100% of timber fire doors pass rigorous MHCLG fire-resistance test procedures

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.”

James Brokenshire

James Brokenshire

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.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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