Enfield Speciality Doors is opening its doors to specifiers, surveyors, contractors, commercial fit-out companies and facilities managers, inviting them for an exclusive tour of its two factories, based within the M25 just outside of London. Visitors will be following in the footsteps of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), which asked to visit earlier this year.
The MHCLG turned to Enfield after it was revealed in February that only three of the 12 fire doors tested for the government were able to resist flames and smoke for the 30 minutes required by building regulations for flat front doors. All of the doors that failed were composite fire doors incorporating GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic).
Shortly after the tragic Grenfell fire, staff numbers in the MHCLG dealing with building regulations went from three employees to 120. Cut-backs had reduced previous staff numbers, and the onus was on the Government to get to grips with investigating the causes of the fire, its rapid spread and how the tragic events that unfolded might have been avoided. But there were few in the Ministry that had the necessary expertise in fire or fire doors.
Reacting to Grenfell and the calls for investigation, Enfield’s CEO Nigel Sill took the initiative and invited MHCLG to see the factory, which manufactures bespoke timber fire and acoustic doors. “As far as we know, no other manufacturer was visited,” says Nigel. Enfield Speciality Doors briefed the team from the MHCLG on fire doors, fire protection expertise, how they are designed and made before showing them how fire doors are made. The tour was much appreciated, and the team were able to tap into Enfield’s technical advice following the visit too. The MHCLG then tested 25 timber doors from manufacturers nationwide to assess their effectiveness.
Enfield’s ESD-FD30 PAS24 door was one of the first to be tested, to BS-476:223 in a UKAS accredited test house, with doors opening both away from and into the fire, a particular concern after Grenfell. All of the timber doors passed the 30-minute standard, leading the Expert Panel to conclude: “timber fire doors perform consistently when tested”.
Enfield’s door resisted the fire for 35 minutes facing into the furnace and 51 minutes facing away. That’s an extra five minutes facing away and an impressive extra 21 minutes facing into the fire. That’s even more impressive when you consider that Enfield’s doorsets came complete with a PAS24 security rating and a 3-point locking system, and without this additional metal hardware the safety margin would have been even greater.
“We added this feature because in reality the doors would be fitted with them for security. Although it’s not a requirement of the test, we believe fire doors should be engineered to protect in the real world,” says Nigel Sill. “It’s Enfield’s policy to ‘over-engineer’ our doors, occupants need time to evacuate a building safely, because things don’t always go to plan, and the fire service need adequate time to get in, fight the fire, and get out again safely. Every minute counts in a fire, so intentionally include a safety margin in all our fire doors.
“Since Grenfell, many specifiers and contactors want to understand more about how fire doors should work and how they are made. That’s why we’re throwing open our doors and inviting them to our fire door factory tours and fire door briefings.”