What to Look for in a Fire Rated Panel
When it comes to fire protection, your local building codes and your insurance company will provide you with requirements. This eliminates guesswork on your part as to what to look for in a fire resistant panel. However, you should still gain insight into what the different panel options are and how each provides a unique level of protection.
Varying Levels of Fire Resistance
There are several unique levels of fire resistance. While most share the same concept, there are some key differences, although these are typically quite subtle. The levels include a Class A, Class B Class C, as well as one and two-hour fire rated panels. By reducing the risk of fire, your business is protected and you avoid haggling with the insurance company down the road.
The testing performed on panels is unique for each classification.
Class A, B, C testing involves exposure to an open flame. In this case, precise measurements are taken for smoke developed, fuel contribution, and flame spread. Using these three components, a Class A panel must be under a score of 25. Although noncombustible, if exposed long enough to flames, a Class A panel will catch fire. A Class C panel has a score of 75, meaning it is combustible.
To test a one or two-hour fire rated panel, it is blasted with flames for a full 60 or 120 minutes. At the end of that time, the panel is exposed to high-powered water from a fire hose. If the panel withstands the fire hose stream, does not collapse or open up, and resists the transmission of heat, it passes the fire test. This testing is done to ensure that anyone trapped on the other side is protected until they can be rescued by fire fighting personnel.
By working with your local building department and your insurance company, you will know exactly the type of fire rated fire rated panel required for your situation.
As an owner, you have a legal and moral obligation to protect the business, including the structure, interior property, and human life. Because fire spreads so quickly, the right panel is critical.