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Building Safety Update

Volume 639: debated on Monday 16 April 2018

In my update on building safety on 15 March 2018, I informed the House that a glazed fire door from Grenfell Tower manufactured by Manse Masterdor, around five years ago, and marketed to resist fire for at least 30 minutes failed testing after approximately 15 minutes.

The Government immediately sought advice from the independent expert panel on the test findings to see whether any action was required as a result. The panel consulted representatives from the Metropolitan Police, the Government’s chief scientific advisers and the National Fire Chiefs Council. Following that, the Expert Panel advised that there was no change to the fire safety advice that the public should follow, and further investigations into doors from Manse Masterdor and others should be undertaken.

As I outlined in the statement on 15 March, we have taken forward further investigations. These investigations are focusing on fire doors manufactured by Manse Masterdor. This company is no longer trading and is not associated with organisations of a similar name.

We are engaging with the industry, and have also established a technical group of experts who are able to provide us with specialist advice on fire doors.

We have secured capacity to test fire doors at accredited test houses and testing is ongoing.

We are working closely with devolved Administrations and are engaging with local authorities who are supporting us in our investigation.

We continue to consult the expert panel as these investigations progress. I committed to updating the House before the end of April and can confirm that at the present time, the Expert Panel’s advice remains unchanged.

As a result of my Department’s investigations to date, the Expert Panel has advised me that further testing is required, which will take time. I intend to update the House further as and when the expert panel provides further advice, or no later than the end of May.

I want to reassure hon. Members that my Department is doing all it can as quickly as possible to properly investigate these issues and to make sure that where needed appropriate action will be taken.

As part of our wider effort to ensure that people are safe now and in the future I commissioned an independent review, led by Dame Judith Hackitt to look at the regulatory framework around construction, maintenance and on-going management of buildings in relation to fire safety. The Government welcomed an interim report, published in December 2017, and has already taken action to implement some of its recommendations, including by recently publishing a consultation on the use of desktop studies to assess the fire performance of construction products. A final report is expected in the late spring and the Government stand ready to consider and respond to this report. Public safety is paramount and I will continue to keep the House updated on progress.