Pre-drilling studs around new panel
I'm installing a new sub-panel in my home in the stud wall between the attached garage and a utility closet. I'm hoping to retain access to the area around the sides of the panel from the closet side for future work. Because that side is unfinished and flush-mounting the panel in the garage will break the fire rating of the wall, the inspector wants me to have a full stud box on all 4 sides of the panel with 1/2" gypsum (minimum) on the back side to meet fire code, which makes perfect sense.
When I do work later, drilling out the studs from inside the panel will be difficult. Can I pre-drill holes in the studs in the framing members (structural rules being followed, etc.) and simply leave the knock-outs in place until I use them? Optionally, I could fill the holes with a fire rated foam or similar until I'm ready to use them.