Fire doors 'not even tip of iceberg of safety problems in social housing'
Home âº News âº UKFire doors ânot even tip of iceberg of safety problems in social housingâ
Kensington & Chelsea council plans to remove fire doors like those in Grenfell Tower but a fire safety expert said issues extend beyond fire doors.
Kensington and Chelsea councilâs decision to remove an estimated 4,000 fire doors like those fitted in Grenfell Tower does not address âeven the tip of the icebergâ of safety problems posed in social housing, a fire safety expert has said.
The council announced this week that the Manse Masterdor fire door will be removed from properties throughout the royal borough after tests revealed it was only able to resist fire for 15 minutes rather than the 30 minutes required by building regulations.
The refitting is expected to cost around Â£3.5 million but Charlie Sadler, a fire safety expert who is also a core member of the Grenfell fire forum, said issues extend beyond just the fire doors.
Ms Sadler, who has more than 26 yearsâ experience working in structural fire protection, said: âItâs not just about the fire door itself. The issue extends a little bit further than just a plain fire door.
If the fire doors ar e that way, then what does it tell you about the rest of the building?
If the fire doors are that way, then what does it tell you about the rest of the building? Charlie Sadler, fire safety expert
âIf the fire doors are that way, then what does it tell you about the rest of the building?
âIs it also the compartmentalisation? Are there any issues with the windows, as there was with Grenfell? Whatâs happened there? Once you start looking into these buildings suddenly you start opening a can of worms.
âItâs not even the tip of the iceberg. Itâs just skimming it off at the moment.â
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said all Manse doors across the country must be replaced, but stated âthe risk to public safety remains lowâ.
However, Kensington and Chelsea council believes the replacement programme âmust be started as a matter of urge ncyâ.
Khadijah Mamudu, also a core member of the Grenfell fire forum whose mother and young brother survived the tragic west London tower fire, said the council must also focus on other fire-stopping measures, otherwise replacing the doors becomes âa rather pointless exerciseâ.
She said: âA year on and they decided to do this now? Some might say better late than never, I disagree.
I do hope they are ensuring all other fire-stopping measures are adequate, as this is key to compartmentalisation - otherwise the doors alone are a rather pointless exercise Khadijah Mamudu, core member of Grenfell fire forum
âI do hope they are ensuring all other fire-stopping measures are adequate, as this is key to compartmentalisation â" otherwise the doors alone are a rather pointless exercise.â
According to the council, there were five suppliers who bid for the contract to replace the fire safety doors and the y were scored based on price (40%) and quality (60%).
Ms Sadler said the desire to do things affordably is understandable, but should not be done at the cost of human safety.
She said: âWith any kind of social housing there tends to be the desire to do it as cheap as possible. This is understandable because everybody wants to try and make as much profit as we can, but for goodness sake not at the sake of lives.
âItâs ridiculous in this day and age when you have got relatively easy access to materials that are of a fairly decent standard. It doesnât have to be the Rolls Royce of fire doors for it to actually do its job â" but they have to be at least halfway decent.â
A spokesman for the council said: âAll of the new doors will meet the 30-minute requirement but, given the issue with Manse Masterdor units, the council will send the new doors for independent testing so that we can be 100% sure the doors will resist fire for at least 30 minutes.< /p>
âSaving lives is our single priority. We are taking nothing for granted.â
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