Developers and building code officials commonly have believed that 2-hour noncombustible separations cost too much for low-rise multifamily residential buildings. Masonry buildings do cost more to build than frame buildings. But if life-cycle costs are considered, lower fire insurance rates will more than compensate for any higher construction cost. Five different cost studies show this to be true. Each study compares the effects wood-frame and 2-hour noncombustible separations have on property insurance rates and life-cycle costs. Although the five studies aren't the same, each concludes that 2-hour noncombustible separations create the lowest life-cycle cost and the largest profit on investment. Each study compares two low-rise apartment buildings of the same size and shape. One is wood frame with 1-hour-rated wall and floor separations; the other has 2-hour-rated masonry wall and concrete floor separations.