In October 2019, Sir Martin Moore-Bick made a number of recommendations in conclusion to Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which he chaired. His aim was for these recommendations to be adopted by owners and managers of all residential buildings, to prevent such a devastating incident from occurring again. In this blog, I will specifically focus on the recommendations made relating to fire doors, and the best practice guidance that was subsequently published by the government to improve fire door industry standards.
During Phase 1 of the Inquiry, Sir Martin found evidence that ineffective fire doors ‘allowed smoke and toxic gasses to spread through the building more quickly than should have been possible.’ He used this finding to underline the importance of effective fire doors and to justify the cost of upgrading older doors and doorsets to meet current standards.
Sir Martin made three main recommendations in relation to fire doors:
1) ‘Those who have responsibility…for the condition of the entrance doors to individual flats in high-rise residential buildings, whose external walls incorporate unsafe cladding, be required by law to ensure that such doors comply with current standards.’
2) ‘That the owner and manager of every residential building containing separate dwellings…carry out an urgent inspection of all fire doors to ensure they comply with applicable legislative standards.’
3) ‘That the owner and manager of every residential building containing separate dwellings…be required by law to carry out checks at not less than three-monthly intervals to ensure that all fire doors are fitted with effective self-closing devices in working order.’
Sir Martin’s recommendations, published in October 2019, have been taken into consideration in subsequent Government guidance and proposed legislation. For example, in January this year, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published Advice for Building Owners of Multi-storey, Multi-occupied Residential Buildings, which included advice on assurance and assessment of flat entrance fire doors.