Understanding Building Construction and Loads

The key to conducting an accurate fire protection and life safety assessment of your facility is in determining the construction type of your buildings. How do we do this?  What are the various construction types? What do they mean? 

NFPA 220, Standard on Types of Building Construction, defines the five types of construction.
  • Type I - Fire Resistive
  • Type II - Noncombustible
  • Type III - Ordinary
  • Type IV - Heavy Timber
  • Type V - Wood Frame
NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code, provides detail on each type of building product and outlines design criteria for various loads (chapter 35, "Structural Design").  Basic loads that need to be accounted for include:
  • dead loads
  • live loads
  • concentrated loads
  • static loads
  • dynamic loads
The slideshow below provides clear guidance on each construction type (with code references), and clearly defines the basic loads with examples of each.  You will also want to download the companion slide notes for further clarification.