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Old Jul 1, 2013, 09:11 PM   #1
determined09
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Apartments or Townhouse with firewalls

Hello I was wondering how can I go about finding out if an apartment or a townhouse that I wish to live in has firewalls? I live in the HOuston area. Should I call the local fire department ? Is there a website will you can research apartments or town homes?


Thank you,
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 10:15 PM   #2
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You may want to try an apartment locator. They don't charge you and they are usually very knowledgable.
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 10:21 PM   #3
Tomorrow
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The age of the building might give you the best idea, but in reality firewalls have been required by building codes for a LONG time.

You would probably have better luck - and certainly better protection - looking for an apartment or townhouse with a fire suppression (sprinkler) system.
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 10:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomorrow View Post
The age of the building might give you the best idea, but in reality firewalls have been required by building codes for a LONG time.
I don't have the details, but apparently some states have allowed for very cheap and non-fire resistant apartment buildings within the last 5-10 years.

Let me check on this more, but there have been a spate of fairly large complex building burning to the ground due to this cheap construction - or at least that's what I remember from the stories.
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 11:05 AM   #5
snberk103
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Either find a friend with good construction experience, or pay an inspector. They will know what to look for when they look at a wall. It will be things like how thick it is, what is behind the electrical boxes, etc etc.
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 12:27 PM   #6
jdechko
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Additionally, depending on local building codes you may be able to simply look at the building. If you see a wall extending up past the roof, it's almost certainly a firewall (keeps the flames from spreading up and over).

Fire suppression systems (sprinklers) are all well and good, but they come with their own set of problems (like the possibility of a pipe bursting in the unit above yours and flooding your place).
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 01:08 PM   #7
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Let me check on this more, but there have been a spate of fairly large complex building burning to the ground due to this cheap construction - or at least that's what I remember from the stories.
Firewalls are not intended to keep a building from burning to the ground, despite their name. The purpose, as outlined in the various building codes (most commonly IBC), is to offer occupants enough time to safely evacuate in the event of a fire. In this case, the walls need to have a 2-hour rating, which is two layers of sheet rock on either side of the wall.

Firewalls have been required by building codes for decades. There's a very good chance any modern apartment building has them.
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