Different Construction Types
by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Jan 8, 2020 12:00:00 AM
Q: What is the allowed distance a non-sprinkled stick-built building can be located beside a hospital?
A: Your question encompasses a couple of different issues. When you say “stick-built” building, I think of wood frame construction, which is Construction Type V (000) in accordance with the Life Safety Code and NFPA 220. Construction Type V (000) is not permitted in healthcare occupancies unless the hospital is only one story and is fully sprinklered. So, let’s assume your hospital is more than one story and is at least Construction Type II (222), which is non-combustible construction with beams, columns, joists and floors fire rated at 2-hours. If you have an adjoining wood-frame building with Construction Type V (000), then it must be separated from the healthcare occupancy with a 2-hour fire rated barrier. However, there is a caveat with this requirement. If the wood-frame construction building is separated by a minimum of 10 feet and is not-connected to the building containing the healthcare occupancy, then a 2-hour fire rated barrier is not required. This 10-foot gap would act as a fire barrier is one building were to catch on fire. This 10-foot gap is an interpretation based on section 18.104.22.168.2.1 that requires 10-feet of the horizontal exterior of the building wall to be fire-rated where unprotected exterior walls of a stairwell connect to the building at an angle less-than 180 degrees.