Construction Classes for Commercial Buildings
One of the primary goals of underwriting for any property insurance policy is determining the risk of fire. And one of the main considerations in making that determination is assigning the proper construction class. What are the materials? What percentage of the structure consists of each kind of material? How much damage will the building sustain when exposed to fire? Properly identifying the construction class can help the underwriter rate the risk more accurately.
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Mass timber—a type of engineered wood made by affixing many pieces of wood veneers, flakes, or dimension lumber to form larger, stronger pieces—doesn’t fit easily into the insurance industry’s existing construction classes. It challenges the assumption that combustible materials aren’t suitable for tall buildings. Economic and environmental forces are driving mass timber into mainstream use, so it’s important that insurers understand its advantages and risks.
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