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New Video Highlights Dangers of Light-Framed Combustible Construction

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NRMCA and Build With Strength just released a new video illustrating how and why unsafe, light-framed, combustible construction became such a dangerous issue facing our communities. If you find yourself asking, “If these buildings are so dangerous, why are they permitted?” you aren’t alone. Thanks to changes made to the International Building Code since 2000 (and in subsequent editions), most states allow buildings to be constructed with five wood-framed stories on top of a concrete podium. The thought was that by building atop non-combustible concrete, these fires could be limited and/or mitigated. Yet regardless of the presence of a concrete podium, over the last several weeks and months there have been a number of large, devastating wood-frame apartment complex fires. In fact, there have been dozens over the last few years.

As a result, many communities throughout the country have said enough is enough. It’s not just big cities like New York City and Chicago which have high-density populations and a history of devastating fires. Small towns like Sandy Springs, GA, have also taken proactive steps to preemptively ban the use of combustible materials, such as wood, from certain structures. Wood-frame buildings, built by convenience and affordability, risk the lives they were meant to serve. They are an inherent danger to the community and threaten the well-being of not only tenants and visitors, but the fire service professionals whose job it is to combat these fires as well.

Through the Build with Strength initiative, NRMCA has resources to help members and state affiliates advocate for resilient and safer construction, including model legislation, talking points, public relations and other key strategies. To learn more about how NRMCA can assist in state advocacy, please contact Vice President, State and Local Government Affairs, John Loyer at 703-675-7603 or


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