Landlords investigate fire door safety after tests show Grenfell doors held up half as long as expected

Date Added 25/03/2018

Doors designed to last 30 minutes were destroyed in 15, say Met Police, breaking fire door regulations.

The tests were undertaken as part of the criminal investigation into the West London blaze which killed 71 last June.

Current regulations state all fire doors must be able to withstand fire for at least thirty minutes to meet the requirements set out by British Standard BS476-22. However doors of the same type used in Grenfell Tower were destroyed in just 15 minutes, half as long as certified.

Research by magazine Inside Housing showed 44 housing associations and councils are now in the process of verifying the safety of their fire doors since the findings of the investigation were released last week.

Five said they believed they may have doors from the same manufacturer of the Grenfell doors that failed the tests, Manse Masterdor, among their stock.

Barking and Dagenham council confirmed that some of their fire doors in use were Manse Masterdor FD30, the type that failed the most recent tests. A spokesperson for the East London authority said:

"The type of doors fitted were fire-resistance-tested by the company and met the expected 30-minute time to failure test."

However the council said it is considering upgrading its doors to those designed to withstand 60 minutes of fire. 

10 more landlords, including Optivo, Riverside and Home Group stated they plan to undertake extra checks following last week's findings. 

The Manse Masterdor FD30 doors were manufactured by Manse Masterdor in 2013. The company is no longer trading, and currently going through liquidation under a new name, having been acquired by Synseal in 2014. 

According to Inside Housing, there are numerous Manse Masterdor doors fitted throughout Kensington and Chelsea Council's housing stock, which included Grenfell Tower, and they are likely installed in many other social housing blocks elsewhere.

A survivor of the tragedy called the findings "shocking", and said more must be done to make homes safe from fire risk.

Natasha Elcock, part of the bereaved and survivors' group Grenfell United, told the Independent: "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.
"Grenfell United will not stop campaigning until the lessons of Grenfell are learnt. Nothing can bring our loved ones back but we must make sure a fire like this never happens again."

Inside Housing magazine is running its own safety campaign, Never Again, urging landlords to carry out fire risk assessments following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Scotland Yard said it was unable to comment on the test results due to the ongoing investigation. In a letter sent to survivors and families, a senior investigating officer from the Metropolitan Police, Matt Bonner, outlined the findings and added: "Independent experts have advised that the risk to public safety is low, and that evidence from the suspected issue does not change this assessment."

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said the findings were not "systemic" and risk to public safety remained low.

The government said it will provide a further update on the testing in April, after the doors have been deconstructed and the materials analysed.

Whale Fire carries out comprehensive testing for both residential and commercial buildings. For more information, email info@whalefire.co.uk or call free on 0800 772 0738.