You may not even notice they are there, as they as often used in the foundation of high-rise commercial buildings, but concrete blocks, have been a staple in the commercial construction industry for many decades. There are several reasons why concrete blocks have been used for commercial buildings for so long, and why they are still used today.

When it comes to carrying the weight of a sky-scraping building, concrete blocks are more than just durable. They also check off some boxes as they relate to safety. Unlike the exterior stone Calgary work that we do, concrete blocks are a structural material.

Fire Protection

Concrete blocks offer two excellent advantages when it comes to fire prevention and containment in a tall commercial building. First, concrete blocks are non-combustible, so they provide an excellent fire-stop should the need arise. Plus, this building material offers a high degree of fire resistance to help keep fires from starting in the first place.

Fire Spread Protection

To better understand how concrete blocks can help stop the spread of fire, we must take a deeper look at how it is used in a commercial building.

Limiting the spread of fire starts in the construction planning phase of development where decisions on which materials will be useful for lining the walls and ceilings of the building to allow for stronger construction. But linings tend to be lacking in terms of fire stopgap measures, leaving building occupants looking for an escape route during a fire.

To alleviate this problem, concrete blocks can serve as both a point of strength and allow for circulation, as well as a safe escape route.

At the same time, concrete blocks work perfectly to limit the spread of fire through the use of external walls, protected shafts, and fire enclosures.

While under fire, a 100mm thick concrete block wall can offer at least 120 minutes of fire resistance. With stability standards requiring walls greater than 100mm, that fire resistance time increases for greater protection.

Where external walls and roofing of the commercial building are concerned, concrete blacks provide the same level of fire resistance to contain the fire within and keep it from spreading.

Air-Tight Construction

Air permeability levels serve to dampen fires through a lack of oxygen. But in a large commercial building, it is important for the efficiency of the overall building performance to limit air leaks. Concrete blocks can create an airtight construction that conserves energy throughout the building. Plus, when a protective coating is applied to the surface of the wall, like a basic emulsion paint, it can enhance performance to maintain a greater air-tight construction.

There is no denying that concrete blocks have served more than one purpose when used in commercial building construction, which is why they have had such great longevity as a commercial building material. So although they are usually not noticed when passing by a tall commercial structure, you can be certain they are doing their job of maintaining strength and offering safety features that most other building materials cannot.