Is Wood a Dangerous Apartment Building Material?
Digested from Some fire-safety experts question lightweight wood construction
The Charlotte Observer (12/19/15) Rothacker, Rick, and Portillo, Ely
As new developments continue to crop up in Charlotte, N.C., the community is beginning to notice a construction trend: Many of the midrise developments are wood-framed. Even though the developments are following the proper building codes, concerns have arisen that the wood construction will create faster-burning buildings, which could injure firefighters.
Developers are drawn to the natural material over steel and concrete because wood is more cost-effective a savings they can pass onto residents through more affordable rents. But following an apartment fire in New Jersey, fire professionals are taking a closer look at the potential hazards of using wood to construct apartment communities. A New Jersey lawmaker has even proposed new building requirements that would limit building height based on the sprinklers the developer intends to use and mandate greater firewalls between apartment units. Adding such provisions can increase the cost of building, which in turn creates more expensive apartment homes.