Planning and Housing

31.05.18

Kensington council set to spend £3.5m replacing Grenfell-style fire safety doors

 A total of 4,000 fire doors in all social housing across the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – where the Grenfell Tower tragedy took place last year – will be replaced by the council, costing £3.5m in total.

The borough is considering the replacement of all council flat doors with fire-resistant doors capable of blocking fire for 30 minutes, which adheres to current fire safety standards.

The plans come after it was found that an undamaged door taken from the Grenfell Tower Block could only withstand a 15-minute blaze, despite designs saying the door could hold out for half an hour.

Communities and housing secretary James Brokenshire said all Manse doors— the type used in the tower— must be replaced across the country.

A spokesperson for Kensington and Chelsea Council said: “This is a national issue. Manse Masterdor fire doors are used in social housing across the UK and a question mark hangs over their effectiveness.

“Kensington and Chelsea Council believes that the replacement programme must be started as a matter of urgency, and as such councillors will next Wednesday (6 June) consider a recommendation to replace doors across the borough.

“This is not currently a legislative requirement, but this may change following the completion of the current building regulations review.”

The plans come after a report released yesterday claiming that many voluntary organisations were forced to step-up to meet demands of the community where authorities fell short after the fire.

CEO of Muslim Aid—the charity that conducted the review— Jehangir Malik said: “I would have expected this chaos in a developing country, because almost always there is poor infrastructure. I honestly thought we had better disaster preparedness and response systems here in the UK.

“We are now asking for lessons to be learned and for greater coordination of the voluntary organisations with local authorities, including as part of national emergency response structures,” continued Malik.

Family and friends of the 72 victims who died in the tragedy paid tribute at an inquiry which started last week.

Earlier this month Theresa May pledged to fund the removal of Grenfell-style cladding in a £400m proposal. In a PSE article in May both the LGA and individual councils registered a number of major concerns about the ability to fund emergency fire safety measures while their budgets are continually shrinking.

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Image credit: Alex Donohue

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