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Building Construction

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Objectives (1 of 3)
• Describe the characteristics of the following building materials: masonry, concrete, steel, glass, gypsum board, and wood.

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Objectives (2 of 3)
• List the characteristics of each of the following types of building construction: fire-resistive construction, noncombustible construction, ordinary construction, heavy timber construction, and wood-frame construction.

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Objectives (3 of 3)
• Describe how each of the five types of building construction react to fire. • Describe the function of each of the following building components: foundations, floors, ceilings, roofs, trusses, walls, doors, windows, interior finishes, and floor coverings.
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Introduction (1 of 2)
• Knowing building construction enables fire fighters to:
– Predict how a fire will spread – Make determinations about structural integrity – Recognize warning signs of imminent collapse

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• Occupancy: how a building is used • Contents: vary. but usually related to building use 6 .6 Introduction (2 of 2) • Fire risks also depend on occupancy and contents.

6 Construction Material Properties and Fire Behavior • Key factors affecting combustibility: – Combustibility – Thermal conductivity – Loss of strength when heated – Rate of thermal expansion 7 .

6 Types of Construction Materials • • • • • • • Masonry Concrete Steel and other metals Glass Gypsum board Wood Plastics 8 .

masonry can collapse. With prolonged exposure to fire. 9 .6 Masonry • • • • Inherently fireresistive Poor conductor of heat Openings can allow fire to spread.

6 Concrete • • • • • Inherently fire-resistive Poor conductor of heat Strong under compression Weak under tension Can be damaged through exposure to fire – Spalling 10 .

6 Steel (1 of 2) • • • • • Strongest material in common use Strong in both compression and tension Will rust if exposed to air and moisture Not fire-resistive Good conductor of heat 11 .

12 . sagging.6 Steel (2 of 2) • Expands and loses strength when heated • Any sign of bending. or stretching indicates immediate risk of failure.

6 Other Metals • • • Aluminum – Often melts and drips in fires Copper – Primarily used for piping and wiring Zinc – Primarily used as a protective coating for metals 13 .

but not fire-resistive Ordinary (non-treated) glass will break when exposed to flame. 14 .6 Glass • • Noncombustible.

but gypsum itself will not. – Often used as a firestop 15 .6 Gypsum Board (1 of 2) • • • • Not a strong structural material Used mainly for finishing Very good insulator Limited combustibility – Paper will burn.

– Moisture in the material will evaporate causing deterioration.6 Gypsum Board (2 of 2) • Prolonged exposure to fire will cause failure. 16 .

17 .6 Wood • • • • Most common building material Highly combustible Weakens when heated Fire-retardant chemicals can weaken wood.

Thermoplastic materials melt and drip. toxic smoke when they burn.6 Plastics • • • • • Rarely used for structural support Combustibility varies Many plastics release dense. 18 . Thermoset materials lose strength but will not melt.

6 Construction Type Determination • • Classification based on combustibility and fire resistance Codes specify construction type required based on: – – – – Height Area Occupancy Location 19 .

6 Types of Construction • • • • • Type I: Fire-Resistive Type II: Noncombustible Type III: Ordinary Type IV: Heavy Timber Type V: Wood Frame 20 .

6 Type I: Fire-Resistive (1 of 2) • All structural components must be noncombustible. • Used for: – Large numbers of people – Tall or large area – Special occupancies 21 .

6 Type I: Fire-Resistive (2 of 2) • Building materials should not provide fuel for a fire. – Contents may burn but the building should not. • In extreme conditions Type I buildings can collapse. 22 . • Fires can be very hot and hard to ventilate. • Steel framing must be protected.

6 Type II: Noncombustible (1 of 2) • • All structural components must be noncombustible. 23 . Fire-resistive requirements are less stringent than Type I.

6 Type II: Noncombustible (2 of 2) • Structural components contribute little or no fuel. • Fire severity is determined by contents. • Most common in single-story warehouses or factories 24 .

• Usually limited to no more than four stories • Limited fire resistance requirements 25 .6 Type III: Ordinary (1 of 2) • Used in a wide range of buildings • Masonry exterior walls support floors and roof.

Exterior walls.6 Type III: Ordinary (2 of 2) • Two separate fire loads: – Construction materials – Contents • • Fire resistance depends on building age and local building codes. floors. 26 . and roof are connected.

floors. and roof of wood 27 .6 Type IV: Heavy Timber (1 of 2) • Exterior masonry walls • Interior structural elements.

28 .6 Type IV: Heavy Timber (2 of 2) • • • • No concealed spaces or voids Used for buildings as tall as eight stories Open spaces suitable for manufacturing and storage New Type IV construction is rare.

– Can rapidly become fully involved – Collapse frequently 29 .6 Type V: Wood Frame (1 of 3) • Most common type of construction in use • All major components are wood or other combustible materials.

