UpCodes: Types of Construction (2023)

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When the type of construction of the building is used in the building code, the reference is to one of five categories of construction, based on the relative fire safety of each type. Currently, the classifications of construction types are ranked on the combustibility of the entire assembly, versus the fire-resistivity of the basic materials. Note that each type is not specific to a specific material. In actuality, concrete and steel may be used in any of the types of construction, but the use of wood is

severely limited

in construction types I and II.

Types of Construction - 2018ExamplesAssembly Fire Resistivity
Type I - Non-combustible Fire-Resistive ConstructionConcrete columns, beams and floorsHigh
Type II - Non-CombustibleSteel columns, beams and decks/floors
Type III - “Hybrid” Non-Combustible / CombustibleConcrete tilt-up construction with wood glulam (subdiaphragm) roof
Type IV - “Heavy Timber”6x10 wood beams / 8x8 wood columns / cross-laminated timbers
Type V - Wood Frame ConstructionWood or metal stud constructionLow

Type I and II

Type IA and IB - Non-combustible construction (i.e., typically steel or concrete) requiring high to moderate levels of fire protection. These structures are often reinforced concrete structures or steel structures with a high degree of fire-resistance detailing using either concrete encasement or

spray applied fireproofing


Type IIA and IIB - Non-combustible construction requiring either low (“one-hour”) or no fire-resistant construction. This type of construction is typically heavy steel construction using moment frames or brace frames as a lateral force resisting system. Interior partitions are typically framed from light-gauge metal studs. Spray applied fireproofing systems are often used to provide the requisite fire-resistivity to the primary and secondary framing systems.

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Type III

Type IIIA and IIIB - Non-combustible exterior walls with a combustible (i.e., typically wood-framed) roof requiring either low or no fire resistant construction. Construction of this type is often either tilt-up warehouse type of construction with a wood subdiaphragm type roof. Type III construction has also become more common in mid-rise multifamily construction, using fire-retardant treated wood for exterior wall construction.

Type IV - Heavy Timber and Mass Timber

Type IV - Heavy timber construction with moderate levels of fire-resistant construction

Type IV A/B/C - Mass timber construction, allowing mid-rise and


construction from wood products. These types of construction will be found in the next edition of the building code, and earlier in some states.

Type V - Combustible

Type VA and VB - Constructed of any allowable material, including wood construction, with low or no fire-resistant construction. Type V-A requires one-hour fire resistant construction throughout. Both Type V-A and Type V-B construction is typically constructed of light-frame wood or metal stud and joist framing. In North America, these systems are typically platform framed but can be balloon framed as well.

Building Elements within Types of Construction

Each type of construction has assigned to it various

fire-resistance ratings

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for various building elements, such as structural frame, bearing and nonbearing walls, floor assemblies, etc. For each type of construction and its subtype, there are minimum requirements for the hourly fire-resistance rating for each element. Regarding subtypes, subtype B is generally non-rated construction (except for in Type I) and subtype B is generally at least one hour rated. It should be mentioned that the ratings

Table 601

are minimum ratings, and when ratings of a greater value are required elsewhere in the code, those higher ratings will govern. In addition, as the type of construction increases, generally the cost of construction will increase as well.

UpCodes: Types of Construction (1)UpCodes: Types of Construction (2)

Types of Construction: the relationship to building areas and automatic fire sprinkler systems

The Type of Construction directly affects the amount of allowable floor area that a building may have.

Table 506.2

shows how the allowable floor area varies depending on the sprinkler system installed, the number of stories the building has and the type of construction assigned. This table can either be used to analyze if a design correctly:

  1. Specifies the proper automatic fire sprinkler system based on Chapter 9
  2. If the building is within the fire area limits based on the sprinkler system provided for, and
  3. If the correct type of Construction has been assumed for the building.

UpCodes: Types of Construction (3)UpCodes: Types of Construction (4)

In addition, the building


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tables must also be consulted to similarly verify if the building is within the allowable heights and number of stories.

