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ARI Blog: Article

Why Knowing What Your Building is Made Out of Can Save Restoration Contractors Thousands on their In


During the insurance application process, your insurance agent will typically ask you what type of construction the building you own or lease is made out of. If you own your building, you will naturally know the information off the top of your head. However, if you are leasing, this question can be a little more complicated.


This question is very vital to insuring your restoration company. Depending upon the type of construction of your building, the rates can vary up to 50 percent of the base rate. Also, answering this question incorrectly can cause significant headaches in the event of a claim and potentially result in the insurance carrier denying a claim.


To help out, I want to briefly summarize the various construction types along with a short description of each. This way, when the question comes up on the insurance application, you will know how to answer it correctly.

  1. Frame: Buildings with exterior walls, floors, and roofs of combustible construction (i.e., wood).

  2. Ordinary, Joisted, or Brick Joisted (Joisted Masonry): Building with brick, concrete, concrete block, or exterior stone walls. The roof, floors, supporting joists, beams, and columns are combustible wood construction.

  3. All Steel or Preengineered: Both the roof and walls are constructed of light gauge steel or aluminum sheet metal.

  4. Masonry Noncombustible: Buildings with masonry walls such as brick, hollow concrete block, or concrete. The floors and roof, including their supports, are entirely non-combustible.

  5. Fire Resistant: Buildings designed to withstand the damaging effects of an interior fire for a specified period, typically 2 hours.

The construction types listed above start from the most expensive (frame) and go down to the least costly (fire-resistant). Finding out the construction of the exterior building is typically pretty straightforward; however, if you’re a tenant, it may take some research or help from your landlord to determine what the interior wall and roof construction are.


When your agent is forced to guess, we typically place your building in the frame class code. This means you will pay more premium, but it is the only way we can guarantee that a claim will be paid in the event of a fire when the construction type isn’t known.

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