Concern has been expressed that many fire doors in Lewisham Council owned housing stock fail to meet fire safety requirements. A report to the Council’s Housing Committee in December 2018 stated that over 9,000 properties had Front Entrance Doors (FED) which did not consistently meet the 30 minute fire resistance required under building regulations and needed replacing.
Following the Grenfell fire in 2017 Lewisham Homes instructed contractors to intrusively inspect a sample of FED installations. As a result, installation deficiencies were discovered across the Borough. Independent surveyors commissioned by the Council advised that a programme should be embarked upon to replace the doors that did not fully meet the standard.
Lewisham Liberal Democrat, Chris Maines, sought an update at the November Lewisham Council meeting. He was told that Lewisham Homes expect this work in their properties to be completed by June 2021. However Regenter B3 who manage a PFI contract on behalf of the council for around 1,800 properties in Brockley has not yet appointed a contractor to undertake the work. Once a contractor is agreed the programme is expected to take 12-15 months.
Chris Maines said, "It is important not to be alarmist, but I think a 2 year delay before a contractor has been found is unacceptable. It will have been 4 years since the problem was first highlighted and five years since the dreadful Grenfell Tower before some residents can be confident the fire doors where they live are fit for purpose."
The issue in Lewisham goes back to 2011, when a fire in Deptford sadly saw the loss of two lives, a door renewal programme was undertaken. Following the Grenfell Tower disaster it was discovered the replacement doors were not fit for purpose. In March 2018 the Government announced that the doors manufactured by Manse Masterdor, used in Lewisham had failed a test commissioned specific to the Grenfell Fire disaster as they did not consistently meet the stated 30 minute fire resistance requirement.
Chris Maines commented after the meeting "I appreciate the manufacturer is probably at fault and there may be legal arguments about liability. But I believe that Lewisham Council and the housing providers must concentrate on residents’ safety and ensure that fire resistant doors which meet the required standard are in place. That should have been treated as a matter of urgency."
London Borough of Lewisham reply to Chris Maines
COUNCIL MEETING: 25 NOVEMBER 2020
PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 49: Priority 2
Question asked by: Chris Maines
Member to reply: Councillor Bell
A report to the Council’s Housing Select committee on 17th December 2018 stated that a survey found deficiencies in front entrance [fire] door (FED) installations fitted by Council contractors and that they did not meet the stated 30 minute fire resistance requirement. The report stated that 9,004 doors installed across Lewisham owned stock were unlikely to consistently meet the required standards and there was an additional 1923 doors that pre-date current building regulation standards. The report stated “All doors across Lewisham owned stock found to have failed testing will be replaced. The timeframe on this is currently unknown.”
Can the Cabinet Member for Housing confirm that all front entrance [fire] door (FED) of Lewisham owned properties have now been replaced or give the timeframe for when they will be replaced?
Lewisham Homes are an Arms-Length Management Organisation (ALMO) who manage properties in the borough on behalf of the Council. They have engaged contractors to replace front entrance doors that do not meet modern standards or have failed testing and cannot be remediated. This includes all doors supplied by Manse Masterdor which Lewisham Homes have been advised by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) do not consistently meet the required standards. Lewisham Homes expect this work to be completed by June 2021, subject to any delays due to Covid-19 restrictions and to access to individual properties being available.
Lewisham Homes are currently in contractual dialogue regarding around 4,000 front entrance fire doors that were manufactured by other companies and which the installing contractor considers are capable of remediation. Lewisham Homes have legal advisors and technical experts engaged to ensure that an acceptable solution to this is reached as quickly as possible.
Regenter B3 manage a PFI contract for around 1,800 properties in Brockley on behalf of the council. A contract to renew front entrance doors that do not meet the required standards will be in place in early in the new year. The programme to replace the doors is expected to take 12-15 months, subject to any delays due to Covid-19 restrictions and to access to individual properties being available.