Following three months of intensive discussions between the Association of Composite Door Manufacturers (ACDM) and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) to resolve the industry’s self-imposed moratorium on composite fire door sales, an agreement has been reached to allow sales to resume.
Sales of composite fire doors were suspended following the issue of a press statement by the MHCLG that named a number of manufacturers whose products had failed to comply with Building Regulations after testing was carried out as part of the Grenfell Tower investigations. Following early discussions with the government, the ACDM and its members took the decision to suspend sales unilaterally until evidence could be shown that manufacturers and suppliers of such products were testing in full compliance with the Building Regulations, in addition to a number of other criteria.
These state that fire door set manufacturers must have primary test evidence illustrating that products have passed the required fire tests from both sides, with written confirmation from the test house confirming this result.
Additionally, a director from the manufacturer of the doors should write a confirmation to the supplier of the door blank, enclosing successful bi-directional test evidence confirming that the door sets they intend to manufacture and supply will use, without exception, only the components within the door sets tested. Continued supply of door blanks will continue only when such evidence has been provided.
Andrew Fowlds, chair of the ACDM, says that the discussions have been lengthy, detailed and challenging but with a positive outcome: “The cost to the composite door industry during this period has been very heavy, with a number of casualties in terms of jobs and revenue. However, as long as all manufacturers of such products have completed bi-lateral testing in strict accordance with the Building Regulations, and provided the necessary written confirmation to their supplier, then supply may resume.
“The Task Force set up by the ACDM to tackle this issue has spent a great deal of time and energy to bring this to the earliest possible conclusion. I am pleased that we have been able to finalise and agree the process to allow the resumption of the manufacture and supply of GRP Fire Doors to the market under the terms outlined to the Under Secretary. This is essential to prevent further damage to an industry that is already severely weakened and suffering job losses, but which has reacted positively and responsibly by voluntarily withdrawing from the market until this resolution could be found.”
Regarding the issue of remediation, Fowlds added: “I have advised the Under Secretary that this will be dealt with separately from the re-supply of new products. A proposal and action plan by the ACDM on how this may be dealt with is currently under consideration.”
The ACDM will also become the Governing Body for the composite door industry, leading the development, implementation and policing of standards whilst also promoting the use of composite doors in established markets as well as developing further opportunities. In response to the MHCLG the association will also compile a database of all fire door products tested by members, in addition to providing technical advice.