ARI Blog: Article

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


Your insurance agent will typically ask you what type of construction you own, or lease is made out of during the insurance application process. 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 you some significant headaches in the event of a claim and could potentially result in the insurance carrier denies a claim.


To help out, I want to summarize the various construction types and a short description of each. 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 roof of combustible construction (i.e., wood).

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

  3. All Steel or Pre-engineered: Both the roof and walls are light gauge steel or aluminum sheet metal.

  4. Masonry Noncombustible: Buildings with walls made of masonry materials 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) 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 find out what the interior wall and roof construction is of the building.


When your agent is forced to guess, we will 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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Environment & Restoration Insurance