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Flashcards in BUILDING SYSTEMS Deck (81)
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Baker House dormitory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, designed by Alvar Aalto, represents which type of organizational scheme?

A. radial

B. linear

C. clustered

D. grid

Baker House Dormitory (1948) has a basically linear orga­ nization, even though it bends and curves along its length. The rooms were organized along a single corridor, with sup­ port spaces on the opposite sides of the corridor. Study                                Note: Be prepared for the occasional historical question about the use of materials or other aspects of architectural design. Questions about notable architects and engineers and their use of materials and construc­ tion methods may also appear on the ARE. The


answer is B.


1.    Selection of an earth sheltered building design can be are presentation of

        A.    cost efficiency

        B.    defensible space

        C.   sustainability

        D.   territoriality

Earth-sheltered buildings represent sustainability primarily because they are energy efficient and use low-cost, plentiful materials as part of their exterior covering.

Study Note: Several questions on the ARE may involve somewhat subjective choices about the environmental and human context of material and building systems selection and detailing as they relate to social, cultural, psychological, and environmental issues.

The answer is C.


  • The honest expression of the nature of brick as a structural material is to utilize it      
  • A.   to support horizontal lintel                              
  • B.   in barrel arches
  • C.   as a fine texture on large, flat walls
  • D.   in modular compositions

Brick is a compressive material with very little tensile or bending strength, so its basic nature would best suit it for use in compression applications, such as arches. Brick is also modular and creates a fine texture in large areas, but the question specifically refers to its use as a structural material.

The answer is B.



  • The Crystal Palace in London was the first building to utilize                                                  
  • A.     steel arches
  • B.     concrete ribbing  
  • C.     large glass panel
  • D.     prefabricated iron parts


Prefabricated iron parts were first used to erect the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851. The use of standard prefabricated parts made it possible for the building to be dismantled and re-erected in a different location.

Although the Crystal Palace also made extensive use of glass, this was not the first use of large glass panels. Steel was not used in construction until later. Concrete ribbing was not used in the superstructure of the Crystal Palace.

The answer is D.


  • The concept of combining architecture with ecology to develop alternate urban habitats with greater density while using solar energy was advocated by.
  • A.  Frank Lloyd Wright
  • B.  Kenzo Tange
  • C.  Le Corbusier
  • D.  Paolo Soleri

Paolo Soleri developed the concept of arcology, or the fusion of architecture with ecology, to develope ecological human "habitats" as an alternative to existing urban development. These habitats depend on population density to eliminate the need for automobiles in the city and are also located close to undeveloped land that can be used for raising food. One of Soleris distinctive structural forms is the half dome, facing south to capture solar energy. His Arcosanti project in Arizona is a living laboratory of his ideas.

The answer is D.


  • What variable is used to measure the rate of heat transfer in any given thickness of material?
  • A.  conductivity
  • B.  coefficient of heat transmission
  • C.  resistance
  • D.  conductance

Conductivity is the amount of conductance for exactly  1"in of material.

Conductance is the amount of heat loss through a material of any thickness.

Resistance is the amount of time it takes a certain amount of heat to pass through a material.

The coefficient of heat transmission is the overall rate of heat flow.

The answer is D.



  •  When selecting a fire extinguisher cabinet,  the most critical design feature is the
  •   A.     projection  distance from the wall
  •   B.     size of the glazing
  •   C.     height of the cabinet enclosure
  •   D.     finish

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) limits the pro­jection  of any construction element to a maximum of 4" in (100) from a wall  when  the  element  is  located  between 27"in (685) and 80" in (2030) above the floor. Because extin­guisher cabinets fall within this range, they  must  be recessed or semi-recessed to meet the 4" in (100) require­ment.

Glazing is not necessarily required, and if it is used there are no requirements for size. The height of the cabinet itself depends on what is installed within it. The type of finish is not critical. For example, painted stainless steel or bronze can be used. However, local jurisdictions may have require­ments for the color and lettering type used for identifica­tion.


Study Note: In addition to meeting the 4" in (100) pro­jection requirement, the height of the cabinet above the floor must also meet the ADA requirement of 48" in (1220) for unobstructed forward and side reach. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines require that the maximum height to the top of a mounted cabinet be no more than 5 ft (1525) above the floor.

The answer is A.


An illustration of stair dimensions is shown.

According to model  codes, which of the indicated stair dimensions is a code violation?

    A.handrail height of 36" in (914)

    B.headroom height of 6' ft 8" in (2032) rise height of 14' ft (4267)

    D.handrail extension of 12" in (305)


The maximum allowable height between landings or floors (rise height) is 12' ft (3658). All of the other dimensions are correct. The height from the nosing to the top of a handrail must be between 34" in (864) and 38 in (965).

