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Further tests ordered after Grenfell fire door fails 30-minute trial

Grenfell tower fire crop
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Ministers have ordered further tests after a fire door salvaged from Grenfell Tower failed police checks.

The government said more investigations would be carried out after the door withstood flames for just 15 minutes in an assessment by the Metropolitan Police. Building Regulations required the fire door to be resistant for 30 minutes.

Housing minister Sajid Javid said today that follow-up tests must be ‘carried out thoroughly but at pace’. The government said these would involve:

  • Subjecting additional fire doors from the same batch and others to BS476-22 fire resistance tests
  • Methodical deconstruction and comprehensive visual inspections of a series of doors
  • Analysis of materials used in the manufacture of this batch of fire doors
  • Investigation of the manufacturer’s supply records

An update will be provided at the end of next month.

Javid added: ‘Public safety is paramount. The government has consulted a range of independent experts and they have advised that the risks to public safety remain low.’

Judith Hackitt, chair of manufacturing employers’ body the EEF, is leading a government-commissioned independent review of Building Regulations and fire safety. Her interim report found the current regulations were ‘not fit for purpose’, and identified six broad areas for change. 

A public inquiry, chaired by retired judge Martin Moore-Bick, is examining the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the Grenfell Tower tragedy. 

It emerged in December that a Metropolitan Police Investigation into the fire had obtained ‘well in excess’ of 31 million documents. 

Government officials last month wrote to council chiefs setting out their responsibilities in the wake of an interim report on fire safety in the light of the blaze.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • It must be of great concern that half hour fire doors have not, on test shown not to contain a fire within a flat for 30 mins. The fire stop time it is normally considered required to cope with the fire that has started inside a flat. That is the principle of containment - that occupiers of other flats in the block stay in their flats on the assumption the fire will be restricted to and extinguished in the flat where it has started. If it cannot be contained then the whole block has to be evacuated. In the case of the Grenfell Tower fire the intensity of the fire in the flat where it started was far greater than normally to be expected in an internal fire stated by a defective domestic appliance. Also its spread externally was also intense and very rapid - again not normally expected. Those issues are complex and all of great significance in determining what caused the fire, why so intense and why it spread so rapidly both internally and externally. All these issues raise the question whether containment is the correct policy. However the concentration, particularly by the media on these issues overlooks the essential question that needs to be addressed is that 71 people died in that fire because they were not aware of the fire and the need to get out of the building as quickly as possible. Occupants of a flat on the 21st. floor were first aware of the fire when smoke came under the front door to the flat! From what should have been a smoke protected lobby. The lack of a distinctive sound warning system - when a fire starts and then, if the escape arrangements are containment - a second different distinctive warning when the fire has not been contained to evacuate the building by the prescribed escape routes. I have been involved in and survived in a major fire disaster and as a result wherever I am I always check the escape route and the audio system that will warn me of a fire and what I should then do.
    Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA

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