What does a fire rating actually "rate"?
When an access panel receives a fir rating, it is the integrity of the structure which has passed the fire test. The word integrity is used to denote the length of time taken for the fire to break through the metal of the panel or other components such as the fire board (if applicable). Are there any standards (EN or BS) applicable to fire rated access panels?
A panel's rating is subject to EN 1634 part 1:2000.
Is it possible to get a fire rated panel with a longer duration?
Generally speaking, a 2 hour rated access panel is the highest quality with respect to fire resistance. This is because anything longer than this would be prohibitively expensive, both in terms of fire testing and material use during manufacture. Should you require a panel with a fire rating longer than 2 hours, this would be considered a bespoke production - you should discuss your requirements with your supplier.
Requests for 30 minute "FR" access panels are quite common, and in these cases, a one hour rated panel would be the most probable solution.
Do I need to see or is it possible to get a copy of the fire test certificate for the panel I use?
Whilst there is no legal requirement to provide such information, any reputable manufacturer or supplier should have no qualms in supplying the relevant fire test reports. More frequently, a COSHH report may be required by a health and safety department to keep records of the components/chemicals used in manufacturing the panels in case of accidents, spillages or a fire. This may give details regarding the dangers of the seals or paint used, and any toxins or fumes which may be produced as a result of an incident.
I hope the above advice answers any questions or concerns you have regarding the many types of access panels available today, but don't hesitate to ask your supplier for any help or clarification should you need further assistance.
I am the technical sales advisor at Access Panels Direct
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