Study Note: Know all the required code and accessibility dimensions for ramps and stairs.

The answer is C.


What is the minimum length of the following toilet compartment at the end of a row of stalls, according to ICC/ANSI  117.1 2003? The water closet is floor mounted.

A    90 in (2285)

B.    92 in (2335)

C.    95 in (2415)

D.    96 in (2440)



Section 604.8.2 of  ICOANSI 117.1-2003 states that the minimum clear floor space for a floor-mounted water closet is 60 in (1525) wide by 59 in (1500) long. The minimum space permitted at the door is 36 in (915).

In U.S. units:

59 in + 36 in = 95 in

In SI units:

1500 mm + 915 mm = 2415 mm

The answer is C.



According to model codes, the minimum width of an office exit corridor serving an occupant load of 55 is


A.     36 in (914)

B.     42 in (1067)

C.    44 in (1118)

D.    48 in (1219)


Model codes prescribe a minimum corridor width of 44 in (1118), with various exceptions. Corridors in residential occupancies or those serving an occupant load of 50 or less may be 36 in (914) wide. Other occupancies require wider corridors, but B occupancies (offices) require the 44 in (1118) width.

Study Note: Model codes also require that the minimum width of an exit corridor be calculated by multiplying the occupant load by a factor given in the codes, which varies depending on the occupancy, the interior area of the building, and whether the building is sprinklered. Both requirements must be checked, and the larger of the two should be used. If this calculation results in a number larger than other minimum requirements given in the code (such as for  corridors), then the larger dimension must be used.

The answer is C.


What agency sets requirements for safety glazing in buildings  .                                                    


A.       American Society for Testing and Material

B.     Consumer Product Safety Commission

C.     Glass Association of North America

D.     International Code Council


The Consumer Product Safety Commission originally set requirements for safety glazing, which are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, CPSC 16 CFR 1201.

The answer is B.


According to model codes, interior finish requirements for woodwork are most stringent for:


A. recessed shelving

B. cornice molding 

C.  built-in furniture

D.   wainscoting


Model building codes regulate wainscoting as an interior finish material subject to a Class I, II, or III (A, B, or C) flame-spread rating, depending on occupancy, location in the building, and presence or absence of sprinklers. Since wainscoting could be restricted to a Class I (or A) flame­ spread rating, it is the most stringently regulated item listed.

Generally, codes do not regulate wood when it is used in furniture, shelving, molding, handrails, or other trim. Some codes only limit the flammability of wood trim to a Class C flame spread and limit the amount of trim to no more than 10% of the aggregate wall or ceiling area in which it is located.

The answer is D.


For accessible doors, what is the MINIMUM dimen­sion, in inches (millimeters), of the distance x as indicated in the drawing?                                 


For a front approach to an in-swinging door (pull side), there must be a minimum of 18 in (445) on the latch side of the door. For an out-swinging door (push side), 12 in

(305) are required on the latch side of the door.

Study Note: Know some of the fundamental dimensions required for accessibility, such as turnaround area, toilet room dimensions, maneuvering clearances at doors, and reach heights.

The answer is 18 in (445).



A fire-rated gypsum board partition must always con­sist of.

A.  Type X gypsum board

B.  full-height construction  

C.  attachment according to testing laboratory                     standards

D.  all of the above


Fire-rated partltlons must be constructed according to tested and approved methods that include using Type X gypsum board, the method of attachment to the framing, how the joints are finished, the type and size of studs, and other details. In addition, the fire separation must extend from the slab to the rated slab above, not just to a sus­ pended, finish ceiling.

The answer is D.



What is the building code requirement for pairs of exit doors with astragals?

A.  weather stripping

B.  door stop

C.  coordinator

D.   flush bolts


According to the 2006 International Building Code, Table 715.5.3, no glazing is permitted in a  1h-hour rated door in an exterior wall.

All glazing in fire-rated doors must be either 1/4" in (6.35) wire glass or ceramic glazing. This problem addresses only wire glass. A l1h-hour rated door that is not in an exterior

wall is permitted  to have  100" in2 (645 cm2) of glazing. A

3/4-hour rated door may have 1296" in2 (8362 cm2) of glaz­ ing per leaf. The amount of glazing is not limited in a 20- minute  rated  door.

Ceramic glazing must comply with NFPA 80.


The answer is D.



How much fire protection-rated glazing (wire glass) is permitted in a 11/2-hour rated door in an exterior wall?

A.     100 in2 (645 cm2)

B.     1296 in2 (8362 cm2)

C.     The amount of glazing is not limited.

D.     No glazing is permitted.


According to the 2006 International Building Code, Table 715.5.3, no glazing is permitted in a l 1h-hour rated door in an exterior wall.

