For many younger renters, urban living is about the lifestyle-proximity to work, to the restaurants they love, to the hearts of their cities. Avalon Bay partnered with national architectural firm KTGY to create a community designed with these urban socials in mind: AVA in Washington, D.C.
In order to create affordable living space for these renters, they needed to keep construction costs manageable. Together, the companies selected LP® FlameBlock® Fire-Rated OSB Sheathing to meet Type III wood frame construction code requirements and found a way to help limit construction costs.
"This is a completely new brand that Avalon Bay has created by focusing on these young, urban social renters. Our unit plans, amenities and building design were created with this audience and their preferences for renting in mind," said Rohit Anand, principal architect for KTGY.
Anand explained that keeping rent affordable is a primary goal when appealing to this audience. By incorporating value-added products like LP FlameBlock Fire-Rated OSB Sheathing, Avalon Bay can cut a step out of the construction process, thereby reducing construction costs.
“LP FlameBlock combines the flame rating we need with the structural performance of OSB,” said Rick Morris, the senior vice president for Avalon Bay.
Anand echoed Morris's sentiment: "In Type III construction, you need to meet fire ratings and lateral bracing requirements. FlameBlock is a composite product that really takes care of both needs in one application step."
Created by applying a proprietary non- combustible, fiberglass-reinforced Pyrotite® treatment to LP OSB panels, LP FlameBlock Sheathing is a PS2-rated structural sheathing with a Class A Flame Spread Rating. The product is code- compliant when used in the exterior walls of Type III construction with a two- hour fire rating or less, as well as other one-hour and two-hour wall assemblies and fire-rated roof decks.
"We have one of the largest development platforms and continue to do more high density wood construction in infill locations," Morris said. "We're building five- story to six-story buildings. FlameBlock helps us go high and provide more density. We don't have to go to concrete or some of the other materials that are more costly and challenging to work with. FlameBlock is a product that really fills a need that was present in the marketplace."
Because LP FlameBlock panels are installed with the same tools and fasteners used for installation of other structural sheathing panels, Morris said his carpenters who are familiar with wood construction have not experienced any issues when installing the product.
Morris also explained that in certain siding applications, LP FlameBlock Sheathing seems to provide better attachment detail. This is because the proven fastener-holding ability of LP FlameBlock Sheathing can simplify installation of exterior facing materials, potentially saving additional labor and time.
"I think that with Type III construction becoming more and more prevalent, a product like LP FlameBlock will be used a lot more. It makes construction easier," Anand said.
Because LP FlameBlock Sheathing is able to offer a fire rating as well as structural integrity in a single panel, both KTGY and Avalon Bay plan to continue using the product on future projects.