When designing restaurants, stores, and low-rise offices, certain features come to mind as typical. These buildings tend to have large openings that allow plenty of daylight. Many have high ceilings and (by extension) tall walls, open floor plans, and the ability to reconfigure the interior as tenant needs change.

Diamond Foods Innovation Center | ZGF Architects | Photo: Eckert & Eckert Photography

Photo: Eckert & Eckert

They often include irregular shapes, such as architectural features that make a chain restaurant instantly recognizable in a row of strip mall stores. Many also have flat roofs and parapets that hide rooftop mechanical units.

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain how wood-frame systems can be used to achieve design objectives commonly associated with commercial structures, such as tall walls, flat roofs, parapets, and open-front floor plans.
  2. Identify cost savings associated with Construction Types III and V compared to Types I and II, per the International Code Council’s Building Valuation Data.
  3. Discuss opportunities for achieving unlimited area for wood-frame commercial buildings under the International Building Code and implications of multi-tenant occupancies.
  4. Review applications of wood-frame construction in low-rise commercial buildings, with an emphasis on restaurant, retail, and office occupancies.

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