All glazing in fire-rated doors must be either 1/4 in (6.35) wire glass or ceramic glazing. This problem addresses only wire glass. A 1h-hour rated door that is not in an exterior

wall is permitted  to have  100 in2 (645 cm2) of glazing. A

3/4-hour rated door may have 1296 in2 (8362 cm2) of glaz­ ing per leaf. The amount of glazing is not limited in a 20- minute  rated  door.

Ceramic glazing must comply with NFPA 80.


The answer is D.


Which  of  the following is NOT a requirement  of

NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers?

A. Fire extinguisher cabinets must have a vision panel or be clearly marked with a sign.

B. Fire extinguishers must be tested regularly and have an approved label.

C. Fire extinguisher cabinets may not protrude into the hallway more than 4 in (102).

D. When fire extinguishers are required, no occu­pant may be more than 75 ft (22.9 m) from a fire extinguisher.


NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers is refer­enced in many codes to provide additional requirements for this type of fire-suppression system. When required, extin­guishers must be clearly marked and visible; located  no more than 75 ft (22.9 m) from each building occupant; properly maintained, tested, and labeled; and readily acces­sible in case of an emergency.

A fire  extinguisher  cabinet  must  not  protrude  more  than 4" in (102) into the hallway, but this is  a  requirement of ADAAG, not NFPA.

The answer is C.



A grocery store parking lot has 100 parking spaces. According to ADAAG, at least accessible spaces must be provided.  (Fill in the blank.)


According to ADAAG, the ratio of accessible parking spaces to total parking spaces is 1:25 up to 200 spaces, with an additional accessible space for each additional 100 parking spaces up to 500. Above 500 spaces, accessible spaces are determined as a percentage of the total parking spaces pro­vided.

Local zoning ordinances or codes may differ from ADAAG's recommendations, so all applicable guidelines should be consulted.

The answer is 4.


What does it mean when a building material is non­ combustible?

A.  It will not ignite and bum when subjected to fire.

B.  It will withstand flame impingement.

C.  It will not readily spread fire once ignited.

D.  It has a minimum 1-hour fire rating.

A noncombustible building material will not ignite and burm when subjected to fire.

The answer is A.


Restrictions on surface finishes in all model codes are based primarily on

A. occupancy and construction type

B. occupant load and location in the building

C. location in the building and occupancy

D. occupancy group and sprinklering



The primary determinants as shown in Table 29.3 (IBC Table 803.5) are the occupancy  group and the location in the building according to exiting  requirements. Having a building with a sprinkler system only modifies the basic requirements and allows the required flame-spread rating to be dropped one class in some instances.

The answer is C.


Construction type refers to the

A. major materials used to construct a building

B. fire-resistance ratings of various building components

C.  maximum area and height of a building

D.    use of a building and fire-protection methods used


The hourly ratings of major building components, such as the structural frame, bearing walls, exterior walls, floor structure, and roof structure, together determine the con­ struction type according to Tables 601 (Table 29.2) and 602 in the IBC.

The answer is B.


  1. What is the minimum clear width for an accessible door?

A.   30 in (760)

B.     32 in (815)

C.   34 in (865)

D.   36 in (915)

The minimum clear width for an accessible door is 32 in (815).

The answer is D.



In surveying an existing corridor to see if it met acces­sibility guidelines, an architect discovers the following two items that are questionable.

A>  small fire-hose cabinet extending 5 in (127) from the wall

B>  1/4 in (6) high threshold below a pair of normally open doors.

Which items must be modified to make the corridor bar­rier-free?

A.  neither (a) nor (b)

B.  (a) but not (b)

C.  (b) but not (a)

D.   both (a) and (b)



No objects greater than 4 in (100) can protrude into an accessible route if the lower edge of the object is greater than 27 in (685) above the floor. It is reasonable to assume that a small fire-hose cabinet would have its lower edge higher than this distance, so it would be limited to a maxi­mum 4" in protrusion. Therefore, item (a) would have to be modified. Any change in level of 1/4 in (6) or less does not require any edge treatment, so item (b) would not have to be modified.

The answer is B.


A soils report has indicated that the water table is 5 ft 0 in (1500) above the basement level of a planned three­ story building. What type of construction technique will most likely be required?

A.  dampproofing

B.   surcharging

C.  waterproofing

D.   waterstopping



Waterproofing is the control of water and moisture that is subject to hydrostatic pressure. It can refer to the applica­tion of watertight membranes, waterstops, or bentonite panels when building below the water table.

Dampproofing is the control of water and moisture when hydrostatic pressure is not present.

Surcharging is the pre­ loading of the ground with fill material to cause consolida­tion and settlement of the underlying soil. Surcharging is used to increase the bearing capacity of soil or to decrease possible settlement, or both.

