The four key types of construction include residential, commercial, industrial and infrastructure, which cover almost all construction projects. If firefighters are called to a Type 2 building, their top priority will be to ventilate the building to avoid a dangerous increase in temperature. This type of construction encompasses projects for schools, sports stadiums, shopping malls, hospitals, stadiums, retail stores and skyscrapers. Ventilation in this type of building is not an option because the roof must also be composed of non-combustible materials.
The construction, assembly and renovation of institutions and commercial structures is the second type of construction. Like Type 1 buildings, Type 2 buildings contain non-combustible walls, partitions, columns, floors, and roofs. Type V also allows a combustible interior (structural frames, walls, floors and ceilings) made wholly or partially of wood. Type V construction requires other alternatives, including, but not limited to, positive pressure attacks.
When entering a Type 1 building, your main objective revolves around securing stairs to ensure safe evacuation. The fire rating assigned to wood and other materials associated with Type IV and Type V construction often varies by thickness. Structural elements associated with Type I construction generally receive three to four hour fire protection. However, they provide less fire resistance and do not withstand the effects or spread of fire, as well as Type I.
Some Type 1 buildings have HVAC systems and self-pressurized staircases to prevent the spread of fires. If these types of buildings catch fire, they require large volumes of water to extinguish, but they resist fire well and do not collapse easily due to their structural mass. By distinguishing these building constructions into five types, you can personally decide which structure is best for a new construction. This type is called “non-combustible” not because of its fire resistance, but because of the fuel provided by the building.
Understanding the differences between the five types of building construction is a necessary step toward a successful career in the field.