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Governments take action to address recent fire door issue

10 August 2018

Update: The MHCLG has updated its guidance on fire doors and has published an advice note setting out how composite fire doorsets should be tested and classified. The advice note, published on 29 August 2018, can be found here.

Departments in the English and Welsh Governments have announced plans to address recent issues identified with fire doors following an ongoing investigation by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (MHCLG).

The investigation identified that fire doors from five suppliers failed to meet requisite fire performance standards when tested in accordance with guidance in Appendix B of Approved Document B (Fire Safety)

The guidance sets out the standards of fire resistance for fire doors in various positions. It also states that: "The requirement (in either case) is for test exposure from each side of the door separately" (note – the exception to this is lift doors).

However, the investigation has raised the concern that some fire resisting door sets are being marketed on the basis of a single fire resistance test on one side of the door. Most door sets are not truly symmetrical and as such, testing on both sides is necessary to demonstrate compliance with the guidance in the approved document. This is particularly the case for complex door constructions such as those found in double glazed and composite door sets.

As a result of the investigation...

  • MHCLG is writing to all building control bodies highlighting the need to check that existing building regulations guidance on new fire door installations is followed. The guidance sets out the tests which should be performed – including testing doors on both sides - in order to meet building regulations requirements.
  • The Secretary of State has instructed major fire door suppliers to meet and agree a clear plan of action to tackle the failings which have been identified, with weekly reports on progress.
  • The Secretary of State has asked National Trading Standards to oversee local investigations which are taking place.
  • MHCLG will work with third party certification bodies to develop minimum standards of assurance to provide building owners with greater confidence in the fire doors they purchase.

Action required

  • Whilst the government work with industry to develop minimum standards of assurance the government have instructed all building control bodies to check test evidence. This should confirm that the door set has been tested in accordance with Approved Document B and in particular that both sides of the door(s) have been exposed to fire. If this evidence is not available this may affect the issue of the Building Control Final Certificate.
  • Details of the Government's action plans can be found here including details of the manufacturers of the doors that failed. If you have recently purchased or fitted doors from these manufacturers you should immediately contact the manufacturer to satisfy yourself that the door meets the required fire performance standards.

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