All timber fire doors which underwent fire-resistance testing by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) were found to have met the required standards, exceeding the minimum 30-minute burn time requirement, with one door resisting flames for as long as 59 minutes when opening away from the furnace.
This is in direct contrast to glass-reinforced polymer foam-filled fire doors (the type recovered from Grenfell Tower, which initiated this investigation). Three-quarters of such doors failed the MHCLG tests in results published earlier this year.
In a written statement announcing the results of the testing from a sample of timber fire doors sourced from no less than 25 different manufacturers, James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for the MHCLG), said: “I’m pleased to report that all [timber fire doors] have succeeded in meeting the required 30-minute fire performance standard”. Brokenshire went on to explain that an expert panel had “concluded that they do not believe there is a performance concern with timber fire doors across industry where they are purchased directly from the manufacturer and produced to specification.”
Kevin Underwood, technical director for the British Woodworking Federation which operates the BWF Fire Door Alliance, responded: “We know, through carrying out our own survey, that doors produced by members of the BWF Fire Door Alliance have all performed beyond the minimum standards required in these tests. We would actively encourage those responsible for the fire safety of buildings to review the test and certification documents that support the performance of their fire doors to ensure people’s lives are not put at risk.”
Underwood added “Fire doors perform an essential role of preventing the spread of fire and smoke and keeping escape routes clear. The Government must act quickly to eliminate all existing issues and ensure that all future fire doors are fit for purpose.”
Helen Hewitt, CEO of the British Woodworking Federation, stated: “The Government is rightly focused on providing communities with greater protection through the implementation of its much-needed ‘Building a Safer Future’ Plan. The introduction of a more effective regulatory framework and greater accountability, supported by clearer standards and guidance, will create a more responsible construction industry. Product safety performance and traceability will be key, with testing and certification intrinsic to driving this forward.”
Hewitt continued: “With the British Woodworking Federation Fire Door Alliance, we’ve been campaigning for greater fire safety for decades, including starting the Fire Door Safety Week national awareness campaign seven years ago. In conjunction with our members, Fire Door Safety Week continues to raise the importance of fire doors. It works to inform, educate and call for change. Importantly, it also generates awareness of how fire doors protect occupants, buildings and fire-fighters.”