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Thread: Do electrical room walls need to be fire rated?

  1. #1
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    Do electrical room walls need to be fire rated?

    Came across an electrical room in a commercial business (texas) where the ceiling had suspended tile (ceiling grid). First time I have come across that. It will certainly make my job of running a new circuit into the attic a lot easier, but it sure seems like this ceiling should be some sort of building code violation. Are not electrical room walls and ceilings suppose to be fire-rated?

  2. #2
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    To structure?

    Do the electric room walls go up to structure, or just to above ceiling?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigrig View Post
    Do the electric room walls go up to structure, or just to above ceiling?
    The walls stop at the suspended ceiling. You lift up the ceiling tiles and you have the whole attic. It is a wood framed structure not that I think that would matter.

  4. #4
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    What type of building? Hotel, warehouse, convenience store, doctor's office, ???

    The rating depends on the structure's use and occupancy. A hotel will have a two hour rated electrical room. Telco guys mount fire-rated plywood on the walls. A warehouse may not even have an electrical room.

    Drop tiles I *think* have a 15 minute flash rating.

    This is more a building code issue than a NEC one. All you're going to find in the NEC is 300.21. I'd do my work, re-install any tiles I removed, and move on.
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFletcher View Post
    What type of building? Hotel, warehouse, convenience store, doctor's office, ???

    The rating depends on the structure's use and occupancy. A hotel will have a two hour rated electrical room. Telco guys mount fire-rated plywood on the walls. A warehouse may not even have an electrical room.

    Drop tiles I *think* have a 15 minute flash rating.

    This is more a building code issue than a NEC one. All you're going to find in the NEC is 300.21. I'd do my work, re-install any tiles I removed, and move on.

    Im curious more than anything if it is some sort of building code violation.

    The building is a child daycare center from 6 weeks up to 6 years old.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mustwin351 View Post

    Im curious more than anything if it is some sort of building code violation.

    The building is a child daycare center from 6 weeks up to 6 years old.
    According to the IBC 2015 edition, if an electrical room opens into an exit passageway it needs 1 hour fire rated construction along the exit passageway frontage. Searching the IBC for "electrical room" didn't produce any other relevant results. Nothing about electrical room construction shows up in the NEC either.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gadfly56 View Post
    According to the IBC 2015 edition, if an electrical room opens into an exit passageway it needs 1 hour fire rated construction along the exit passageway frontage. Searching the IBC for "electrical room" didn't produce any other relevant results. Nothing about electrical room construction shows up in the NEC either.

    Interesting. Yeah this room has only one doorway and you enter into it from the outside. Maybe that has something to do with it not being fire-rated...I don't know...You would think that it being a daycare with 200 plus kids the regulations would be much more strict.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mustwin351 View Post

    Im curious more than anything if it is some sort of building code violation.

    The building is a child daycare center from 6 weeks up to 6 years old.
    There's this:

    http://scchildcare.org/media/972/Ins...re-Centers.pdf

    "Rooms shall have a one (1) hour fire rated separation. No fire rated separation is required between adjacent rooms caring for children less than twenty-four (24) months of age."

    You can't have a one-hour rated wall if the fire can jump thru a drop tile over into the next room. Ceiling has to be rated as well.

    Here's some other relevant information:

    "Minimum Class C flame spread rating for the [day/class] room"

    "Storage not within 2 Ft. of ceilings (inner room area)"

    "Storage not permitted in electrical or mechanical rooms"

    "No storage in attic or under floor space not permitted unless protected"

    "Electric panels labeled"

    "Separate source of emergency power"

    "Access 30" in front of all electric panels"

    "Electrical rooms to have sign "Electrical Room""

    The exact construction needed depends on what state codes are adopted. a day care that large is a place of assembly, that kids sleep there I'm sure makes things more restrictive, and handicapped and special needs children would need more time to evacuate in case of fire.

    Might check international fire code/life and safety codes. http://sfmd.az.gov/documents/2016/03/2015-ifc.pdf

    jmo, but a standard drop tile ceiling straight into an open, wood framed attic is not anywhere near allowable in a building of that type and use. Is the attic/building sprinkled?
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFletcher View Post
    There's this:

    http://scchildcare.org/media/972/Ins...re-Centers.pdf

    "Rooms shall have a one (1) hour fire rated separation. No fire rated separation is required between adjacent rooms caring for children less than twenty-four (24) months of age."

    You can't have a one-hour rated wall if the fire can jump thru a drop tile over into the next room. Ceiling has to be rated as well.

    Here's some other relevant information:

    "Minimum Class C flame spread rating for the [day/class] room"

    "Storage not within 2 Ft. of ceilings (inner room area)"

    "Storage not permitted in electrical or mechanical rooms"

    "No storage in attic or under floor space not permitted unless protected"

    "Electric panels labeled"

    "Separate source of emergency power"

    "Access 30" in front of all electric panels"

    "Electrical rooms to have sign "Electrical Room""

    The exact construction needed depends on what state codes are adopted. a day care that large is a place of assembly, that kids sleep there I'm sure makes things more restrictive, and handicapped and special needs children would need more time to evacuate in case of fire.

    Might check international fire code/life and safety codes. http://sfmd.az.gov/documents/2016/03/2015-ifc.pdf

    jmo, but a standard drop tile ceiling straight into an open, wood framed attic is not anywhere near allowable in a building of that type and use. Is the attic/building sprinkled?
    The attic is not sprinkled but the interior of the building is.

    It is a franchised child care center so I'm sure it is built to the same specs as all of the rest, of course they should take into account any local building codes...that being said the electrical contractor and inspector did pretty crappy work. Just looking into the electrical panel I found 208V loads supplied from two 20 amp breakers without a handle tie.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFletcher View Post
    There's this:

    http://scchildcare.org/media/972/Ins...re-Centers.pdf

    "Rooms shall have a one (1) hour fire rated separation. No fire rated separation is required between adjacent rooms caring for children less than twenty-four (24) months of age."

    You can't have a one-hour rated wall if the fire can jump thru a drop tile over into the next room. Ceiling has to be rated as well.

    Here's some other relevant information:

    "Minimum Class C flame spread rating for the [day/class] room"

    "Storage not within 2 Ft. of ceilings (inner room area)"

    "Storage not permitted in electrical or mechanical rooms"

    "No storage in attic or under floor space not permitted unless protected"

    "Electric panels labeled"

    "Separate source of emergency power"

    "Access 30" in front of all electric panels"

    "Electrical rooms to have sign "Electrical Room""

    The exact construction needed depends on what state codes are adopted. a day care that large is a place of assembly, that kids sleep there I'm sure makes things more restrictive, and handicapped and special needs children would need more time to evacuate in case of fire.

    Might check international fire code/life and safety codes. http://sfmd.az.gov/documents/2016/03/2015-ifc.pdf

    jmo, but a standard drop tile ceiling straight into an open, wood framed attic is not anywhere near allowable in a building of that type and use. Is the attic/building sprinkled?
    Does Texas follow this code?

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