Many people in the building industry including architects, engineers, designers, contractors, etc. will often use the term “rated wall” or “fire rated wall” interchangeably when referring to a certain wall on the floor plans. However, there are five types of “rated walls” in the International Building Code (IBC). These walls range from fire walls, fire barriers, fire partitions, smoke barriers, to smoke partitions. Each wall and opening protective have different test standards that they need to pass. For example, ASTM E119, UL 263, UL 10B , UL 10C, UL 1784. These may or may not include a hose stream test or a requirements for a back face temptation rise, typically 250 degrees above ambient.
Hourly Rating is Not Enough
Simply stating the hourly rating of the rated wall is not enough. For example, you can’t say it’s a “one hour rated wall” because four of the five walls can have a one hour rating requirement and two out of the five can have a two hour requirement. Also, is the rating for fire, for smoke, or for both? Confused yet? As you can see it is important to know which type of rated wall is required as that will dictate what type of opening protective (shutter, door, or curtain) can be used in it (or in place of it).
Check Out Our Infographic
This infographic summarizes the different rated wall types and lists where they are typically required. It also address where smoke and fire rated curtains can be used.
Check it out and next time someone says “this is a rated wall,” ask them which of the five types of rated walls it is!
Download the InfographicDownload JPG Download PDF