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19 Apr 2024

The essential role of Certifire-rated access panels within fire safety

Profab Access Ltd Stand: B340
The essential role of Certifire-rated access panels within fire safety

The need for proper fire safety measures in commercial buildings is now more critical than ever, meaning the design process poses new and unique challenges, while architects are required to stringently adhere to fire safety regulations and standards.

 

Here, Profab Access, a leading manufacturer of access panels, highlights the vital role which third-party fire tested access panels can play in fire safety, and how through specifying products which have undergone such testing, architects can ensure the integrity of their buildings. 

 

Following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, The Golden Thread concept was introduced as part of the Building Safety Act, which highlights the need for better documentation, transparency and accountability in the context of building safety.

 

A foundational element in ensuring the quality, safety and longevity of a building, it signifies the link between the initial design intent, through to the construction and maintenance stages of a building's lifecycle.

 

Naturally, architects are among those who uphold a great responsibility in ensuring that the Golden Thread is adhered to during a building’s initial design stages.

 

Commercial buildings house numerous complex systems, including fire suppression systems, electrical installations and HVAC infrastructure. One critical component that house these components is access panels.

 

In the world of modern architecture, functionality and compliance must meet, and this can be achieved through an architect’s choice of access panels. Beyond their functional purpose of providing access to these systems for maintenance personnel, they stand as vital yet overlooked components within the broader framework of fire safety within buildings.

 

During a building’s initial construction, it is essential that architects seek to install fire rated access panels where third-party certification can be supplied. An example of this third-party certification is the Certifire scheme. 

 

The significance of Certifire rated products extends beyond adherence to regulations, and represents a commitment to safeguarding lives and property. With this in mind, architects should always prioritise the specification of Certifire rated access panels for several reasons.

 

Firstly, Certifire certification provides a mark of quality and reliability. This guarantees that the products have undergone rigorous testing and are proven to withstand the spread of fire for a specific period of time, and that they comply with relevant European Fire Test Standards. This certification provides architects with the confidence that the access panels they specify meet the highest standards for fire safety in their buildings.

 

By specifying Certifire rated access panels, architects can ensure that the building’s fire safety systems are robust and reliable in the event of a fire. These panels provide the highest standard of protection against the spread of flames and smoke through containment, acting as a barrier to control the fire which gives occupants more time to evacuate safely. This, in turn, can minimise the risk of both structural damage and loss of life.

 

Commercial buildings are environments where the safety of hundreds or even thousands of occupants is at stake, and where the rapid spread of fire can be catastrophic. The need for this swift and effective containment of flames and smoke is all the more crucial in these buildings. Here, The Grenfell Tower fire serves as a stark example of the potential consequences of specifying building materials and products which fail to provide this effective containment.

 

With regards to the responsibility of architects to uphold the Golden Thread, the installation of Certifire rated access panels provide a transparent link between design intent and real-world performance. By specifying panels with a proven track record of fire resistance, architects can weave a clear thread of accountability, and thus always remain compliant with the requirements of the Golden Thread.

 

The importance of fire safety cannot be overstated, and every design decision during a building’s construction must reflect this priority. As architects navigate the complexities of evolving safety standards, they must prioritise solutions that uphold the highest standards of fire safety integrity.

 

By working with reputable manufacturers who offer Certifire rated products, architects can be confident that they are choosing products that have been rigorously tested and proven to perform in the event of a fire, and demonstrate a dedication to public safety.

 

As a leading supplier of Certifire-approved products, Profab Access is now offering customers ‘Certifire as Standard’ after investing in extensive third-party fire testing across its product portfolio, in order to provide customers with the ultimate peace of mind.

 

The presence of Profab Access’ access panels within a building’s structure can ensure architects are able to fortify the building’s fire safety resilience, help to safeguard the lives of occupants, whilst ensuring that building safety regulations are always met with confidence.

 

For further information on Profab Access and its range of riser doors, access panels, and steel doors, call +44(0)1827 719051 or visit www.profabaccess.com.

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