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Cold-Formed Steel vs. Wood Frame Construction

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Recently, a major fire raced through the AvalonBay at Edgewater apartment community in New Jersey, destroying several hundred units and displacing the residents of the luxury development in the middle of winter.

As dramatic as this enormous fire was, it was by no means a singular event. In fact, even as you read this article, firefighters somewhere may be responding to yet another huge apartment blaze. The reason: The proliferation of wood-framed construction in mid-rise buildings.

One need only look at the record. In the first few months of 2014, for example, fire disasters fueled by wood framing destroyed a four-story apartment community under construction in Salt Lake City; the five-story, 396-unit Axis Apartments building in Houston; and the 300-unit Gables Upper Rock apartment community under construction in Rockville, Md. Similar events occurred throughout the year, culminating in December with one of the most spectacular mid-rise blazes of 2014 when the five-story, 526-unit DaVinci Apartment Complex under construction in Los Angeles burned to the ground.

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