In a letter sent to all Local Authorities in the UK, Permanent Secretary to the Department of Communities and Local Government, Melanie Dawes CB sets down in no uncertain terms a clear set of guidelines for Local Authorities, reminding them of their responsibilities and providing clear guidance on how to meet them when it comes to Fire Safety in High Rise buildings. Critically for Fire Doors it underpins the import of third party certification (see extract below):
"Check that all flat entrance doors, and doors that open onto escape corridors and stairways, are fire-resisting and effectively self-closing against any resistance of a latch (or, for example, in the case of plant rooms or cupboards, are kept locked shut.) For guidance on these doors, consult the Local Government Association guidance on fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats – https://www.local.gov.uk/fire-safety-purpose-builtflats – but, in general, doors that were deemed to be fire-resisting at the time of construction of the block will be satisfactory. Replace any non-fire-resisting doors (such as non-fire-resisting upvc doors) immediately with doorsets (i.e. doors and frames) that are third party certificated as providing at least 30 minutes fire resistance."
This is exactly the kind of clear guidance that we have hoped to see and lobbied for in Approved Document B and will hopefully ensure that the legacy of Grenfell is safer buildings and an end to specification breaking and "just get it done" fire doors.
Fire Door Safety Week is set to take place in the last week of September and this provides the perfect platform to underpin the messages in this letter and drive the changes that will deliver safer buildings for all.