Housing chiefs to spend £2.5m after 2,000 fire doors fail safety tests

Posted On 19 Jun 2019 at 4:44 pm

Housing chiefs expect to spend at least £2.5 million replacing thousands of fire doors in blocks of flats across Brighton and Hove.

They said that the risk to people living in council flats remained low despite the doors failing the test – to withstand fire for at least 30 minutes.

And they were keen to reassure tenants and leaseholders that the doors were only one of a number of fire safety measures in the dozens of council blocks affected.

The doors in question are all at least 10 years old and were made by a company called Masterdor which recently went bust, members of Brighton and Hove City Council were told.

Councillor John Allcock, the new chair of the council’s Housing and New Homes Committee, said: “We have been in constant contact with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government since they told us that Masterdor fire doors failed the 30-minute fire resistance standard in their tests.

“We have 2,254 of these doors in our blocks – 1,585 in high-rise blocks and 669 in other flats.

“All were installed before 2010.

“We are keen to resolve this issue as soon as possible. We are pressing the ministry for information on the type of doors we should use to replace Masterdors and how to cover the costs.

“We want to reassure residents that our highest priority is their safety.

“We are continuing to work with the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service on reviewing our fire safety practices in light of the government advice following the Grenfell fire.

“The advice we’ve been given on these fire doors is that the risk to public safety remains low as a building’s fire protection uses a range of measures and a failure of one should not significantly change the overall safety.

“We’ve carried out additional fire risk assessments on the high-rise buildings where these doors are fitted to look specifically at the potential impacts of the doors failing within 30 minutes and the assessments confirm that the risk remains low.”

Councillor Allcock added: “The government’s inaction two years after Grenfell is plainly inadequate. “It needs to be on our agenda because of the impact of the cost and the need to ensure residents’ safety.”

Councillor John Allcock

Last August the council said: “The council is temporarily halting its routine front door replacement programme in blocks of flats following a national agreement by manufacturers to suspend production of fire doors. Essential repairs to doors will not be affected.

“The move follows a call to door suppliers from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to take action after a number of fire doors failed to meet performance standards in testing carried out following the Grenfell fire.

“The advice from the government and National Fire Chiefs Council on fire doors is that the additional risk to public safety is low as a building’s fire protection uses a range of measures and, even when not meeting full resistance standards, fire doors will provide some protection.

“IG Doors, the council’s current door supplier, has written to our repairs partner Mears to inform them that they’ve currently suspended the supply of new doors.

“IG Doors are not one of the suppliers whose doors failed.

“MHCLG has informed local authorities that testing on Masterdor fire doors has found they do not consistently meet the 30-minute fire resistance standard.

“We have 2,254 of these doors in our housing – 1,585 in high-rise blocks and 669 in other properties. All were installed before 2010.

“We have carried out additional fire risk assessments on all our high-rise buildings where Masterdor fire doors are fitted.

“We’ve looked specifically at the potential impacts of the doors failing within 30 minutes and the assessments have confirmed that the risk remains low.

“Our highest priority is the safety of our residents and we are awaiting further instruction from the government on what further action to take.

“The National Fire Chiefs Council has advised that people should follow existing fire procedures for the building.

“Residents should also test their smoke alarms regularly to ensure they work and ensure that their flat front door is fitted with a working self-closing device.

“All doors provide essential protection in a fire if they are properly closed.”

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