Developers and owners seek to optimize time and minimize costs while providing the most appropriate construction for the needs of a community. Safety, durability, quality, and maintenance all effect the decisions that developers must make regarding buildings to be constructed. Non-combustible and masonry construction not only provides superior fire protection benefits, but also satisfies durability, quality, and maintenance needs easily and economically through a variety of construction options. The variety of products and systems available makes it easy to find concrete and masonry solutions that fit the homebuilder’s budget, design, and construction schedules.

Minimum two-hour fire resistance-rated non-combustible walls may be constructed using masonry, cast-in-place concrete, or precast/pre-stressed concrete. Interim floors may be constructed using precast/pre-stressed concrete plank or cast-in-place concrete. Minimum one-hour non-combustible exterior walls may be masonry, cast-in-place, or precast/pre-stressed concrete.

For multi-family construction, especially when there is a repetitive floor plan, load-bearing concrete or masonry wall systems supporting concrete floor systems are easy to design.

Load-bearing concrete or masonry walls and concrete floors also facilitate the rest of the construction process. With many systems, once floors are placed, other trades may begin work in the protected areas under the floors, significantly shortening the construction schedule.

The initial cost of concrete or masonry is comparable to the cost of less durable and less fire-resistant construction. A study by Walter G. M. Scheider III, PhD, PE, principal and chief engineer at John C. Haas Associates, shows that the cost difference incurred with concrete and masonry construction may be as low as five percent. And in one of the three cities for which designs, code reviews, and cost estimates were developed, the cost of concrete and masonry construction was three percent less than wood frame construction for multi-family housing. More information on the report.

The use of durable, non-combustible concrete and masonry construction demonstrates to the community that the developer and owner are interested in providing safe, durable, quality, low-maintenance construction that is suited for the needs and the desires of the community.

There are a wide variety of options to consider for building projects. Masonry walls may be erected using exposed architectural concrete masonry units, concrete masonry with stucco or other finishes, clay brick masonry, or composite or cavity walls of concrete and/or clay masonry. For information on the options most appropriate for your project, contact:

  • Regional, state, or local concrete masonry or brick promotion associations.
  • Local concrete masonry unit or brick manufacturers or suppliers

Concrete walls may be cast-in-place with removable forms, cast-in-place with stay-in-place forms, tilt-up concrete, or precast/prestressed concrete panels. For information on the options best suited for your project, including available finishes, contact:

  • Regional, state, or local ready mixed concrete promotion associations.
  • Local ready mixed concrete, precast/pre-stressed concrete, or insulating concrete form suppliers or manufacturers

When it comes to building construction that effectively and economically provides life safety and property protection, while establishing a premier reputation for developers within their communities, there is no comparison to non-combustible concrete and masonry construction. For more information about combining smoke detectors, fire sprinklers, and passive fire protection visit the Pennsylvania Fire Safety Construction Advisory Council.