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Building Construction Concerns for Firefighters: Construction Types and Fire Behavior

By Gregory Havel From our Firefighter I and II classes, we can recall the five "types" of building construction that are used by the building and fire codes. These are based on the amount of combustible materials in the structure. Type V or wood frame has combustible materials anywhere in the structure, including load-bearing and non-bearing walls, floors, roofs, trim, and furnishings Type IV or heavy timber has combustible (but not easily ignitable) columns, beams, floors, roofs, trim, and furnishings; the load-bearing and exterior walls are masonry Type III or ordinary has combustible interior partitions and load-bearing walls, floors, roofs, trim, and furnishings, with exter...

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