Being Smart and Staying Safe When Choosing an Access Door

Being Smart and Staying Safe When Choosing an Access Door

Access Doors and Panels on 31st Aug 2022

Being Smart and Staying Safe When Choosing an Access Door

All access doors have the same primary purpose: to conceal building components in compartments below the surface while providing easy access for maintenance and repairs. But that doesn't mean all access doors are the same, and while budget and aesthetics matter, safety considerations are always the priority. But how do you decide if you need a fire-rated access door or when a general-purpose door will do the trick? When should you choose a high-security option? And does it matter if you're installing the door outdoors? Here are some tips for how to make the right choice for your next project!

Tip #1: Check Local Building Codes

Building codes may require a specific type of access door depending on location, purpose, and safety requirements. For example, NFPA-96 4.1.8 requires "that all parts of an exhaust system have access panels or doors to enable full cleaning of the system." Grease can build up quickly in commercial kitchens and exhaust systems, creating a fire hazard. UL and ULC-rated grease duct access doors make it more convenient to conduct necessary cleaning and maintenance to reduce the risk.

Areas with a higher chance of fire, like commercial kitchens, are often required to have fire-rated doors, but not all access doors have a fire rating. Always check NFPA codes to be on the safe side!

Fire-rated doors come with different fire ratings. Depending on the rating, an access door can resist fire for 20 minutes up to 130. Keep in mind that fire-rated doors do not prevent or extinguish fires - they may help to slow down the spread of fire for a limited time.

Tip #2: Consider Security Requirements

In banks, jails, and correctional facilities, the safety of staff and residents demands high-security access doors with detention deadbolts. Hospitals and labs may install lead-lined doors to protect from radiation's harmful effects, which can also damage equipment. Anti-ligature access doors may be a wise choice to prevent harm to patients.

Tip #3: Think About Temperature and Climate

Also, consider where you intend to install the access door. There are different requirements for exterior doors. Doors located in your building not only provide access to meters, wiring, pipes, and HVAC components, but they also need to protect them from extreme temperature changes, prevent unauthorized tampering, and be able to withstand harsh elements. Exterior doors offer fiberglass or mineral wool insulation, corrosion-resistant material like aluminum, and secure locks.

They may also offer moisture and mold resistance and have airtight and flood-tight features.

Knowing building code requirements, taking safety and security concerns seriously, and the practical purpose of the door are all factors weighing in on a wise decision.

Tip #4: Stock Up When It Makes Sense to Do So

General contractors often stock up on general-purpose access doors for large commercial buildings on vertical and horizontal surfaces made of any surface material. The advantage is these doors are always in stock and qualify for bulk discounts. They're great to keep on-hand and easy to install.

If your commercial building does not require high security and the fire risk is close to zero, you may want to use a general-purpose access door in your structure's interior. Highly functional, multipurpose access doors conceal delicate building components beneath the surface, keeping them handy for inspections, maintenance, and repairs.

They're an excellent choice for any budget and a wise investment!

We Care About Your Safety

We offer a wide selection of doors that conform to building codes designed to keep your commercial building and its occupants safe and secure. Most of our doors are customizable! Contact our product experts to help you make a wise choice by calling (800) 609-2917.

Let's Get Started! 

31st Aug 2022 Access Doors and Panels