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The Building Code Part 6, Fire Resistance Construction

November 3, 2011

Fire ratings are a critical component to building construction, as protecting the buildings occupants from fire is one of the major purposes of the building code. Fire resistance construction is outlined in chapter 7 of the 2006 IBC. There are several things to consider when looking at fire resistance construction; fire ratings; fire walls, and penetrations.

Fire-Resistance Rating – The period of time a building element, component of assembly maintains the ability to confine fire, continues to perform a given structural function or both, as determined by tests, or methods based on tests.

Walls, floors, roof, columns and beams can all have fire resistance ratings.


Fire Walls – A fire-resistance-rated wall having protected openings, which restricts the spread of fire and extends continuously from the foundation to or through the roof , with sufficient structural stability under fire conditions to allow collapse of construction on either side without collapse of the wall.

When a building is separated into two buildings, often because the floor area is larger that the code allows, a fire wall is required. This allows the two buildings to stand next to each other as one building but be separated.


Penetrations – When a penetration is put in a wall with a rating, the rating need to be maintained. When putting pipes or other small penetrations through a rated wall or floor, a fire rated sealant need to be used to seal the gap. The sizes of window openings are also limited in rated walls, and any doors and frame in a rated wall needs a rating as well.


Obviously I have given a very simplified explanation of chapter 7 of the 2006 IBC. Feel free to skim through the chapter, but don’t get worried about the details.


Good luck on your next exam!


Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Use and Occupancy

Part 3 – Special requirements

Part 4 – General Building Height and Area Limitations

Part 5 – Types of Construction

Part 6 – Fire Resistant Construction

Part 7 – Interior Finishes

Part 8 – Means of Egress


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