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Last edited 10 Feb 2022
 Primary and secondary structural frames
The International Building Code (IBC) determines how structural frames should be protected from fire in a manner that preserves the stability of the building based on their relationship to essential elements of the structure. Regarding regulation for the purposes of required fire resistance, the IBC divides structural frames into two categories: primary (essential to the vertical stability of the building under gravity loads) and secondary (structural members that are not directly connected to columns or supporting gravity loads). Provisions regulating primary structural frame members generally are more restrictive than those regulating secondary members due to the increased loading conditions and lack of redundancy associated with them.
- Structural members having direct connections to the columns, including girders, beams, trusses and spandrels.
- Members of the floor and roof construction having direct connections to the columns. This may include concrete slabs that span horizontally between supports and can sometimes be used as floor and roof systems.
- Members that are essential to the vertical stability of the primary structural frame under gravity loading. This includes bearing walls or sheer walls which are assemblies rather than single components. These can include structural panels that can resist lateral forces (such as wind and seismic loads) that could act on them.
- Structural members not having direct connections to the columns.
- Members of the floor construction and roof construction not having direct connections to the columns.
- Bracing members that are not designated as part of a primary structural frame or bearing wall.
 Primary structures and multi-storey steel construction
- Floor layout. An open floor plan may be desirable in situations where it is necessary to create flexible interior space.
- Cladding systems. The choice of cladding system may include components that are attached to the primary structure of a building to form a non-structural external surface.
- Planning requirements. Height restrictions in an area can influence plans for multi-storey buildings. Site conditions can prevent certain types of foundation systems and their locations.
- Building service integration. Effective integration of services can dictate decisions regarding primary structure design.
The term primary structural systems is also used in reference to Modern Methods of Construction, Introducing the MMC definition framework, published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, which became the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in September 2021. The term is used in relation to the seven defined categories for MMC.
- Cladding for buildings.
- Concept structural design of buildings.
- Off-site prefabrication of buildings: A guide to connection choices.
- Pre-manufacturing components (non-systemised primary structure).
- Structural principles.
- Structural systems for offices
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