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Fire Rated Access Panels – What You Need to Know About Fire Ratings

Fire Rated Access Panels – What You Need to Know About Fire Ratings

Posted by Best Access Doors Canada on 2nd Nov 2020

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What You Need to Know About Fire Ratings

Have you ever wondered how buildings are kept safe from fire hazards? Throughout the years, construction companies have invented several safety materials to prevent damage from occurring. One method of keeping a building safe is with fire-resistant materials. You may have already heard about buildings getting engulfed in flames. It happened because the building never had any form of fire protection.

Even with something as simple as a fire-rated access panel can make a massive difference within a building. It would be best to understand what fire ratings are, especially if you're a building owner. A time will come where you might need to replace some materials in the building because it's not fire-rated.

What is a Fire-Rating?

What is a fire rating, you may be wondering? To make the explanation short, it refers to how long a particular fire-protective system can withstand flames before it gets destroyed. The more time it takes to completely penetrate a fire-rated surface the more time there is to extinguish the fire.

You can say the same thing with fire-rated access panels. The access panels' main job is to protect whatever is behind it like electrical wires, gas and water pipes, etc.

The different ratings for fire-rated access panels will indicate how efficient the access panel is at withstanding fire. It also depends on how heavy the fire is and how the access panel mounts on a surface.

Different Types of Fire-Ratings

A fire-rating of a specific access panel tells how long it can withstand fire. Usually, access panels can provide 20 minutes or up to 180 minutes of fire protection. That's more than enough for a person to grab the nearest fire extinguisher and put out the fire.

There are also access panels and doors called "temperature rise doors" that are efficient at limiting heat transfer from the outside surface where the fire is to the other side of the panel. Many commercial buildings use these to reduce or avoid getting injured due to the fire.

Since automated sprinklers came to the scene, some commercial buildings didn't bother to use fire-rated access panels. But if you want to ensure complete fire protection within a structure, it wouldn't hurt to install them.

The Importance of Active Latch Bolts

Like with any door, it needs to have a latching mechanism. You need to know that fire-rated access doors and panels don't have simple, regular locks. They need active latch bolts that can hold out against the fire's pressure.

Pressure inconsistencies can break non-latched doors, causing them to open and spread the fire to several other areas of the building. Some access doors and panels have automatic latches and others have manual latching mechanisms.

Your Commercial Building and LEED Certification

LEED is the acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Installing fire-rated access panels helps businesses is the first step towards getting LEED certification. Obtaining this certificate can also help with when tax time comes.

The LEED awards several points for "new renovations and major construction." If the commercial building installs a fire-rated access door with 1" flange, the building would qualify. If your commercial building is in Canada, there are additional points that can be awarded as well.

For photos of fire-rated access doors and panels visit our website at You can also read more blogs about commercial construction and related topics.

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