It is of utmost importance to build a garage, home, addition or shell home with fire safety as the #1 consideration. As stated in the International Residential Building Code 2012, all materials and construction, projections, openings and penetrations of exterior walls of dwellings and accessory buildings, garages and barns shall be fire-rated in compliance with State and Federal guidelines.
First of all, the key focus to residential and commercial construction is stopping the spread of fire. This is a key consideration when adding a garage to any property. The local principality’s zoning regulations guide homeowners and contractors to prevent construction that could ignite either itself or any building next to it.
Garages and barns must be built with fire-rated materials, if they are closer than 10’ to any other structure, whether a home or type of building. Some building projects cannot be closer than 5’ to a property line, whether there is a building there or not. The International Building Code 2012 requires that any garage attached to a main dwelling’s parallel walls must be fire-rated. Any opening from a private garage directly to a bedroom is prohibited by Code. Other openings inside the garage must be a solid wood door or a fire-rated steel door, 1-hour fire-rating is acceptable.
There are several different ways to construct a fire-resistant garage, barn or addition. Sheetrock is used as a means to fire-rate walls. Sheetrock burns slowly in comparison to other combustible materials and therefore acts as a protective layer. Using fire-resistant lumber is another way to slow the spread of fire in homes, offices, warehouses, garages, barns and additions. Commercial construction walls are frequently steel-framed and therefore are fire-resistant.
Trade work, whether it is plumbing, electrical, mechanical or HVAC penetrations also have fire-resistant measures that are required by building codes. Every hole or area left open in a construction project, whether it is in a wall, a ceiling, an attic, etc., allow air to flow which helps fire spread. Therefore, there are specific building codes that affect the way plumbing, electrical, mechanical and HVAC are installed. Insulation materials have a specific flame-spread index level that must be met or that material will not be able to be used in some applications.
There are 2 types of electrical receptacles that are used in residential and commercial construction that serve 2 very important tasks. GFCI’s prevent electrical shock and are used in damp areas and outside. AFSI’s prevent fires. They are put in all habitatble spaces, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, dens, every room. Plastics and adhesives are made to be fire-resistant as well. Every garage is required to have one AFCI (Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter), if wired.
Call H.W. Enterprises, Inc., Newport News, VA, for help planning of your next garage, barn, addition or shell home. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want your building to last a lifetime and beyond!