Thousands of residents to receive new fire doors
About 17,000 homes will be fitted with new or upgraded front doors as part of the Council’s multi-million pound investment proposals which are set to improve resident safety and reduce fire risks.
The majority of tenants and leaseholders living in flats in tower blocks of six storeys and higher are to be given more fire-resistant doors in order to bring homes up to current building regulations that state flat front doors must provide 30 minutes’ fire and smoke protection. The plans go before Council Cabinet later this month.
The door replacement work is being undertaken in order of priority, based on fire risk assessments undertaken by the Council.The Council is initially replacing all the front doors of flats in blocks that are 10 storeys and higher, with the entire project expected to take around three years.
The doors in need of replacement include older doors that don’t meet the 30-minute fire and smoke resistance legislation and a small percentage of newer doors that may need to be replaced or improved because we cannot be sure they provide that resistance. This is subject to ongoing Government testing.
The newer doors the Council thinks need replacing make up approximately 10 per cent of the total number of doors. The flat front doors will be replaced with a door that meets 30 minutes of intense fire under test conditions.
We have been working very closely with the London Fire Brigade on this issue.
Their advice is that residents are at no immediate risk and the current doors provide protection and valuable escape time in the event of a fire. What we are proposing is investment in new doors that will make homes even safer.
Fire-rated doors prevent the spread of fire and smoke. It is important to remember that the Grenfell tragedy related to the cladding on the building, which assisted the spread of the fire, and not the fire doors.
In March 2018, the Metropolitan Police revealed that the flat front fire doors installed in Grenfell Tower (manufactured by Manse Masterdor) failed under test conditions in 15 minutes; just half the 30-minute resistance it should have offered. We do not have any of these doors in our blocks.
Following that, the Council commissioned an accredited fire safety company to carry out fire resistance testing on its door stock, including two composite and one timber brand. The Council booked that in April and received initial results in July. The composite doors were tested on one side, which was standard practice at the time. The Government has since issued guidance that requires composite doors be tested on both sides. The manufacturers tell us their doors have passed that test; they intend to share those results, which we will scrutinise carefully.
Testing of the timber door will be undertaken by the Government in the coming weeks.