Urban planning community | #theplannerlife

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Greater risk of fire - building large with wood frame construction - Raleigh, NC fire 3/17/17

  1. #1
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    10,474

    Greater risk of fire - building large with wood frame construction - Raleigh, NC fire 3/17/17

    Here is a link with good photos for today's massive fire in downtown Raleigh, NC - http://abc11.com/news/monstrous-fire...leigh/1804792/

    These fires appear to be more frequent (or at least reported more), especially with the rise of downtown living again and construction of large (5+ story, 100+ unit) buildings completely with wood construction.

    Do you think local building codes are going to be changed unilaterally by governments or will the insurance companies start dropping the hammer or something else or everybody?

    This instance in Raleigh is a particularly bad situation given the proximity to neighboring buildings and could see the City considering changes to their building code.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Somewhere between the mountains and the ocean.
    Posts
    17,448
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    Here is a link with good photos for today's massive fire in downtown Raleigh, NC - http://abc11.com/news/monstrous-fire...leigh/1804792/

    These fires appear to be more frequent (or at least reported more), especially with the rise of downtown living again and construction of large (5+ story, 100+ unit) buildings completely with wood construction.

    Do you think local building codes are going to be changed unilaterally by governments or will the insurance companies start dropping the hammer or something else or everybody?

    This instance in Raleigh is a particularly bad situation given the proximity to neighboring buildings and could see the City considering changes to their building code.
    Yes... they will. At a minimum, it will on the local level. Thank goodness there were only minor injuries.

    I spoke with our deputy fire marshal this morning at a meeting and he was in contact with their fire marshal and they are already discussing the requirement for steel framing in areas that have a particular building density. Moreso, while the building code required sprinklers to be installed, it was still in a framing stage so they were not installed yet. Several of the surrounding buildings were sprinkled, which limited the spread but it could have been prevented.

    This morning on my way in, there was a noticeable haze over the skyline and you could smell the smoke at my house 15 miles away.
    If you're not growing, you're dying. - Lou Holtz

  3. #3
    We recently had a nearly-complete downtown four story apartment building, some 100+ units, catch fire during construction. A welder managed to catch wall insulation on fire while working on some plumbing fixtures and he tried to put it out himself. After using multiple fire extinguishers, he thought he got it out, and left for the weekend. The fire burned overnight, winds picked up, and the building was largely engulfed from the inside by 5:30AM the next day. Total loss. Fortunately, no fatalities or injuries.

    The welder never called the fire department to make sure he actually did extinguish the fire.

    Wood framing is safe, once the required sprinklers are activated. I doubt there will be steel or masonry required framing simply because of density. The added cost is unnecessary and will impede redevelopment efforts. YMMV.
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
    Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2011
    Location
    The Woods
    Posts
    3,445
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Yes... they will. At a minimum, it will on the local level. Thank goodness there were only minor injuries.

    I spoke with our deputy fire marshal this morning at a meeting and he was in contact with their fire marshal and they are already discussing the requirement for steel framing in areas that have a particular building density. Moreso, while the building code required sprinklers to be installed, it was still in a framing stage so they were not installed yet. Several of the surrounding buildings were sprinkled, which limited the spread but it could have been prevented.

    This morning on my way in, there was a noticeable haze over the skyline and you could smell the smoke at my house 15 miles away.
    They can't do that though, at least not without Code Council approval. In North Carolina, all building and fire codes fall under NC DOI and have to be approved by the Code Council, and the Council only. Local jurisdictions may only apply more stringent code requirements when it comes to the Fire Prevention Code (under no circumstances can they do this with Building Code or any trade codes), but only with Council approval. If the building code changes, it's a state wide change. That said, this is Wake County we're talking about here. Wake, Mecklenburg, and in some cases Guiliford and Buncombe, have enough sway to do basically what they want to. In the building code enforcement world, most folks refer to Mecklenburg as "The Great State of Mecklenburg" for that very reason. Us rural guys get left in the lurch.

    This is whole process huge PITA too. We looked at requiring sprinkler systems in new construction (residential) in our most dense lake front lots but there's no way to do that locally with out Council approval, and that would have likely gone nowhere.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 8
    Last post: 07 Nov 2014, 3:10 PM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last post: 28 Oct 2008, 4:42 AM
  3. Replies: 3
    Last post: 21 Apr 2008, 4:32 PM
  4. Replies: 1
    Last post: 29 Aug 2007, 11:23 AM
  5. Replies: 12
    Last post: 21 Mar 2007, 9:01 AM