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Building Construction

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  • Building Construction

    So, I've been given the assignment of teaching Building Construction to our six volunteer recruits tonight. I've got my Essentials book, the instructor's lesson plan and a PowerPoint presentation. Here's the problem. This class is supposed to last FOUR hours.

    I'll be honest. The in's and out's of building construction isn't anywhere close to being my specialty. This is probably because 90% (or more) of the buildings in my district are wood-frame, single-family dwellings. (I do plan to highlight the dangers of truss roof construction.) Because my experience is limited, I don't have a lot of real life stories to pass on as I would for other Essentials chapters.

    So, how can I make this lecture half-way interesting for these guys? I've gotta fill FOUR hours and if I speak real slowly, I think I'll be more than done after two. Any ideas? The floor is open for suggestion until 1800 tonight (class is 1800-2200).

  • #2
    In addition to trusses, you might want to talk about built up "I" sections (1x2's for the flanges and chipboard for the webs that connect the 1x2's). Those fail just about as fast as a truss and they are becoming more and more common for floor joists. Some other topics you might want to cover are some things about utilities, how they are installed, where to find the shut offs, that sort of thing. That might get you through 2 hours or so....

    If you are looking for some scenarios or "war stories" you could check out the archives of FH.com and look at some of Frank Brannigan's articles. You could also look through Billy Goldfeders
    FirefighterCloseCalls.com site for additional information. Good luck and have fun with it.
    Last edited by CJMinick390; 09-30-2004, 01:02 PM.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

    These statements are mine and mine alone
    I.A.C.O.J. Building crust and proud of it


    • #3
      You have your work cut out for you if you have to do this tonight!

      Try relating the book knowledge with buildings in your response area. If you have time, get digital photos of those buildings and show them real-life examples that they will probably be responding to.

      Also teach them the important relationship between building construction and pre-planning, as well as the hidden areas of fire travel that are vulnerable when the wrong fire suppression tactics are used.


      • #4
        This is probably because 90% (or more) of the buildings in my district are wood-frame, single-family dwellings.
        What are the other 10%? Any thing unusual/special? A bowling alley, a large warehouse, a shopping mall? If so, highlight and discuss their unique characteristics and hazards.

        Your wood-frame's... are there Townhomes within that 90%? You can discuss firewalls, etc

        Regardless of the specifics, try to tie it back together with subjects already covered. Have you covered ventilation yet? If so tie back in a reminder(or first lesson) about using construction features to help you vent (skylights, scuttle hatches, attic vent fans). A mention of renovations (both contractor and DIY) wouldn't hurt(i.e. creating voids, changing the original load balance, etc)

        It's not really construction exactly but the finish aspects of a building are important as well. Drop ceilings and the tangled mess they create when the suspension wires fail and you get stuck in it while trying to navigate your way through the smoke also things like HVAC... on a commercial occupancy, where is the unit? On the roof creating an additional load to roof members damaged by fire?

        Also, George is right (did I say that out loud?) Take some pictures of specifics to your area? With the picture up, point out the features you have been talking about, do a little WWYD.

        Don't forget a discussion on tools when you talk about each construction type(types of saws, saw blades for rotary saws).

        Bottom line is remember that (at least in my area) things are built to be disposable. Build it cheap sell it high!


        • #5
          The IFSTA manuel, Building Construction
          related to the Fire service. Is an
          excellent resource for your class.
          check it out.



          • #6
            The other guys have covered other ideas pretty well. I on the other hand think that 4 hours is way to long. I can't quote anything but I remember reading about a study stating that 2 hours is class room time for a student is enough because after that they are not abosrbing anything. I know that I could not sit through a class for 4 hours either. My night classes at school are only 2 1/2 hours long with a 15 minute break and still by the last 30 minutes I'm ready to fire my self out the window. I don't care how interesting a topic is I would never be able to sit there for 4 hours. MIght want to try to cut it down a little bit, also you don't want to scare off recruits with 4 hours of NEW MATERIAL.

            Just my thoughts, hope I helped a little without being negative.


            • #7
              I had this subject in fire academy last month.

              We talked about;

              Each of the 5 types of construction in depth.
              Trusses and metal Beams and metal 2X4s
              how fire effects each type of construction and where you would see it.
              The end was fun becasue he got some pictures from local buildings and we tried to identify what type of construction it was and anything we should look for.
              Collapse potential and how you fight a fire in each scenario.

              Hope that helps,
              Our instructor only filled 3 hours

              Piscataway Fire Dist #2
              Possumtown V.F.C.


              • #8
                Two words: Road Trip!

                Take your rooks out for a little "up close and personal" with the types of buildings in the area. It's one thing to look at a screeen w/power point or an IFSTA manual, the lesson takes on an entirely different track when your probies get to see what it's all about in the real world.

                Take them to a strip mall: show them the types of construction used there.

                Take them to any fast food joint: Make them notice the location of the HVAC units.

                Take them to an old neighborhood where the majority of the buildings sill be of balloon frame construction, contrast it with new construction.

                If you have any structure fires lately, contact the property owner and ask for permission to tour the building to see the type of constrcution and how fire affected the structure.

                Good luck!
                ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY


                • #9
                  I knew the forums was the place to come for ideas. Everything that has been said has been great... I don't know why I didn't think of it all. Seriously, thanks for the help.

                  I think we'll go with a field trip to start things off. They were assigned to read the text, so they should be able to talk about Type I, II, III, IV, V and some the properties of each as we tour the city. After that... we'll probably take a r e a l l y long smoke/drink break before covering the Essentials lesson plan and quiz.


                  • #10
                    I hope your class went well. Now is the time to start thinking about the next one. Get a digital camera and take shots of problem areas, new construction, buildings under renovation etc. You will be amazed at what you will learn and how much safer a firefighter you will have become.


                    • #11
                      If you are thinking about building construction and you don't have any idea what kinds of important tools you can use to save your money. Then I can help you, you can use this site https://concalculator.com/mulch-calculator/ here you will get mulch calculator and some more tools. That will be helpful in to save your money or as well as time also.
                      Last edited by Mance1956; 01-06-2020, 09:52 AM.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mance1956 View Post
                        If you are thinking about building construction and you don't have any idea what kinds of important tools you can use to save your money. Then I can help you, you can use this site concalc.org here you will get mulch calculator and some more tools. That will be helpful in to save your money or as well as time also.
                        Fantastic, I always wondered how to calculate mulch


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