Halt on work to replace thousands of ‘Grenfell’ fire doors in Brighton and Hove

Grenfell Tower Remains, image from Wikimedia Commons by ChiralJon

More than 2,000 failing fire doors of the type used in Grenfell are still in Brighton and Hove council properties – and tenants now have to wait for them to be replaced while the government decides which doors are safe.

Brighton and Hove City Council stopped using the Masterdor doors, which are a composite of either wood or metal with a fire-proof core, in 2010 and until last month, they had been replacing them as part of routine improvements.

But this has now been halted while they wait for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to advise which replacements will meet tightened regulations.

City council building control surveyor Grant Richie spoke to residents and leaseholders during housing panel meetings to assure people they are safe in their homes.

He said: “The fire risk remains low and there are other precautions in place in line with what we need.

“East Sussex Fire and Rescue were with us on our inspections and happy with the current course of action.”

Mr Richie confirmed anyone who needs an emergency replacement will have a solid wood door rather than the composite doors.

Masterdor doors were fitted in Grenfell and failed within 30 minutes. There are currently 2,254 Masterdor fire doors fitted in council properties across Brighton and Hove.

Of these 1,585 are in high-rise blocks and 669 in low-rise and houses.

All the doors passed testing when they were fitted between 2008-2010.

The authority stopped using this supplier in 2010 when Mears took over the repairs contract as the company uses IG Doors which have passed retesting.

Extra fire risk assessments have been carried out on all high-rise blocks in the city where Masterdor fire doors are fitted.

The council’s tests found the risk of doors failing within 30 minutes was low.

However, until councils are given the all-clear to use composite doors at a national level, only emergency replacements are taking place.

When asked by residents at the East Area Housing Panel Mr Richie explained a small amount of smoke had passed through a door 15 minutes into the test.

The door ultimately failed more rigorous tests at 25-26 minutes which Mr Richie described it as a “technical failure”.

Speaking at the East Area panel Conservative Councillor Mary Mears said: “The council has done a really thorough job on this.

“This work is important to put tenants minds at rest.”

In a report to tenants the head of housing strategy, property and investment Martin Reid said: “Our highest priority is the safety of our residents and we are awaiting further instruction from the government on what further action to take.”

A council spokesman said: “At the moment we do not know where we are with the doors as the government has not said what we can used as a replacement.

“We won’t know what it will cost until we know what can replace them and we are waiting for more clarification.”

A decision on the future of composite fire doors is expected from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government “soon”.

People are advised to check their smoke alarms and if they have any concerns to contact East Sussex Fire and Rescue for a free home check by calling 0800 177 7069.

Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.

For more of her stories, click here.

More from News