5 Types Of Building Construction You Should Understand As A Construction Professional

Today you’re going to learn about different types of building construction categorized by international building code.

Don’t be confused with the types of buildings and types of building construction.

I’ve talked about types of buildings before.

And, in this post, I’ll discuss types of building construction.

Basically, there are…

5 Types Of Building Construction

And they are:

  • Type – Ⅰ: Fire-Resistive
  • Type – Ⅱ: Non-Combustible
  • Type – Ⅲ: Ordinary
  • Type – Ⅳ: Heavy Timber
  • Type – Ⅴ: Wood-Framed

These types are differentiated based on the necessary level of fire resistance a building contains.

With that, the first type follows the most stringent fire resistance requirements and the last type follows the least.

Except for Type – Ⅳ, each of these types is further divided into two subcategories – “A” and “B”. Type A constructions offer more fire-resistant properties than Type B constructions.

With that, The five basic building construction types will look like this:

5 Types of building construction

Now, let’s discuss each of these types of building construction:

Type – Ⅰ: Fire-Resistive Construction

What Is It?

When it comes to fire-resistant ratings, the following components are the most non-combustible with this type:

  • Walls
  • Partitions
  • Columns
  • Floors, and
  • Roofs

How To Recognize This?

Fire resistive buildings are easy to recognize with the following things:

  • They are more than 75 feet tall, and
  • Made of poured concrete and protective steel

Fire Resisting Features:

These buildings are designed to withstand the effects of fire for a long period of time.

So that they can prevent fire from spreading.

And, the roof must be composed of noncombustible materials.

That’s why ventilation isn’t an option in this type.

Type – Ⅱ: Non-Combustible Construction

What Is It?

This type is similar to fire-resistive buildings.

And the following components are non-combustible:

  • Walls
  • Partitions
  • Columns
  • Floors, and
  • Roofs

How To Recognize This?

This type of buildings typically has a metal floor and metal roof with masonry walls.

These are the least stable in terms of collapse when exposed to fire.

Newer school buildings are a common example of this type of building construction.

Fire Resisting Features:

Noncombustible type buildings provide less fire resistance than Type – Ⅰ and they do not withstand the effects or spreading of fire as well as fire-resistive buildings.

This type gets its name “non-combustible” not because of its fire-resistance capability, but because of the fuel the building contributes.

Type – Ⅲ: Ordinary Construction

What Is It?

This type of building construction has brick or block walls with a wooden roof or floor.

And, all or part of interior structural elements is made with wood or combustible materials.

These buildings are also called brick-and-joist structures.

Ordinary construction is used in both new and old buildings.

Fire Resisting Features:

As some elements of this type of building are made with combustible materials, it is vulnerable to fire.

But vertical ventilation in these buildings is possible.

Type – Ⅳ: Heavy Timber Construction

What Is It?

In this type of building construction, solid or laminated wood is mostly used.

And, These buildings have noncombustible exterior walls and interior elements.

In these buildings, all wooden members must meet dimensional requirements.

Such as wood columns, beams, and girders must be at least 8 inches thick.

And roofs must be at least 6″ inches thick.

Besides these, heavy planks should be used for floors.

Fire Resisting Features:

When these buildings catch fire they require large volumes of water to extinguish.

But they hold up against fire.

And, don’t collapse easily due to their structural mess.

Types – Ⅴ: Wood-Framed Construction

What It Is?

This type of building construction allows combustible exterior walls.

And the interior elements, such as structural frames, walls, floors, and roofs, can be partly or entirely made out of wood.

You’ll find this type of construction in modern homes.

Fire Resisting Features:

Out of all types of building construction, wood-framed construction is the most combustible.

As these buildings often have exposed wood so there is no fire resistance.

And It ignites instantly.

But It’s reasonably resistant to collapse.

But if the building is a lightweight construction it’ll fail within minutes.

Now It’s Your Turn:

As you might have noticed, all these 5 types of building construction are almost similar.

If you don’t closely observe building structures for some time, it’ll be difficult for you to recognize the difference between structures.

Now I’d like to turn it over to you:

How do you recognize a type of building construction?

Or maybe you got something from this post that helps you recognize the type of building construction. What is that?

Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

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