Fire and Multi-Story Wood Frame Structures

 

The apparent growth in the use of wood frame systems in multi-story non-residential buildings brings with it an additional amount of risk - particularly during construction.  As one news reporter observed, "The disadvantage of wood-framed buildings is obvious: wood burns." This has been proven recently in several high-profile and spectacular fires, but there are many more lesser-known  examples of the impact of using combustible materials.

To keep SFIA members informed about the trends and implications of wood framed construction, it has begun tracking examples that collectively are creating a mosaic of risk that should make insurers, building owners, and fire marshals uncomfortable.

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Hampton Inn, Seabrook, TX
Date: April 30, 2015
Project Description:  3 story, 55-unit, wood framed hotel.
Building Status:  Completed in 2004
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Avalon at Edgewater, Edgewater, New Jersey
Date:
January 21, 2015
Project Description:  A 408 unit 300,000 square foot apartment complex, with four stories of wood framing above a two-story concrete parking deck.
Building Status:  Building completed in 2002 and fully occupied.

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DaVinci Apartment Complex, Los Angeles, CA
Date: December 8, 2014
Project Description:  The 526-unit apartment building had 1.3 million square feet of floor space, with five stories of wood framing over two stories of concrete.   
Building Status:  Under construction

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Apollo Way, Madison, WI
Date: August 8, 2014
Project Description:  The fire that destroyed this Four-story, 105-unit wood –frame apartment complex. actually melted parts of a city fire truck and damaged more than a dozen nearby homes – and was so big that it was observed on weather radar.
Building Status: Under construction

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