Clean sweep as timber fire doors pass government fire-resistance tests

All timber fire doors subjected to fire-resistance testing by the government have surpassed 30-minute burn time requirements stipulated by building regulations.

Opening away from the furnace, one door managed to resist flames for nearly double this threshold – 59 minutes.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) tested a sample of timber fire doors from 25 manufacturers.

Conversely, three quarters of glass-reinforced polymer foam-filled fire doors – the type recovered from Grenfell tower – failed the same tests, it was revealed earlier this year.

Announcing the results in a written statement, James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for the MHCLG, said he was “pleased to report that all [timber fire doors] have succeeded in meeting the required 30-minute fire performance standard”.

An expert panel “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.”

Certification documents

Kevin Underwood, technical director for the British Woodworking Federation, which operates the BWF Fire Door Alliance, said: “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.

“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, chief executive of the British Woodworking Federation, said: “The government is rightly focused on providing communities with greater protection through implementation of its much needed ‘Building a Safer Future’ plan.

“The introduction of a more effective regulatory framework, 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.

“With the BWF Fire Door Alliance, we have 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, the week continues to raise the importance of fire doors working to inform, educate and call for change. Importantly, it also generates awareness of how fire doors protect occupants, buildings and fire fighters.”

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