Readers’ comments | Fire door tests, Didcot collapse, Jehovah’s HQ

28 March 2019

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have built a 40,000 sq m live-work project in Essex

75% of GRP fire door manufacturers fail tests

CM 18/02

To be totally honest, until I read this report, I never even knew that glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) doors could or in fact are being used for fire doors. External doors, sure, but not fire doors.

Personally (or professionally), I’d certainly be very reluctant to specify GRP. There’s a perfectly good reason why timber doors are tried and tested and have been trusted for decades. I’d go as far even to suggest that this is yet again an attempt to utilise a cheaper product.

If products driven by doing things on the cheap are allowed to creep into the construction Industry unchecked and unchallenged – and I’m not talking about being as prudent and cost effective as possible, while conforming to all relevant standards and regulations – then this would be a very slippery slope indeed.

Whatever next? Perhaps GRP structural beams?

Duncan Stewart

Self-certification is a dangerous standard across the whole industry.

Roy Edmunds

This seems a big capitulation by the Association of Composite Door Manufacturers (ACDM). There are third-party accredited GRP doors on the market, which would surely be fit for purpose. Why has one rotten apple destroyed the barrel?

Michael Floyd

Who is specifying GRP doors as fire doors? Okay as a house front or back (external) door but not for use in blocks of flats.


In 22 years in building standards, never would I have anticipated that clients or developers would use GRP as an internal fire door. The only GRP composite doors used in my experience have been front doors.

Stephen Dunn

Police and HSE sift through 870 tonnes of Didcot collapse evidence

CM 22/02

Sometimes accidents do happen and casting about for someone to blame is more often than not a total waste of time.

One could argue that agreeing to pay £6m shared among the four bereaved families and compensating the injured quickly makes more sense than a long trial with numerous hearings, and paying for teams of lawyers.

We all want justice to be seen to be done but is it in the public interest to carry out a three to five-year witch hunt to discover maybe an original design fault was to blame?

Robert Wilson

All of us in the industry feel so torn apart for the four families. How many others could die or be seriously injured while we all wait for the outcome? There must be some basic findings which can be released which could help companies planning future demolition of major structures.

Dennis Lawler

MPs’ inquiry to explore offsite housing benefits

CM 01/03

Modern methods of construction in conjunction with modern materials of construction could provide additional housing, utilising labour from alternative trades and helping to offset traditional labour shortages. All sectors of the industry need a more modern and collaborative approach to coordinate a scale-up of a relatively young sector of construction.

Kenneth Horlock

At last! About 30 years ago I suggested to our son’s school that they build a Norwegian-style wooden gym which would have cost about half the brick one and would have been built in less than half the time and would have lasted just as long – but they wouldn’t even consider it. Sad really. 

There are “instant houses” on the internet that are extremely well insulated so would reduce fumes from the products of combustion.

Stephanie Trotter

Witnessing a model construction project

CM 03/03

Amazing. I would be very interested to see the training that is given to the plant operators. Is it a recognised qualification that can be taken to other construction sites or is it in-house and means that when the job is finished they go back to doing whatever it was they did before?

Martin Fulford

It is quite amazing what a motivated team can achieve, which I have noticed over the years. In this instance they are motivated by their religion.

Self-build for the JWs is nothing new and even on the scale of the Chelmsford project. Take a brief look at the JW website and you will see that they have built in 120 countries and in some pretty remote locations.

Tony Kelley

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