Building Construction

Topics: Building code, Construction, Masonry Pages: 31 (8401 words) Published: August 22, 2013
Building Construction
Related to the Fire Service

Chapter 1: Building Construction & Fire Service
The building variables that FF must consider:
• Age of building – age in itself is not a hazard but an indication of potential hazards • Fire protection systems – first line of defense in a building • Occupancy of the building – often affects fire behavior…each occupancy has different hazards & fuels, and the structural components are subjected to different temperatures, heat release, & duration. • Fire/fuel loads – weight of combustibles per sq ft…can be used to determine the total heat release • Type of construction

• Configuration – refers to a buildings general shape or layout • Access & exposures – Stefan-Boltzmann law states that the intensity of thermal radiation is a function of the fourth power of the absolute temperature of the thermal radiation source. Every time the distance from a heat source is doubled, the thermal radiation level is reduced 4 times.

Chapter 2: Design Principles
“Form follows function”…The building’s design must facilitate its end use. Aesthetics is such an important concern to an architect that it frequently clashes with fire safety considerations.

The 3 model codes are in the process of developing a single code package called the International Building Code (IBC). Included in this package is the International Fire Code (IFC). The IBC/IFC will be promulgated by the International Code Counsel (ICC): • Uniform Building Code (UBC), published by the International Counsel of Building Officials (ICBO)…Includes the Uniform Fire Code (UFC) • Standard Building Code, published by Southern Building Code Congress International…includes the Standard Fire Prevention Code. • BOCA, National Building Code…Includes the BOCA National Fire Prevention Code.

The design process involves compromises & a prioritization of objectives. Cost is always a major concern and frequently necessitates a reduction of plans. The final design always involves a balancing of what is desired, what is needed, and what is practical.

Fast tracking – the design & construction phases overlap to reduce total construction time.

Inspection – involves the verification that the proper materials & construction techniques are used Testing – performed on certain materials, systems, and components such as concrete, fire pumps, and emergency generators. The usual role of the Fire Inspector is to ensure proper installation & operation of fire protection systems.

Chapter 3: Building Classifications
To the FF, the most significant building characteristic is how the building can be expected to behave under fire conditions.

Fire resistance – a collective property of materials & assemblies…the ability of a structural assembly to maintain its load bearing ability under fire conditions. The properties of the materials include: • Combustibility

• Thermal conductivity
• Chemical composition
• Density
• Dimensions
Fire resistance rating – the quantitatively evaluated fire resistance of the structural components. The rating is determined by test procedures simulating fire conditions & is expressed in hours. Fire resistance for structural elements such as: • Beams

• Columns
• Walls & partitions
• Floor & ceiling assemblies
• Roof & ceiling assemblies
It is necessary to erect assemblies in the field exactly as they are tested in the laboratories so that the ratings are obtained. To determine fire-resistance ratings, the component is subject to the heat of a fire in a test furnace. The procedure is described in NFPA 251, Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Building Construction & Materials (also American Society for Testing & Materials [ASTM] E-119).

When a structural specimen is tested, the test is conducted until either the specimen fails or the specified endurance for which the specimen is being tested is...
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