Homes’ new fire doors ‘delayed by pandemic’

‘Likely that the overall programme will not now be completed until late 2022’

Friday, 23rd July 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Councillor Diarmaid Ward IMG_5706

Cllr Diarmaid Ward: ‘A combination of residents’ hesitancy to allow tradespersons to do work and also contractors furloughing staff has meant that there was a period last year when the work programme had to be paused’

THE replacement of fire doors in social housing blocks is expected to be delayed by a total of four years, with the council pinning recent hold-ups on the pandemic.

Between 2014 and 2018 Islington Council spent £3,400,000 on the installation of 2,700 Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) doors from the now-dissolved Masterdor company.

The roll-out was halted in 2018 after safety concerns emerged in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The government then discovered in 2019 that the fire-resistant doors were only effective for 15 minutes as opposed to the expected 30 minutes.

A full council meeting heard last week how the roll-out of replacement doors has now hit further delays after Islington’s sole Green councillor, Caroline Russell, questioned whether the replacement of potentially dangerous doors would be completed by the original target of February 2022.

Labour housing chief, Councillor Diarmaid Ward, said: “Sadly the pandemic has affected our fire door programme. A combination of residents’ hesitancy to allow tradespersons to do work and also contractors furloughing staff has meant that there was a period last year when the work programme had to be paused.”

He said it was “likely that the overall programme will not now be completed until late 2022”. Some 1,700 doors still need replacing.

Cllr Russell said after the meeting: “I was glad to support the Labour motion pushing government to do more to fix the fire safety and cladding scandal and hope the council applies the same urgency to pushing forward on fire safety issues closer to home, as it is demanding from Westminster nationally.”

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