Government urged to enforce the use of complete fire doorsets in the wake of Grenfell

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, DHF (Door and Hardware Federation) is calling for a change in Building Regulations, and for the UK government to enforce the use of complete doorsets in fire compartmentation, in a bid to prevent the spread of fires in multi-occupancy buildings such as tower blocks and office buildings.

Fire compartmentation is the term used for the sub-division of a building into manageable areas of risk, to prevent the spread of fire and smoke, and provide adequate means of escape. This involves the use of fire doors on individual flat entrance doors as well as those used in escape corridors and stairways.

Fire doors are one of the most important and effective elements of a building’s passive fire protection, with more than three million being installed in the UK each year. Correctly manufactured, installed and maintained, they can save lives by protecting the route of evacuation and provide emergency services with safe access to the building.

However, if fire doors are not compliant, the compartmentation of the building in the event of a fire is compromised and can result in serious consequences. That is why DHF is calling for complete doorsets to be used that are manufactured and certified by a third party accreditation scheme, installed by a third party accredited installer and maintained by a third party accredited company.

And the organisation is urging the UK government to adopt and enforce a mandatory requirement for all fire doors to be complete doorsets.

DHF’s CEO, Bob Perry, said: “There are many crucial components of fire doors that distinguish them from conventional doors, ranging from specialised smoke seals around the frame to fire-resistant glazing, but if just one of these components fails due to poor maintenance or damage, the effectiveness of the door can be severely reduced.

“Problems also arise in ensuring the various components of a fire-resisting door assembly are compatible with each other and that they are correctly assembled. The benefit of using complete doorsets is that they are manufactured and supplied as a complete unit with the frame, the leaf and all the associated hardware having been tested and certified together. This eliminates the risk of non-compatibility between the various components.”

DHF’s recommendations come in the wake of a number of recent tragedies involving fire, particularly the Grenfell disaster which resulted in the loss of 71 lives.

Earlier this year, Southwark Council was fined £570,000 following a fire at a 14-storey block of flats in South London in 2009 where six people died, including three children. Following the tragedy, inspectors visiting the premises discovered several structural and safety flaws, including breaches of fire-resistant structures between each maisonette staircase and the common internal doors, a lack of compartmentation in the false ceiling structures of common corridors, and a failure to provide fitted intumescent strips (which swell when heated) and smoke seals on fire doors.