September 24, 2018 10:00
The devastating tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire raised many concerns around fire safety in community buildings. With all the advanced technology and solutions we have in the fire industry today, it was a huge surprise as to how could such a disaster occur.
For those of us involved in the fire door industry it hit extremely close to home when the Metropolitan Police discovered that when tested, the fire doors used in Grenfell Tower, failed to resist fire for their designated rating of 30 minutes. This sparked an investigation into the fire door industry, re-testing various brands of fire doors sold in the UK against their designated fire rating.
As a result of their investigations, the Government has released reinforced guidelines for how composite fire doors and doorsets should be tested and classified.
These guidelines advise:
Designers & Specifiers - to seek evidence from suppliers that any products they specify meet the appropriate standards;
Building Control Bodies - to satisfy themselves that products used in projects under their supervision meet appropriate standards and where there is doubt, to review test reports;
Test Laboratories & Certification Schemes - to ensure that documentation clearly shows the nature of testing that has been used to support classification and justification of the test methodology used.
Interestingly, the National Fire Chiefs council advised the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government that regardless of fire doors in circulation not being able to withstand their designated rating, the risk to public safety remains low. They believe that as fire protection in a building is multifaceted, the failure of one protection measure - such as fire doors - should not significantly change the overall safety of occupants.
While this may be true, we don’t believe in taking chances when lives are at stake.
With all this uncertainty surrounding the integrity of fire doors, how will this affect the future of the fire protection industry? Naturally, all these discoveries have brought distrust and confusion. Can the industry be trusted? Where can you find honest and accurate advice?
We believe there needs to be greater transparency in the industry, particularly when it comes to testing and certification. We support the governments advice that documentation should be clear for anyone who needs to access and interpret it. All companies using passive fire protection should have the confidence in the products and also be able to relay that confidence to their customers.
We hope that this tragic event and the safety concerns it has uncovered will ignite a new era for the fire safety industry. One that encourages a deeper level of understanding and greater communication between manufacturers, suppliers and consumers.
At Norseal, we’re committed to partnering with our customers on projects, helping them through the entire process of product selection including understanding project requirements and matching these with products that have the appropriate fire ratings, test evidence and certification documents.
If you have questions about any aspect of passive fire protection solutions, get in touch. Our team of technical experts are here to help and will happily walk you through all of the options available to you.