Evidence emerges of non-fire compliant doors in Folkestone & Hythe DC social housing

More than a 100 fire doors in properties owned by Folkestone & Hythe District Council from Lydd to Lyminge are non compliant according to a fire safety expert of more than 25 years.

Fire safety and other issues dominated the opening months of the last elected Cllrs in May 2019. Now once again with a new administration in place, Fire Safety is an issue once again for those living in Council housing.

Evidence of non-compliant fire doors in social housing owned by Folkestone & Hythe District Council has emerged over the last two months. The doors installed at various times and by a number of companies, shows that the new administration really do have to pick up the poor performance of the last administration under Cllr David Monk.

Every fire door and frame set must have a continuous run of intumescent (a substance that swells as a result of heat exposure) in either the door frame or around the door itself. Any gaps in the intumescent through damage or not being applied properly will result in failure of the fire door set. 

As can be see in the image above and below, taken in FHDC owned social housing properties, there is most definitely not a continuous run of intumescent in either door frame.

The Pennington Report which was a Compliance Investigation into East Kent Housing and released in Nov 2019 stated:

Questions remain about the approach being taken to undertake detailed passive fire safety surveys (compartmentation and fire doors) and to action what can be expected to be a significant scope of works arising from the same, the actioning of remedial works already identified in the Fire Risk Assessments, procurement of contractor capacity to undertake works, the evidencing and certification of remedial works including the long term storage of these records and the approach to linking the results of routine electrical testing of fire alarms etc., with the fire safety programme. 

In 2020, according to the British Woodworking Federation, 60% of local authorities delayed fire door maintenance and inspection programmes in the first half of 2020, and 63% of 26,318 planned fire door maintenance and replacement did not progress as scheduled in 2020.

During, April & May 2023, three years after East Kent Housing died due to our 18 month long investigation, bringing social housing back under the direct control of FHDC, evidence of non-compliant fire doors still remain. To date 104 fire doors, which we have seen across our district, from Lydd to Lyminge, and checked by a professionally qualified person, who has 25 years experience of compartmentation & fire doors, fail to meet the fire door safety regulations as set out in the Building Regulations Approved Document B Volume 1  (Appendix C), or the Fire Safety Act, which amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, according to them.

Door hinges form a critical part of the overall fire door build. If installed incorrectly as the picture taken in a FHDC owned Social Housing block above shows, this will result in failure of the door set.

We also found evidence of non-compliant fire doors, but are unable to say, who fitted them, or when they were fitted, pre Grenfell or post Grenfell. It is known Specialist Building Products Limited, trading as Permadoor, supplied doors to Wrekin Windows throughout their contract, which begun on 1 Jan 2018. Permadoors were one of the companies whose fire-doors failed testing undertaking for and behalf of the then Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. However, what we cannot say, nor are saying, is that any of the doors hung by Wrekin or their subcontractors, were not fire compliant doors. 

This poor installation continues to place the lives of not just residents at risk, but those who must enter the building to escort them out in the eventuality of a fire, that being, Kent Fire & Rescue firefighters. 

This work for the door installations will have been paid for and the contract ended, meaning the Contractor has disappeared over the horizon with the cash, meaning there is little to no chance in recouping it, or even getting the contractor to redo the work. This means at some point, the work will have to be done again. This will no doubt come out of  a new budget meaning the new administration will have even less money to play with.

So much went wrong under the last Tory led adminstration, and in the last five years under Dr Susan Priest. The electorate have removed the Tories, now it is up to the Cllrs to decide upon removing Dr Priest, if tenants in Council housing are to be kept safe. 

Should they do this? Well, we’ll leave you to make up your mind on that. 

The inclusion of a company in this blog post is not intended to suggest or imply that they have engaged in illegal or improper conduct.

The Shepway Vox Team

Dissent is Essential in any Democracy


About shepwayvox (1725 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

2 Comments on Evidence emerges of non-fire compliant doors in Folkestone & Hythe DC social housing

  1. Council Tenant // May 23, 2023 at 22:49 // Reply

    Here we go again. Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, just as the Council appear to be doing based on the evidence.

  2. Do you really think that Priest is at all bothered about the public in social housing that she should be looking out for.

    She has sat in her ivory tower protected by Monk and failed at everything she has been involved in.

    Now Monk is history it’s time to send her on her merry way.

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