A waterstop is a preformed piece of material used to seal construction joints. Although waterstops would be used in this situation, they are a sub­set of the larger requirement to waterproof the entire base­ ment slab and a portion of the basement walls.

The answer is C.





A building with a basement is being designed in a wet climate. Which of the following water-control materials and/or methods should the architect recommend for the foundation and basement walls?

I    cementitious  coatings

II   geotextiles

III  French drains

IV  sloping soil away from the building


A. II and III only

B. III and IV only

C.  I, II, and IV only

D.   II, III, and IV only


Geotextiles, French drains, and sloping soil away from the building would all be appropriate means of draining water from a building in a wet climate or where groundwater was present.

Item I is incorrect because cementitious coatings are only used for dampproofing, and if they were used the other three choices would also have to be used.

Study Note: Understand the various types of dampproof­ing and waterproofing. For dampproofing these include admixtures for concrete, bituminous coatings, cementi­tious coatings, membranes, and plastics for dampproof­ing. For waterproofing these include elastomeric membranes, liquid-applied membranes, and bentonite panels.

The answer is D.


26. A deep excavation for a high-rise building in an urban area would require

A.   battered walls

B.   needle beams

C.  steel sheeting

D.   tiebacks


A deep excavation would require the use of vertical soldier beams supporting horizontal timber breast boards or crib­ bing. The vertical soldier beams must be anchored into the adjacent earth with grouted tieback rods. Even steel sheet­ ing would require tiebacks for support.

A battered wall is simply a type of retaining wall using a material, such as stones or brick, slightly angled to support the adjacent earth. It is not appropriate for a deep excava­ tion wall in an urban area where space is limited. Needle beams are used to temporarily support a structure when its foundation is repaired or deepened. Steel sheeting requires the use of rakers that extend into the excavation site, limit­ ing the depth of the excavation and interfering with con­ struction activities in the excavated area.

Study Note: Know the basic terminology of shoring and excavation.

The answer is D.


27.  A soils report indicates that bentonite is present below the site of a proposed two-story manufacturing building. What type of foundation system should be used?

A.   drilled piers with grade beams

B.     raft foundation

C.    caissons with pile caps

D.   extended spread footings


Bentonite is an expansive type of clay that can push founda­tions and floor slabs upward when it gets wet. To prevent this, drilled piers are used to support the building weight on bedrock or stable soil below the bentonite. Grade beams span continuously between the piers and transmit building loads from the superstructure to the piers. Voids are left below the grade beams to allow the bentonite to expand without transmitting uplift forces.

A raft foundation is used to distribute a building load over a large area of low-bearing capacity soil. Caissons with pile caps are used to distribute a load from one column to two or more caissons or piers and would only be appropriate if there was a void below the pile cap. Spread footings placed on bentonite would be subject to the uplift of the swelling clay soil and would not be appropriate.

The answer is A.


Which of the following pedestrian  walk materials provides the best positive grade-level drainage away from a building?

A. asphaltic concrete

B. brick pavers

C.  cobblestones

D.  concrete


A safe pedestrian walk should not have a slope exceeding ¼ in/ft (20 mm/m) perpendicular to the direction of travel. This allows for drainage without creating a danger­ous cross slope. Of the materials listed, concrete could be finished to provide a continuous, uniform slope for drainage in conjunction with a smooth walking surface.

Asphalt could be used, but it is more difficult to smooth uniformly at such a low slope. Minor dips and surface irreg­ularities in the asphalt might cause ponding of water against or toward the building. Both brick pavers and cobblestone would allow water to seep into the joints near the building.

The answer is D.


For a large building being planned with a two-level basement used for meeting rooms, which of these water­ related soil problems would be the most important to solve?

A. uplift pressure on the lowest slab

B. moisture penetration caused by hydrostatic pressure

C. deterioration of foundation insulation

D. reduced load-carrying capacity of the soil



All of the answer choices listed would need to be addressed, but because the question asks which is most important, a judgment call is required. Choice D is unlikely because a large building would probably utilize piers or caissons for the foundation, so the load-carrying capacity of the soil would not be as critical. Foundation insulation could be easily selected to avoid deterioration problems, so choice C is an unlikely answer. Of the two remaining answers, hydrostatic pressure could cause the most problems, so this is the primary problem to be solved.

The answer is B.



If a soil is analyzed as being primarily silty, how should it be characterized?

A. very fine material of organic matter

B. rigid particles with moderately high bearing capacity

C.  particles with some cohesion and plasticity in their behavior

D.  smaller particles with occasional plastic behav­ior



Choice A describes organic material, choice B describes gravels, and choice C describes clays.

The answer is D.