Building Construction and Fire

Issue 5 and Volume 123.

Building Construction and Fire This is the third in a series of articles on building construction features that affect fire fighting operations and planning. The force of gravity is the eternal enemy of a building. Twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, gravity is attempting to pull the building down. For centuries, building collapse has been the nightmare of a builder. The Code of Hammurabi, ancient king of Babylon, provided that if a house collapsed and caused the death of the owner, the builder would be executed. There are times when we might wish for a similar provision in our modem codes. It is too bad that the Babylonians wrote on clay and thus had so little combustible material around that they had no fire problem. Suppose the code read, “If the house bums down, causing the owner’s death, the builder shall be burned at the stake.” There would…

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