Construction Law

5 Types of Building Construction Part 2 featured image

5 Types of Building Construction Part 2

In part one of this two-part article, the Ft. Myers contractor lawyers at Cotney Construction Law discussed NFPA 220: Standard on Types of Building Construction and two types of building construction: fire resistive and noncombustible. Now, we will continue to expand on this topic while discussing the fire safety implications of each building type. Remember, for all of your construction-related legal needs including breach of contract, contract review, dispute resolution, roofing law, and more, a Ft. Myers contractor attorney is here to represent you.


We already discussed fire resistive and noncombustible building construction in part one. By contrast, ordinary building construction is typically constructed of masonry walls or another noncombustible wall type with a two-hour fire rating. Ordinary building construction uses wooden floors, roofs, and interior partitions. Plywood and composition are frequently used for floor and roof decking. If two buildings share a wall, they may share wall sockets for floor joists and roof rafters.

Heavy Timber

Heavy timber building construction utilizes masonry walls or other types of noncombustible walls with a two-hour fire rating, similar to ordinary construction. In this type of construction, interior columns, beams, and girders are crafted from heavy timber (at least 8×8) and floors and roofs are supported by heavy planks (at least 3×6). Heavy timber construction has a heavy fire load but is relatively resistant to ignition and collapse due primarily to the sheer mass of structural members present in this building type. Heavy timber building construction often lacks any hidden voids. Unfortunately, once heavy timber has been ignited, it needs a significant quantity of water to extinguish.

Wood Frame

As its name suggests, wood frame building construction is made almost entirely of wood. These structures contribute to fire load but are resistant to collapse as long as construction utilized heavy materials in lieu of lightweight materials. The structural members in wood frame construction are combustible. Generally, wood frame construction falls into one of two categories:

  • Protected: structural elements are protected to increase fire resistance
  • Unprotected: no resistance to fire

There are many types of wood frame building construction including post-and-beam construction, balloon-frame construction, platform-frame construction, and modern construction. It’s also important to remember that another name for wood frame building construction is “combustible.”

If you would like to speak with a Ft. Myers contractor attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.