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All timber fire doors pass government tests

19 July 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Image: Dreamstime / David Milligan

A total of 25 timber fire doors subjected to government fire safety tests have all passed.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) ordered the furnace tests of 25 different types of timber doors after an investigation into glass reinforced plastic (GRP) fire doors, which saw 75% of manufacturers whose doors were submitted for testing fail.

By contrast, all of the 25 different timber fire doors passed the 30-minute standard on both sides of the door when subjected to tests under BS-476:223 in a UKAS-accredited testing house as part of a programme of tests between October 2018 and March 2019. The tests were performed on complete door sets facing into and away from the furnace.

While it was MHCLG policy to end some of the tests at certain test houses once 36 minutes’ fire resistance was achieved, some doors tested lasted nearly an hour without failure.

The MHCLG’s expert panel concluded that timber fire doors perform consistently in fire resistance across the market when manufactured to specification. But it added that this did not provide complete assurance and that building owners should always assure for themselves that the fire doors they install are fit for purpose and have the required documentation and certification.

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.”

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