Fire Rated Access Panels

The Building Code of Australia in Part C3 Protection of Openings clause C3.4 Acceptable methods of protection, sets out the criteria for the protection of openings for building permits/ building approval. Fire rated access panels are nominated as “other openings” in sub-clause (a)(iii). A building surveyor/ building certifier would nominate fire rated access panels as an essential safety measure in the essential safety measures determination/ schedule.

Building Code of Australia

Fire rated access panels are manufactured by a number of companies and can be installed in walls and ceilings. Fire rated access panels are not fire doors, and are tested differently.

The following photographs depict various fire rated access panels in walls and ceilings.

The following is a part extract from clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) known as fire rated access panels:

Table I1.1 SAFETY MEASURES – BUILDING FIRE INTEGRITY

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Building elements required to satisfy prescribed fire-resistance levels Section C

Fire rated access panels are tested under AS 1530.4-2005 Methods for fire tests on building materials, components and structures – Fire-resistance of elements of construction

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Fire Rated Access Panels

An essential safety measures determination/ schedule will nominate fire rated access panels. An essential safety measures auditor to ensure fire safety compliance should be familiar with the different types of fire rated access panels being installed, and report any faults in the building’s essential safety measures logbook under the building regulations to allow signing of the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate of Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.