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03/26/2012

Post-Frame Fire Walls: The Economical Alternative?

 
Are Post-Frame Fire Walls the Economical Alternative?

The National Frame Building Association (NFBA) has successfully tested a post-frame 3-hour fire wall system that can now be incorporated into a post-frame building without having to seek out expensive traditional non-wood framing systems.

Full-scale testing of a 3-hour post-frame fire wall in December 2011 by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Northbrook, IL, showed for the first time that a wood-constructed assembly is a viable alternative to a traditional block wall system.   

The post-frame building system is categorized as a Type 5 structure under the International Building Code (IBC). An hourly rated wall— rated as high as 3 hours—is often required to separate building areas or occupancy types to meet the IBC requirement for life safety.

 For architects, builders, and engineers, that traditionally has meant using a rated 8-inch or 10-inch concrete block wall on a concrete foundation, but with this recent test exceeding hour-rating expectations, that may no longer be the case.

“The post-frame assembly nearly made 4 hours (3 hours and 47 minutes), thus obtaining UL’s 3.5-hour rating,” said Leo F.  Shirek, co-chair of NFBA’s Technical and Research Committee and a member of its 3-Hour Post-Frame Fire Wall Subcommittee. “It’s quite a testament to the quality of post-frame construction.”

The test assembly was a post-frame structure with four layers of 2 x 6 laminations in the columns, spaced 8 feet apart with 2 x 4 girts 16 inches on center applied horizontally on each side. The frame was then sheathed with four staggered layers of 5/8 type X drywall on both sides. All joints were untapped.

Post-frame wall assembly is an extremely economical alternative, Shirek says. “We began testing work for this project in early 2011 knowing that, from an industry standpoint, we could create a wall that was much more cost-effective than a typical block wall, which costs $12−$15 per square foot. We felt that a post-frame fire wall with drywall could potentially halve that cost.”

 Sherik notes that a post-frame fire wall is faster to erect than a stud-wall system, a light-gauge steel-stud wall system, and particularly block walls, which generally require an expensive foundation. “A post-frame wall can be built and incorporated into the natural flow of the building process, possibly saving as much as a couple of weeks in completion time.”

 “We are optimistic that this test will be a building block for other approvals and possibly for other future tests that can benefit the industry,” Shirek says.  Testing, which follows the requirements of the UL 263 (ASTM E119) standard of ASTM International [formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials], included a fire test and a stringent water-pressure test.

 

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When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
04/16/2014

The U.S. Army plans to start development of a solar array that will provide about 25% of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
Los Angeles has remained the top city for ENERGY STAR certified building since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year, according to a new list released by the EPA.
04/09/2014
Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
04/07/2014
Field demonstrations of newly proven energy-efficient technologies are yielding valuable results for the U.S. Navy, helping it meet energy goals.
04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
03/07/2014
It is possible to harvest energy from Earth's thermal infrared emission into outer space, according to new research from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
03/05/2014
Is your building prepared to handle an emergency?
03/04/2014
NASCAR revealed five newly installed charging stations for employee use.
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