Timber doors stand up to fire testing

Posted in Fire | Fire Testing, Safety & Compliance | Regulations & Practise
Published on April 4, 2019
Fire door and corridor

In the wake of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, fire safety, fire testing and compliance have been topics of intense public scrutiny. The British Woodworking Federation has recently released test results confirming the longstanding fire protection afforded by simpler materials.

Timber’s exceptional levels of fire protection confirmed

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has reported that timber doors are delivering on promised performance. Timber has shown good results in the ongoing MHCLG fire door investigation. The BWF has called attention to the “exceptional” levels of protection afforded by many of its members’ products. This is a view supported by the findings of the investigation.

The Federation highlighted instances of reassurance, such as doors which were advertised with 30 minutes’ max exposure time lasting holding out for 54 minutes of fire testing.

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) fire door investigation

The BWF said that this is “in direct contrast to the glass-reinforced, foam-filled fire doors recovered from Grenfell Tower that started the MHCLG investigation into the fire door sector”. The group stated that the only way to address neglect in the area is by “rigorous testing & third-party certification”. Since the investigation’s expansion to cover the wider market in October 2018, no timber doors have failed tests.

British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Fire Door Alliance

“Through the BWF’s Fire Door Alliance, we work to improve the quality, safety and traceability of fire doors,” the BWF stated. “We often see non-certified fire doors that are not fit for purpose, which is alarming and unacceptable as they simply won’t fulfil their essential role of preventing the spread of fire and smoke and keeping escape routes clear.”

The BWF also confirmed its support of the government’s Building a Safer Future plan. The plan introduces more effective regulations and greater accountability, supported by clear standards and guidance. Building a Safer Future aims to create a more responsible building sector.

Conclusion

To sum up, timber has withstood the test of time. Is it now the best material to ensure safety whilst remaining versatile, inexpensive and attractive? In contrast, could an over-reliance on artificial materials be putting building inhabitants at risk? We can certainly conclude that, if not already done, fire door testing is a necessity, both for compliance and peace of mind.


Article by Barney Scott, Kiasu Group

© 2019 Barney Scott, Kiasu Group