In my predecessor, the Right Honourable Member for Bromsgrove’s update on building safety on 15 March 2018, he informed the House that a glazed, composite, fire door from Grenfell Tower manufactured by Manse Masterdor, around five years ago, and marketed as meeting a 30 minutes standard failed the test after approximately 15 minutes.
The Government immediately sought advice from the independent Expert Panel, which was appointed by this government following the Grenfell Tower fire to advise on immediate measures needed to ensure building safety and to help identify other buildings of concern. The Expert Panel has consulted representatives from the Metropolitan Police, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisers, the National Fire Chiefs’ Council, and technical experts. Following this, the Expert Panel advised that the risks to public safety remained low and there was no change to the fire safety advice that the public should follow. As outlined in the statement on 15 March, further investigations, including testing have been taken forward in relation to flat front entrance doors manufactured by Manse Masterdor.
The National Fire Chiefs’ Council has advised the Expert Panel that the risk to public safety remains low. The Expert Panel have recognised that, based on the evidence, the risks to public safety have not changed significantly. However, as a result of our tests, they have concluded there is a performance issue with composite 30 minute flat fire doors that have been manufactured by Manse Masterdor, a company which ceased trading in 2014. These doors were manufactured by the company in such a way that the glazing and hardware components fitted would not consistently meet the 30 minutes of fire resistance in furnace tests required for these doors to meet the current Building Regulations guidance.
The National Fire Chiefs’ Council has advised the Expert Panel that buildings affected by this issue need to review their fire risk assessment to take into account this new information.
The Expert Panel’s advice is:
- Building owners with Manse Masterdor front entrance flat fire doors should review the fire risk assessment of their buildings to assess the overall fire risk and determine whether mitigations are needed.
- The risk to public safety remains low
- Fire doors prevent the spread of fire and smoke and the performance deficiencies identified are different to risks from aluminium composite material cladding which assists the spread of fire
- All fire doors should be assessed regularly to make sure they are likely to meet the minimum standard
- The replacement of Manse Masterdor fire doors should take place using a risk based approach
- Further testing of other suppliers should be undertaken to make sure the issues with manufacture are not wider than this single supplier’s products.
The National Fire Chiefs’ Council have confirmed its previous advice that the risk to public safety is low and evidence does not suggest this has changed. It continues to advise that, in the event of a fire, people should follow existing fire procedures for the building. Residents should also test their smoke alarms regularly to ensure they work and ensure that their flat front door is fitted with a working self closing device. All doors provide essential protection in a fire if they are properly closed.
I am therefore advising owners of buildings where Manse Masterdor composite front entrance 30 minute fire doors have been installed in flats, to review their buildings’ fire risk assessments, and to consider how quickly these doors should be replaced.
The Expert Panel has published guidance for building owners who are replacing flat front entrance fire doors and this can be accessed from my department’s website
My department is writing to customers of Manse Masterdor identified in the company’s records as having been supplied with 30 minute fire doors and is working closely with the Local Government Association, the National Housing Federation, the National Fire Chiefs’ Council and the Industry Response Group to consider what further support building owners may require to assist with taking timely action.
In testing their product range Synseal Masterdor, the company that took over the operation from Manse Masterdor, have withdrawn their entire composite 30 minute fire door range, have notified all their customers of the issues identified. Unlike the case of Manse Masterdor where the company is no longer trading, Synseal are a company still in operation. They are therefore working with Trading Standards to determine further action to ensure their products meet relevant standards, in line with usual good practice.
The Expert Panel endorse this approach with Synseal.
We are continuing our investigations into the wider fire door market, and intend to test fire doors from other door suppliers. This will form part of the work my department takes forward to respond to the findings from Dame Judith Hackitt’s Review.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: