FIRE SAFETY WITH MASONRY
In todays’ buildings there are many items that are highly combustible, so having a little or a lot of masonry creates safety within a structure especially in a stairwell, elevator, corridor or other walls designated for separation. These locations are the primary means of exiting a building in a fire. These areas need to provide maximum safety!
The project is designed to make people, property, and communities more resilient and resistant to fire by examining the value and effectiveness of how passive and active fire safety systems interact holistically.
A fire wall is a structure whose purpose is keep fire from spreading to adjacent areas. They are typically located at a lot line or where different occupancies need to be isolated within a single building. Based on NCMA TEK 5-8B, one of the primary options for fire walls are free-standing walls that permit the collapse of the structure on either side of the wall without collapsing themselves. That is the focus of this paper.
By Sam Rubenzer, Structural Engineer, Owner – Forse Consulting
Learn more about Forse Consulting
If you are building a home or will be moving soon, you may want to consider fire-resistant materials for your home’s frame. (Or look for an apartment/condo built of non-combustible materials.) According to the Portland Cement Association, wood-frame construction provides fuel for flames, while non-combustible masonry materials, such as concrete and rebar, do not. In addition to flame resistance, these types of structures stand up better to stress and, under most circumstances, won’t succumb to wind or rain.
Modern Masonry Volume 2 Issue 2
Masonry can stop a fire from spreading long enough to give firefighters time to gain control, won’t create toxic smoke, and often requires less post-fire remediation. To design and build a structure that will withstand the test of time and resist fires, it takes commitment, education and knowledge of building materials’ fire properties.
Firehouse.com August 4, 2017
Fire officials, building officials and fire protection engineers must join forces to change codes and enforce realistic regulations to prevent unacceptable fires from occurring.
Many of today’s new and recently remodeled buildings have some features that make them appear similar to the extent that the outward appearance may not be a good indicator how a fire will behave in those buildings.
For Low-Rise Multifamily Buildings. Combining the inherent structural capabilities of masonry with precast hollow core slabs generates the most effective and economical building system available today. In addition to structural integrity. this type of construction creates compartmentalization. providing low-rise multi-family buildings with non-combustible separation walls and floor- assemblies between all dwelling units.
How can we best keep the residents in a community safe? By construction these multi-residential structures using a concept called “Balanced Design” a three-fold approach to fire safe construction.
Can we afford relaxed fire protection in new building codes? A segment of the building community, supported by the cementbased product industries, is encouraging more stringent building height and area requirements. For example, the Masonry Alliance for Codes and Standards (MACS) supports eliminating sprinkler trade-offs and restoring fire protection provisions to those that are consistent with the requirements of the legacy codes, as does the Alliance for Fire and Smoke Containment and Control (AFSCC) which represents manufacturers of fire stopping materials, fire doors and other components and systems vital to effective compartmentation. There is also support from building code officials, fire marshals, and fire services personnel to further help you to prepare for fire safety with masonry.
The non-combustible concrete construction industries have long advocated balanced design for property protection and life safety. Balanced design combines active systems (fire detection and suppression) with passive containment and control through the use of fire-resistive walls, floors, and roofs.
If it’s built with the wrong material, an entire multifamily building may be bun:ied to the ground by a kitchen fire or a careless smoker. Controlling the spread of fire is a key to minimizing casualties and property losses. The right material, noncombustible masonry and precast slab can stop fire cold, preventing a small fire in one unit from gutting an entire complex.
The communities shown here and listed below require two-hour fire resistance rated construction for all dwelling separations – horizontal and vertical. Most of these communities require masonry walls and pre-cast hollow core plank floors.
Developing a construction cost model to accurately evaluate the relative construction cost of a multi-family building constructed using five different construction materials. The concept of multi-family would include traditional apartment type buildings, condominium style buildings, student housing, elderly housing, and others.
Masonry walls can reduce or eliminate the spread of fire and provides precious additional protection and time for occupants to exit or ride out a fire. But today, new model building codes and fire codes have strayed significantly from the discussed balanced design approach to fire safety. The public and design professional should know about this dilution of fire safety and demand redundancy in fire safety.
To provide the best protection for occupants and afford the greatest opportunity to live, ride out a fire and/or escape, the local Masonry Advisory Council always recommends that codes for buildings require a balanced design made up of four key elements: fire detection, suppression, education, and containment.
This is not an all inclusive list of all requirements to meet Building Codes, but is a primer on major items to help avoid problems.
A chimney is one of the most vulnerable parts of a structure because it is exposed tc weathering on all sides. If the proper steps are not taken, both on the drawing board and in the field, water can enter the chimney and cause efflorescence and eventually freeze thaw damage. However, if industry guidelines are followed, chimneys can be designed to be watertight for decades.
The majority of homes built in the United States this century are built with some sort of wood-burning fireplace. As we become more aware of the efficient use of energy, it is necessary to examine current fireplace design practices to determine how we can get the most out of our fireplaces. This article will summarize ways of increasing the heating potential of masonry fireplaces. When it comes to your fireplace design, it is always best to consider how to prepare for fire safety with masonry materials.