If these items are left to verify later into the design, the cost to the budget can be disastrous if a full redesign of the building is required, because the incorrect Type of Construction was selected. Alternatively, using these tables in an iterative manner can be time consuming if the building is not clearly a particular type of construction (such as a single family home or a tall high rise building).

UpCodes: Types of Construction (5)UpCodes: Types of Construction (6)
UpCodes: Types of Construction (7)UpCodes: Types of Construction (8)

Types of Construction: Two tools to provide efficiency in design and analysis

UpCodes: Types of Construction (9)UpCodes: Types of Construction (10)

UpCodes provides multiple tools for assessing proper types of construction. One tool is the Construction Type Guide, found in the Project Input page of the code calculators. This guide will allow you to quickly try a number of different options in regards to sprinkler types and occupancy groups and areas to see which types of construction would be candidates for the building in question. If a more detailed analysis is needed, the building composition of single or mixed occupancy, single or multi-story buildings can be provided in the project input, and the Guide will show the various types of construction that may be allowed for that particular building type. Another tool, the Code Calculators, can provide detailed information about the compliance of a design.

In the following example, a

Group B Occupancy

building of 77,000 square feet with 3 stories and that has a building height of 45 feet with an NFPA 13 sprinkler system can use any type of construction. However, if the sprinkler system were to be eliminated, construction types IIB, IIIB, VA or VB could not be used.

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UpCodes: Types of Construction (11)UpCodes: Types of Construction (12)

UpCodes: Types of Construction (13)UpCodes: Types of Construction (14)

History of Types of Construction from the UBC to IBC.

Ever since the early days of the Uniform Building Code, buildings have been classified as one of five general types of construction to account for the relative fire safety inherent in various types of construction methods. In the United States, buildings are generally constructed of one of a few types of materials: concrete, steel, masonry or wood. While each of these materials with the exception of wood are considered non-combustible, each material has methods of construction that lend themselves to being more or less fire-resistant. In the building code, the types of construction are labeled types 1 through 5, denoted by roman numerals I, II, III, IV and V. The origins of this is found in the 1927 Uniform Building Code, the first edition of the building code developed for use on the United States west coast. The original classifications were:

Type Of Construction - 1927 UBCStructural Element Fire Resistivity
Type I - Fire-Resistive ConstructionHigh
Type II - Heavy Timber Construction
Type III - Ordinary Masonry Construction
Type IV - Metal Frame Construction
Type V - Wood Frame ConstructionLow

The types were ranked by overall fire resistivity of the basic materials. Even though heavy timber is itself a combustible material, while metal frame is not, the inherent fire-resistivity of a large timber beam or column is much higher than an unprotected steel beam or column. After the 1949 Uniform Building Code, the types of construction then started moving to become ordered by combustibility of the material, with new fire resistivity ratings shown by 1-hour or non-rated sub-categories.

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We'd love to hear from you on this article or others you'd like to see. Get in touch with us at feedback@up.codes.

Please note we’ve used the Wyoming Building Code for the examples above as it shares much in common with many other state and city codes. Please reference your jurisdiction’s codes for amendments specific to your project.

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What is Type 1 and Type 2 construction? ›

Type I: Noncombustible (or limited-combustible) construction with a high level of fire resistance, typically concrete construction. Type II: Noncombustible (or limited-combustible) construction with a lower level of fire resistance than Type I, typically this is steel construction with or without fireproofing.

What is construction Type 2 B? ›

TYPE II-B--Unprotected Non-Combustible (Most common type of non-combustible construction used in commercial buildings). Building constructed of non-combustible materials but these materials have no fire resistance.

What is Type 3 and Type 5 construction? ›

Type 3: Ordinary: New or old buildings with non-combustible walls but a wood-framed roof. Type 4: Heavy Timber: Older buildings made from thick lumber. Type 5: Wood-framed: Modern buildings with combustible framing and roofs.

