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Dual certification becomes a Secured by Design requirement in wake of Grenfell fire

Non-fire resisting doors in high rise tower blocks should be replaced immediately with doorsets that are certified for fire performance by a third-party certification authority, according to the Government.

The move, which comes in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in West London, requires replacement doorsets to be certified by an independent UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited, third-party certification authority to a standard providing at least 30 minutes fire resistance.

A letter from the Department of Communities and Local Government to Chief Executives of Local Authorities and Housing Associations on 22 June stated that doors that were deemed to be fire-resisting at the time of construction of the block would be satisfactory.

However, the letter instructed: “Replace any non-fire-resisting doors (such as non-fire-resisting uPVC doors) immediately with doorsets (doors and frames) that are third-party certified as providing at least 30 minutes fire resistance.”

Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative and staunch campaigner for improved security in buildings for nearly 30 years, has announced subsequently that it requiring doors that are either described as fire doors, or where fire performance is declared or implied, to have third-party certification for both security and fire performance.

To gain SBD Police Preferred Specification, manufacturers have been required to have third-party certification of security products like doors and windows since 2005.

Since Approved Document Q (Security) became effective in October 2015, security and fire, contained in the longer established Approved Document B, have carried equal weighting under the Building Regulations in England.

Third-party certification requires regular re-tests and production audits to ensure that product quality is assured and maintained over time and goes beyond the one-off testing required by the Building Regulations.

SBD has been in direct communication to advise its member companies most affected by the changes and have notified recognised certification bodies about SBD’s new requirement.

Mick Reynolds, SBD Senior Development Officer, said: “SBD has taken the pro-active decision for dual certification as an SBD requirement going forward.

“The DCLG’s letter is a radical change and seems to remove the ability for a door manufacturer to declare fire performance against a Global Fire Assessment or a one-off Fire Test Report.”

SBD works closely with UK Police Forces and a wide range of other organisations, including National and Local Government, the Fire Service, British and European Standards authorities, the construction industry, trade associations and manufacturers to achieve sustainable reductions in crime through design and other approaches to enable people to live in a safer society.

A total of 80 people are believed to have died in the fire at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in North Kensington on 14 June. The Government has ordered a public inquiry into the fire.