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RE: Building separation

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The space between the firewalls often needs to be greater than 1" to allow for expansion of the structure under fire before it collapses. This space for expansion is to prevent damage to the adjacent firewall and structure. IBC does not give any guidance regarding this and other issues. Refer to FM, NFPA 221 and NCMA for tables to help determine the required gap.
The space also has to be determined to prevent seismic pounding.
Use the large of the two values. 
I hope this helps!
Jim K.
-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin Below [mailto:kevinbelow(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2006 5:31 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Building separation

We recently discussed the question of firewalls and fusible links, etc..  One possible solution is a double wall, with two walls of concrete blocks, each one attached and supported laterally by the building on its side of the wall.  The separation between these walls is typically about 1 inch.
But what about separation for seismic movement ?  For a 4 storey building, this could easily be a few inches, couldn't it ?  (I haven't calculated it yet.  We are at the preliminary stage.)
Do I have to tell my architect that he may need to put a space of several inches between the walls ?.    He already finds the total wall thickness of 13 inches (2 x 6" block walls plus 1") big enough, and he will have to increase building length to accommodate that.
Kevin Below 


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