What are the 4 basic types of construction? ›

These include residential building construction, industrial construction, commercial building construction, and heavy civil construction.

What is an example of a Type 3 construction? ›

TYPE III – This type of constructed building is also called a brick-and-joist structure by some. It has masonry-bearing walls but the floors, structural framework, and roof are made of wood or other combustible material; for example, a concrete-block building with wood roof and floor trusses.

What is Type 3 B construction? ›

TYPE III-B--Unprotected Combustible

(Also known as “ordinary” construction; has brick or block walls with a wooden roof or floor assembly which is not protected against fire).

What is Type A or B construction? ›

"Type A" buildings are ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. "Type B" buildings live at a lower stress level and typically work steadily, enjoying achievement but not becoming stressed when they do not achieve.

What is the difference between construction type 2A and 2B? ›

Type 2A construction is commonly used in newer school buildings, while Type 2B is in commercial buildings. Examples of Type 2A structures include: Daycare facilities.

What is the difference between construction type 1a and 1b? ›

Construction Types IA and IB are considered noncombustible and fire resistive. The most significant difference between Type IA and IB is the level of fire resistance required for the building elements, with IA having a higher fire resistance.

What is construction type 2 222? ›

Type II construction can be further classified as protected— Type II (222) or Type I (111)—in which the structural members have some degree of fire resistance, either 2 hour or 1 hour, or unprotected—Type II (000)—in which the structural members have no fire resistance rating.

What is Type 6 construction? ›

TYPE IA (ISO 6): The main structural elements are noncombustible. Examples of these materials would be masonry and concrete. Basically, all concrete construction. TYPE IB (ISO 5): The main structural elements are noncombustible.

What is Type 3 framing? ›

Type III. Type III is a more robust wood framing type that allows 5 stories over a Type I, usually concrete, podium to a maximum height of 85 feet, though without bonuses typically 65 feet.

How do you determine construction type? ›

How to Determine Construction Type
  1. Type V — Wood Construction. ...
  2. Type IV — Heavy Timber Framing. ...
  3. Type III — Non-combustible Wall Construction. ...
  4. Type II — Non-combustible with 1-Hour Fire Resistance. ...
  5. Type I — Non-combustible with 2- to 3-Hour Fire Resistance.
Jan 21, 2021

What is Class 7 in construction? ›

Class 7 buildings are storage-type buildings. The Class 7 classification has 2 sub-classifications: Class 7a and Class 7b. Class 7a buildings are carparks. Class 7b buildings are typically warehouses, storage buildings or buildings for the display of goods (or produce) for wholesale.

What are the 5 steps of construction? ›

The five phases of the construction project lifecycle are:
  • Project Initiation and Conception. Like with all things, the first step to the construction life cycle is merely to begin. ...
  • Project Planning and Definition. ...
  • Project Execution and Launch. ...
  • Project Performance. ...
  • Project Close.

What does LEED stand for? ›

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

Are there three major types of construction? ›

The four main types of construction are: residential construction, commercial construction, industrial construction, and infrastructure construction.

What are the 6 steps of construction? ›

Phases of construction
  • Phase 1. Closure of the building site. ...
  • Phase 2. Land and foundation. ...
  • Phase 3. The structure of the construction. ...
  • Phase 4. Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) ...
  • Phase 5. Insulation and waterproofing. ...
  • Phase 6. Finishes and closures.

What are the three methods of construction? ›

Three modern building techniques that are being widely used today include precast flat panel systems, 3D volumetric construction, and insulating concrete framework.

Why do they call Type 3 construction ordinary construction? ›

Ordinary Construction (Type III) has a combination of combustible and noncombustible features. Because of its popularity, this architectural style has been termed “Main Street USA.” The exterior walls are protected by a noncombustible material and the fire resistance of the interior depends on building's age.

