New technologies are constantly being used in building construction. Developers are seeking better ways to build structures cheaper while maintaining or increasing their load carrying capabilities. In many cases, these new construction features provide greater strength than previous construction types but at reduced cost. Reduced cost means reduced mass, so although structures may be stronger, their structural integrity weakens faster under fire conditions. For example, legacy wood frame construction types, which provide approximately 18-20 minutes from the start of fire until collapse becomes a concern. Meanwhile, more modern lightweight wood construction can begin to lose its structural integrity in as quickly as four to eight minutes from the start of fire.
Changes in the building construction field are introducing many more engineered, composite, and green structural techniques and elements, as well as the use of synthetic materials. For firefighters, this translates into altered fire dynamics, less structural mass, larger void spaces for vertical and horizontal fire extension, and early collapse potential. As a result, getting sufficient water on the seat of the fire as quickly as possible will result in increased safety and survival opportunities for firefighters and trapped occupants.
Describe the framing systems constructed of wood and the purpose of fire stops in those framing systems.
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