Is it Important to Have Class A Fire-rated Ceilings Tiles?
Certain requirements must be met before a building can be classified as safe. It is more important that you know the fire-rating ceilings requirement before you start your building project.
The importance of a fire-rated ceiling depends on the type of building involved.
If you're dealing with a commercial building, the ceiling needs to be fire-rated as dictated by the commercial code.
However, residential buildings do not necessarily need fire-rated ceilings.
So, before you start building, especially a commercial building, check with the local fire marshal or inspector to ensure that you're not breaking any code.
It is better to get information and install the right materials than to get penalized for breaking commercial codes.
Fire Rating of Ceiling Tiles
There are two levels of rating that you should know about: Flame spreading rate and fire barrier rating.
● Flame spreading rate:
Flame spreading rate is also known as Surface Burning Characteristics Rating. What this rating does is test how the ceiling reacts to fire.
It checks if fire can spread through the tiles to other materials. If the tiles pass the test, then they can be rated as Class A material.
This means that the tiles are fit for use and can contain the fire from spreading.
Apart from the Class A testing, the fire spreading rate is also classified into Class B and Class C.
Class B and C are materials that react badly to fire; they burn quickly.
● Fire barrier rating
This type of rating differs from the flame spreading rate. This rating tests how long the tile can withstand fire.
It checks if the tiles can carry their load before giving in to the pressure of the fire.
Why are Fire-rated Ceiling Tiles Necessary?
In 2019, the U.S fire department responded to a fire incident every 24 seconds. This is just an idea of how often fire cases happen every day.
So, it means there's a high probability that 8 out of 10 buildings will experience a fire spread.
When a fire spreads, the next step is to curb the spread to avert damage to property and people in the building.
When fire-resistant materials are installed in the building, it buys time for people to evacuate the building and it contains the fire until the arrival of firefighters.
This is where the importance of fire-rated ceilings comes in. Class A fire-rated ceilings can withstand fire and prevent the fire from spreading to other parts of the building and other buildings as well.
Do all Buildings Need Fire Rating Tiles?
Before building, considerations need to be put in place to determine if the building requires Class A fire-rated tiles.
While it is true that everyone wants to be shielded from the harmful effects of a fire, Class A fire-rated tiles are only mandatory for specific buildings.
What Type of Building Needs Fire-rated Ceilings?
1. Apartments, Businesses, and High Rises
If you're building a commercial building, either for business or for housing, you'll need to follow the commercial code.
It is necessary to use fire-rated materials because these buildings have several compartment fires that can spread.
Living in high rises like a penthouse also requires that all the building materials used are fire-rated.
It'd be a disaster if there's a fire and it spreads from the top of the building to the buildings below.
Your high-rise building is not a stand-alone building, it links to other buildings hence the reason why fire-rated tiles are required.
2. Commercial Kitchens
In commercial kitchens, Class A fire-rated ceilings are required. Due to the activities that go on there, and the equipment used, there's a high risk of fire.
And when a fire breaks out, it can affect other parts of the building. In commercial kitchens, fire-rated ceilings are a necessity and in addition, other fire-rated materials can be used to reduce the effect of the fire.
3. Movie theatres
A movie theater is always crowded so the effect of a fire could be disastrous. A fire-rated ceiling is needed to reduce the effect and contain the fire until help arrives.
Also, file-rated ceilings not only stop the fire from spreading, but it is also sound resistant. When used in a theatre, it helps with the sound and improves the acoustic comfort for viewers.
Fire-rated tiles come in different colors, and in a movie theater, black is more suitable. It darkens the theatre and gives viewers a better viewing experience.
4. Schools and universities
School buildings need fire-rated ceilings to contain the spread of a fire in case there's one.
Also, with the many students and open hallways, there is noise pollution. Fire-rated ceilings are sound resistant and can block out the noise from the classroom.
It facilitates the learning process of the students and helps them pay maximum attention and concentration in the classroom.
Who determines if a Fire Rating is Met?
There are personnel to ensure that the fire rules and requirements are met. So, when building you'll have to report to both inspectors and fire marshal.
This is compulsory because if they don't inspect your building and put you through the fire rating guidelines, you'll be penalized if you're found to not comply.
Although this exercise may seem insignificant and time-consuming, you should communicate with these personnel to avoid any penalties in the future.
When building, there are certain steps you must follow to ensure that your building meets up with standard fire requirements. Check them out;
1. Pre-building meeting.
The pre-building meeting is where you meet up with other building personnel including the contractors and fire Marshal.
In this meeting, different plans will be made on where fire-rated materials will be placed and how much of them are needed in the building.
2. Purchase the materials
This is the part where your contractor goes in search of fire-rated materials to be used in the building.
The quality of the materials will determine if your building can be classified as a fire-safe building.
3. Testing the products
The materials will have to undergo some fire tests to be sure that they're fire-rated. The fire marshal will request samples of the products to be tested. The results determine if they're fit for a fire-safe building.
4. Complete the build
The contractors will go on to complete the building. Installing every fire-rated material as directed by the inspectors and fire marshal.
After the inspectors have confirmed the installation of the fire rate materials, then the building can be ready for use.
On a final note;
Class A fire ratings are necessary for buildings but not all buildings.
They are most required by commercial buildings because the effect of an uncontrolled fire can be disastrous. It can damage many properties and cause injuries to people.
When considering fire-rated materials to use for your building, you may be confused about choosing the best out of many options.
You can try out the USG Middle East W15-Twin Frame 2hrs Fire-Rated STC66. It's tested and trusted and can meet all fire-rated tests and serve as one of the best fire-rated material.
Getting quality fire-rated materials is as important as installing them. Installing low-quality fire-rated materials is as good as installing none.