When Do You Need Fire-Rated Access Doors for Your Building?

Ravindra Ambegaonkar
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    Every commercial building you visit will have different safety measures to protect everyone inside when accidents happen. One common scenario that some commercial buildings face is when a fire happens within the building. That is where the fire-safety features kick in to ensure the building extinguishes the fire as quickly as possible.

    With the many fire-safety features, you should consider installing fire-rated access to add even more protection. In some cases, other commercial buildings tend not to install them because it’s useless. You should know that fire-rated access panels are different from the usual access panels found in other areas within your building.

    Understanding Fire-Rated Access Doors

    Fire-rated access doors may be a new term since it’s not opened up in usual conversations. It is a very heavy and durable door made of several materials such as metal or gypsum, and its primary purpose is to prevent smoke from passing through and containing the fire. The reason it’s called “fire-rated” is that the door should not combust after a particular time during a fire. It will only last long when contractors and builders install it properly.

    Every fire-rated door that builders install needs to follow specific specifications. It also needs specific door sealants and hardware to maintain its fire-rating. Whether they’re working on a new renovation or construction of a property, they must get access doors with the correct fire-rating to comply with strict fire-safety codes and regulations. Also, the time ratings for each fire-rated access door are different, and some standard ratings of the doors go from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. Usually, small government agencies and companies may determine fire-ratings, depending on the area you situate your building.

    Why is Fire-Rating Important?


    Manufacturers design fire-rated access doors to resist the heat from fire for a specific amount of time until it can no longer resist and the fire will penetrate its surface. The fire-rating is the time it takes for a passive fire protection system to resist a fire-resistance test. That amount of time it can resist fire is more than enough for anyone or the fire-prevention system to put out the fire. It can also give everyone within the building enough time to escape and let firefighters handle the job.

    Commercial buildings usually install access doors to conceal gas lines, electrical wirings, plumbing pipes, HVAC ducts, and anything that could be flammable. Fire-rated access doors exist to protect them from getting engulfed by the fire too quickly. Different fire-ratings will tell how efficient an assembly or door can resist fire, and they depend on factors including the fire’s intensity or how builders mount the access door. You can also purchase fire-rated access doors either in upward or downward swinging, and it will depend on how maintenance personnel and other workers will use them. You can even purchase fire-rated access doors that have an automatic or manual latch release, depending on your preferences.

    Finally, fire-rating is critical because it enables your commercial building to become LEED-certified. The certification helps it become economically and environment-friendly. It can even reduce energy bills for some commercial buildings, enabling you to save more money in the process.

    The Different Fire-Rated Access Door Types

    Since you now know the fire-rated access door's purpose, the next thing is to know the different types. You can classify every fire-rated access door by its fire-rating. Different access doors have a fire-rating of 20 minutes, 45 minutes, and some would even go as high as 3 hours to provide even more fire protection. 

    You can also use “temperature rise doors” that try to restrict heat transfer from one side of the door to the other. They are the best ones to install when you want to limit injuries and provide more time for everyone to escape during a building fire. However, some contractors avoid installing fire-rated access doors when there are fire sprinkler systems and complete interior floor coverage. They can put out fires as quickly as possible, even before everyone inside the building escapes.

    Do you have plans on installing fire-rated access panels within your building? Ensure you get them from reliable suppliers to ensure you only get the best products. You need high-quality construction materials, especially fire-rated access panels if you want to ensure efficient fire protection.

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    Tags : Fire protection

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