for 15 minutes, and not the 30 minutes expected. In August, five suppliers’ doors

failed UK performance tests, and have been withdrawn from the market, while the National Housing Federation then warned that social landlords are ‘struggling to get hold of’ new fire doors, and are ‘uncertain’ about the risks posed by those that failed safety tests. In September 2018, confusion over government advice regarding fire doors delayed ‘vital work’ to replace unsafe fire doors nationwide.

‘The cost to the composite door industry during this period has been very heavy, with a number of casualties in terms of jobs and revenue. However, as long as all manufacturers of such products have completed bilateral testing in strict accordance with the building regulations, and provided the necessary written confirmation to their supplier, then supply may resume. ‘The task force set up by the

ACDM to tackle this issue has spent a great deal of time and energy to bring this to the earliest possible conclusion.’ Another development arising

Inside Housing reported that

the ‘moratorium’ on the sale of composite fire doors has been lifted, after the government and the industry spent three months discussing the risks. The doors are ‘typically made’ from plastic casing and insulation, and their sale was halted ‘after a slew of products’ failed safety tests. The sales ban was lifted based

on the proviso that manufacturers ‘can demonstrate primary test evidence illustrating that products have passed the required fire tests from both sides’, alongside ‘written confirmation’ from a test house confirming the result. In turn, a director from the manufacturer must also confirm ‘in writing’ that the company will ‘supply doors using only the exact same components as tested’. Andrew Fowlds, chair of the Association of Composite Door Manufacturers (ACDM), stated:

from the discussions was that the ACDM will become the governing body for the composite door industry, and will lead ‘development, implementation and policing’ of standards as well as promote use of the doors. The ACDM will also compile a database of all fire door products ‘tested by members’, and provide technical advice. A spokesperson for the Ministry

for Housing, Communities and Local Government stated: ‘It was right that swift action was taken to remove the GRP door off the market. We are pleased the industry has taken steps to ensure their products meet the required standards to be sold on the UK market. ‘Fire doors on sale in the UK

must meet the safety requirements as set out in building regulation advice, and we are continuing to work with the industry and local authorities to make sure this is the case.’

BAFE sees record monthly registrations

IN ONE month last November, 34 companies registered third party certification on schemes available from BAFE. BAFE stated that the companies

had ‘all successfully achieved third party certification to one of the BAFE schemes’ to ‘prove their competency in a specific fire safety service’, with the end of November seeing BAFE register 40% more

companies ‘than for the whole of 2017’. This had ‘broken registration records’ for the organisation, which believes UKAS accredited third party certification is ‘a clear method of demonstrating a company’s competency to provide fire safety services’. Stephen Adams, BAFE chief

executive, commented: ‘It is evident with the increase in

12 FEBRUARY 2019

companies gaining third party certification that end users and specifiers are taking their fire safety obligations more seriously than ever before. ‘It is encouraging to see that

more providers are seeking to gain third party certification to validate their own competency, distinguishing themselves from their competition.’

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