What does construction type frame mean? ›

1. Frame (Frame ISO 1): Risks under this construction type have exterior walls and bearing walls that are of wood or light-gauge metal. This construction type will also include risks that are of brick veneer, stone veneer, or stucco.

What is Type C construction? ›

C. Type A construction is the most fire-resistant, Type C construction is the least fire-resistant, and Type B construction falls between these two. Under the DTS Provisions, buildings required to be of Type A and B Construction are required to be of non-combustible construction.

What is the difference between Type AB and C construction? ›

Type A includes buildings that have a higher risk such as high rise, high occupant buildings and is therefore the most fire resistant. Type C includes buildings that have a lower risk and is therefore the least fire resistant.

What is construction Type IV B? ›

Type IV construction is that type of construction in which the building elements are mass timber or noncombustible materials and have fire-resistance ratings in accordance with Table 601.

What is an example of Type 1 construction? ›

All building elements must be non-combustible for the building to be classified as Type 1. These elements include the structural frame, exterior and interior bearing walls, exterior and interior non-bearing walls and partitions, and floor and roof construction.

What is Type 2 construction examples? ›

Type 2 construction is typically found in new buildings and remodels of commercial structures. The walls and roofs are constructed of non-combustible materials. Specifically, walls are usually reinforced masonry or tilt slab, while roofs have metal structural members and decking.

What does B mean in construction? ›

B - Boiler / Bathroom / Bidet.

What are the six types of construction? ›

Here are the main categories of building structures you should know if you aspire to or currently work in the construction industry:
  • Wood frame. ...
  • Light gauge steel. ...
  • Load-bearing or joisted masonry. ...
  • Steel frame. ...
  • Concrete frame. ...
  • Pre-engineered construction.
Feb 3, 2023

What is the difference between Type 4 and Type 5 construction? ›

– Type IV Construction, also know as Heavy Timber, is where the exterior walls are of noncombustible material and the interior building elements are of solid or laminated wood without concealed spaces. – Type V Construction is where the building elements are of any material allowed by code.

What are all the building types? ›

Buildings can be categorized into five different types of construction: fire-resistive, noncombustible, ordinary, heavy timber, and wood-framed.

What are the three systems of construction? ›

They fall into three major categories: low-rise, high-rise, and long-span. Systems for long-span buildings (column-free spaces of more than 100 feet, or 30 metres) include tension and compression systems (subject to bending) and funicular systems, which are shaped to experience either pure tension or pure compression.

What are the 7 categories of technical drawing? ›

  • Technical Drawings and their Types.
  • General layout drawing.
  • Layout drawing.
  • General arrangement drawing.
  • Detail drawing.
  • Assembly drawing.
  • Erection drawings.
  • Process flow diagram.
Mar 8, 2017

What are 6 categories of technical drawing? ›

There are many types of technical drawings, including: 3D drawings (isometric, perspective) • Exploded-view 3D drawings • Complete working drawings • Detail drawings (2D orthogonal projections) •Diagrams are another form of technical drawing with looser, less universal standards.

What are the 5 stages of design construction? ›

What Are the 5 Phases of a Design Project? The 5 phases of a design project are Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents, Bidding, and Construction Administration, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

What are the 5 phases of the design build process? ›

The design-build process can be broken down into five main steps: team selection, project planning, design, GMP/bidding, and construction. For the most part, these steps will happen sequentially, but not necessarily independent of one another. The project planning, design, and bidding phases may overlap.

What are the 5 parts of the principles of construction? ›

The Five Construction Principles have been established so that the five elements: environmental protection, safety, speed, economy, and aesthetics, conform with a balanced regular pentagon.


1. Easily determine code requirements with code calculators (UpCodes Webinar)
2. Code Calculator / UpCodes Feature Spotlight
3. AC 003 - Occupancy Groups
4. UpCodes AI Prototype Overview (not currently available)
5. 22 1014 UpCodes Code Calculator Seminar
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6. How does UpCodes keep the codes up to date?


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