Fire Severity Outcome Comparison of Apartment Buildings Constructed from Combustible and Non-combustible Materials

Wood is a natural, sustainable, and economical material used for construction. It is also combustible, which causes structures constructed from wood to be perceived as less safe than structures made from non-combustible materials, such as steel and concrete. However, fire safety in residential buildings is multi-layered, and advancements in wood products and treatment, such as fire-retardant treatment and use of non-combustible cladding, have made combustible materials more fire-resistant. In addition, protective systems, such as smoke alarms and sprinklers, have increased the rate of detecting and extinguishing the fire before ignition of the building material. With these advancements, non-combustible constructions may not hold this advantage over wood any longer.

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