Thursday, December 10, 2009

Light Weight Construction and ESS

The fire service continues to apply the term “light weight construction” to a wide variety of building construction and systems. This expression has become a miss-application of both term and the correlation of risk and severity related to operational profiling. In other words, we apply and express the use of “light weight construction” for all types of engineered components, systems, designs and assemblies in nearly all types of building construction and occupancy use.

Although the roots of the term can be traced back to the early 1980’s, and its application to the (then) emerging use of trussed roofing systems and the advent of wood I-beam floor supports (sans solid dimensional lumber joists), the use of the terminology in today’s context of risk assessment, strategic and tactical management and deployment models and within the context of incident operational tactics is no longer applicable, valid or suitable. It must be expanded into a more specific and descriptive level of classification and correlation.

For the most part, when discussing buildings and occupancies, aside from classifications related to code type or class as an element of fire resistance; the emphasis has been to differentiate between conventional and engineered construction, and the application of the term “light weight construction”. I continue advocating and promoting through my lectures that it’s much more than this when looking at the spectrum of construction and the structural anatomy of buildings.
Current and past generations of buildings, construction and occupancies can be more accurately differentiated and classified within six (6) expanding categories in the following Building Construction Systems;
The new Terminology of Building Construction Systems & Classifications;
  • Heritage: Pre-1900
  • Legacy:  1900-1949
  • Conventional: 1950-1979
  • Engineered: 1980-2009   (Current into 2010…)
  • Blended Hybrid: 1995-2009  (Current into 2010…)
  • Enigmatic:   2010 - beyond ( This is a developing class I'm still working on-projected)

The term Light weight Construction has transitioned to a more accurate terminology relating to the wider expanse of Engineered Structural Systems (ESS). For a more on this topic,see The New Lexicon and Challenges, HERE

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1 comment:

  1. If I'm not mistaken light weight construction had been developed in Europe 60 years ago, well some countries like Malaysia and Thailand are still improving this kind of construction


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