Wood framing can be used to support a large variety of structural configurations under many different loading situations, from everyday gravity loads (including the self-weight of the building and occupant loads) to extraordinary wind storm or earthquake loading.
Fire and Life Safety
The fire and life safety of a building is achieved by combining various levels of fire resistance, fire class and fire protection systems. Understanding these aspects of fire design and how they are applied is important to understanding the opportunities for wood in a variety of applications.
- Fire resistance is related to the degree of passive protection provided to the structure itself. Fire resistance is usually provided by a gypsum product but fire endurance can also be proven to meet 1-hour and 2-hour requirements for exposed wood via Chapter 16 of the American Wood Council’s National Design Specification® (NDS®) for Wood Construction.
- Fire class is specific to the finishes of the building and describes the flame spread and smoke index of the exposed material used on the interior or exterior finish. Some wood finishes and exposed wood structural elements are not required to meet a specific fire class rating.
- Fire protection refers to the active fire protection of the building through sprinklers, fire/smoke alarms, etc.