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In January the BWF Fire Door Alliance welcomed the announcement on new Building Safety measures from Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. A summary of his announcement can be found by clicking here.
Whilst we see these measures as a positive step for the fire door sector, we are concerned that a reference made in this statement might lead to further confusion regarding the replacement of faulty fire doors. In his statement on 20th January, Robert Jenrick MP made the following reference to faulty fire doors:
“The government welcomes the commitment by the Association of Composite Door Manufacturers to work with building owners to remediate their doors which failed tests. We will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure that this commitment is followed through.”
Our concern is that timber fire doors were absent from this statement and so it is left open to interpretation whether timber fire doors are part of those at fault. Our CEO, Helen Hewitt, has since written to Robert Jenrick MP to express our concern on this matter and to remind him that all timber fire doors tested as part of the MHCLG investigation last year passed – that’s a 100% pass rate.
We took the decision to address our concerns with government because we know that there is still confusion in the market. Last year we took a similar approach with local authorities and Helen, as BWF CEO, wrote an open letter to all UK councils after investigative journalist Nathaniel Barker published an article in Inside Housing highlighting the confusion surrounding fire doors and the slow pace of replacement. Through data obtained from 98 councils, Inside Housing reported that the councils believed that approximately 33,522 of fire doors installed in blocks of flats are unlikely to satisfy the 30 minute standard.
It was reported that the slow pace of replacement programmes was due to the lack of ‘reliable’ fire doors on the market, a misconception due to the five month moratorium on the sale of glass reinforced plastic (GRP) composite fire doors following on from the MHCLG testing programme. With so many unreliable fire doors fitted, the BWF was compelled to write to local authorities to let them know that all timber fire doors were found to perform in the government testing programme, in contrast to GRP fire doors, and that they were available in the market place.
To avoid any confusion in the future, we do hope the government makes reference to timber fire doors and the 100% pass rate. A response from the Secretary of State is expected shortly.