6 Type V: Wood Frame (2 of 3) • • Used in buildings of up to four stories Wooden I-beams and trusses – Just strong enough to carry required load – No built-in safety margin – Collapse early and suddenly 30 .

6 Type V: Wood Frame (3 of 3) • Balloon-frame construction – Exterior walls assembled with continuous wood studs from the basement to the roof. 31 . • Platform-frame construction – Exterior wall studs not continuous.

6 Building Components • • • • • • • Foundation Floors and ceilings Roofs Trusses Walls Doors and windows Interior finishes and floor coverings 32 .

6 Foundation • Ensures building is firmly planted • Helps keep all other components connected • Weak or shifting foundations can cause collapse. 33 .

fire can quickly extend horizontally across a large area.6 Floors and Ceilings (1 of 2) • Fire-Resistive Floors – Floor-ceiling system designed to prevent vertical fire spread – If space above ceiling is not partitioned or sprinklered. 34 .

– Modern.6 Floors and Ceilings (2 of 2) • Wood-Supported Floors – Heavy-timber floors can often contain a fire for an hour or more. lightweight wood I-beams and trusses • Little fire resistance 35 . – Conventional wood flooring burns readily and can fail in as little as 20 minutes.

6 Roofs • • Not designed to be as strong as floors Three primary designs: – Pitched roofs – Curved roofs – Flat roofs 36 .

6 Pitched Roofs • Sloped or inclined • Can be gable. mansard. hip. or lean-to • Usually supported by rafters or trusses • Require some sort of roof covering 37 . gambrel.

6 Curved Roofs • Used for large buildings that require large. open interiors – Supermarkets – Warehouses – Industrial buildings • Usually supported by bowstring trusses or arches 38 .

apartment buildings.6 Flat Roofs (1 of 2) • Usually found on houses. and hospitals Have a slight slope for drainage Wood support structures use solid wood beams and joists. schools. factories. 39 • • . warehouses.

40 .6 Flat Roofs (2 of 2) • Lightweight construction techniques employ wood I-beams and trusses. • Open-web steel trusses (bar joists) often used for support • Most coverings highly combustible • Ventilation may involve cutting through many layers of roofing.

rigid structure.6 Trusses (1 of 2) • • • Triangular geometry creates a strong. Usually prefabricated wood or steel Three types: – Parallel chord – Pitched chord – Bowstring 41 .

6 Trusses (2 of 2) • Parallel chord – Used for flat roofs and floors • Pitched chord – Used for pitched roofs • Bowstring – Used for curved roofs 42 .

6 Walls • Most visible part of a building • Constructed of a variety of materials • Walls are: – Load-bearing – Nonbearing – Specialized 43 .

6 Load-Bearing Walls • Give structural support • Either interior or exterior • Support both “dead load” and “live load” • Damaged wall can result in collapse 44 .

6 Nonbearing Walls • Support only their own weight • Can be breached or removed without compromising structural integrity • Either interior or exterior 45 .

6 Specialized Walls (1 of 2) • Party walls – Common to two properties – Almost always load-bearing – Often a fire wall • Fire walls – Designed to limit horizontal fire spread – Extend from foundation through roof – Constructed of fire-resistant materials 46 .

6 Specialized Walls (2 of 2) • Fire partitions – Interior walls that extend from a floor to underside of floor above • Fire enclosures – Fire-rated assemblies that enclose vertical openings • Curtain walls – Nonbearing exterior walls attached to the outside of a building 47 .

48 . • Never assume that exterior walls are masonry.6 Walls • Solid. • Nonbearing masonry walls can reach almost any height. load-bearing masonry walls can reach six stories high.

and ventilation • Mostly constructed of wood or metal – Hollow-core wood doors offer little fire resistance. – Metal doors more durable and fireresistant. 49 . light. – Solid-core doors provide some fire resistance. exit.6 Doors • Can be used for entry.

and exit • Window type depends on a variety of factors. 50 .6 Window Assemblies • Used for light. entry. ventilation.

6 Fire Doors and Fire Windows (1 of 2) • Constructed to prevent spread of flames. heat. and smoke • Must meet NFPA 80 • Labeled according to approved-use – – – – – Class A Class B Class C Class D Class E 51 .

52 .6 Fire Doors and Fire Windows (2 of 2) • Fire windows are used when a window is needed in a required fireresistant wall.

6 Interior Finishes and Floor Coverings • Finishes and coverings are exposed interior surfaces of a building. • Different interior finish materials contribute in various ways to a building fire. 53 .

• Often unoccupied for long periods 54 . • Fire-resistive enclosures can be missing. • Built-in fire protection features are often missing.6 Construction or Demolition • Construction or demolition sites pose special problems for fire fighters.

55 • . and each material reacts differently to heat and fire. The five types of building construction each have their own strengths and weaknesses and differing levels of resistance to fire.6 Summary (1 of 2) • Many materials are used in building construction.

• Materials used in building components vary. 56 .6 Summary (2 of 2) • Buildings contain a variety of parts or components.

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