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Construction Materials and Building Codes

During the construction of buildings for instance the story buildings, different building techniques are used. One of the techniques is the framing system technique. The framing system is placed on other structural components/ members or studs, which helps to provide a framework that is stable and also on to which the exterior and interior covering of the wall is fixed. The main framing systems commonly used are the balloon framing system and platform framing system (Spence 140).

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The balloon framing system which was commonly used in the 19th century and early 20th century, is constructed in a way that the studs which are in the wall bearing, uninterruptedly run-up to the roof plate from the soleplate. The balloon framing system also has floor beams that are attached to the studs by nailing. In the platform framing system commonly used nowadays, the studs do not run up to the other floors but only a story high, whereas the joists for each of the stories are placed on the top plates of the below story or the soleplate of the first story. The partitions and the bearing walls rest on each story at the subfloor i.e. the finished floor of each floor of the story building that is being constructed (Allen and Lano 23).

The major difference between platform the framing system and balloon framing system is the way in which the lines of the floor are presented in each of the system. For instance, in the balloon framing system, the studs are made in a way that they are lengthen from the ridge of the primary floor of the buildings up to the top plate of the subsequent floor that follows (the second floor). On the other hand, in the platform framing system, the framed wall of the platform is complete right away for each floor.

The advantages of the balloon framing system are; the balloon framing allows for construction to be done in ease, the materials are used economically, it stabilizes a wall that is tall and it is also useful in a situation where the horizontal structures are not at the top plate level as well as where the forces especially lateral forces are very extreme. The disadvantages of the balloon framing includes; it can allow fire to travel from on floor to another, there is lack of a platform or floor to work while working on the other floor, there is a need for a framing member that is long and the buildings which can lead to high cost of heating as there are no insulations in a balloon framed building.

The advantages of the platform framing system includes; use of pieces of lumber that are short, there is a platform or a floor surface that is solid where the carpenter can work on, the building is always durable and of high structural integrity and also the availability of hollow spaces makes the fire to stop at each floor or level thus not traveling into other floors. The disadvantage of the platform framing is the vertical shrinkage that is caused by the drying up of the thick layer of timber used to make the floor (Jefferis and Madsen 499).

Platform framing system is commonly used in the building industry because the building that is made using this method is always durable and have high structural integrity as well as providing the carpenter with a solid floor to work on compared to the balloon system which does not have a working platform. Also in case of fire outbreak, the fire cannot travel from one floor to another due to the availability of a hollow space on each floor that allows the fire to stop at that floor thus not spreading to other floors.


Allen, Edward & Lano, Joseph. Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods (5th ed.). New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc, 2009.

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Jefferis, Allan & Madsen, David. Architectural Drafting and Design (5th ed.) Clifton Park New York: Cengage Learning, 2004.

Spence, William Perkins. Carpentry and Building Construction: A Do It Yourself Guide. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 1999.

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