Home - Civil Engineering - Understanding building construction

Understanding building construction

A construction which also known as building construction is an ancient human activity, now an industry, field, organization etc. it is the techniques that involved the assembly and erection of structures, in an aspect of sheltering.

Building construction is a broad course that involves serious knowledge because it’s one of the basic human need (shelter). This need is also for a controlled environment to moderate the effects of climate as construction serves for decades.

building construction

Having knowledge of the basics of building construction will give guidelines to successfully construction of building projects. There are several steps stages involved in the construction process which are explained below this article.

Read: Different types of wood finishes and finishing products

Today we’ll be looking at the definition, types, planning, and some technical term about building construction.

What is the term building construction?

Building construction is a process or techniques of adding structure to real property. Its primary purpose is used to provide shelter, though there are other purposes. Over the year, building construction is one of the industrial fields that has vastly changed due to the advancement in technology. Most of its process can now be automatically done by machine.

The term construction generally covers repair, maintenance work, expanding, improving, demolition, dismantling or decommissioning.

Well, the majority of building construction projects are small renovations like increasing numbers of room or renovation of other parts. Property owner often acts as paymaster, labourer, or design team of the whole project.

Despite the fact there are different types of building construction, their projects have the same elements in common. Element such as design, financial, and legal considerations. Everyone in this field must be experienced so as achieve a desired positive outcome. Professional really make detailed plans and maintain careful oversight to avoid shortcomings in the project. Some of this problem include structure collapse, excess material, failing to meet the requirement, legal issues, etc.

Basically, there are three sectors of construction which include buildings, infrastructure and industrial. Buildings are further divided into residential and non-residential. The infrastructures are also known as heavy civil or heavy engineering, which include large public works, bridges, dams, highways, railways, etc. Finally, industrial construction includes refineries, chemical processing, power generation, mills, offshore construction etc.

Various types of Building Construction

Below are the common types of building construction:

Non-combustible Buildings:

In the non-combustion types of buildings, roof, columns, floor, partitions etc. are made of non-combustible materials. They provide less fire resistance when compared with the fire resistance type and wouldn’t resist fire from spreading through walls.

Advantages of the type of building construction are that they hardly collapse when exposed to fire.

The term non-combustible is not because the building is resistant to fire, but because of the fuel, the building contributes. The construction type is often used for newer school buildings. Generally, the floor and roof are made with metals and concrete and walls are made masonry or tilt-slab.

Heavy Timber Building Construction:

The heavy timber types of building constructions are made out of solid or laminated wood. They have non-combustible exterior walls and exterior elements. The building easily catches fire making the requirement for large volumes of water to extinguish.

All the wooden members of the building must meet dimensional requirements, like the columns, beams, and girders should be at least 8-inch thick. While heavy planks of 6 inches of minimum thickness should be used for floors and roofs.

Fact about heavy timber building types is that they could resist fire to some limit and won’t collapse easily collapse because of their structural mass. This building is still used for residential purposes in some region.

Ordinary Types of buildings:

The ordinary types of buildings are also called brick-and-joist structures. They are one of the most common and popular buildings that exist due to their ease and cheap construction methods. Bricks or blocks are used for walls, while the roof Is made with wooden material.

However, the building is not protected against fire. That is, most part of the interior structural elements such as frame, floors, ceilings, etc. are combustible. Both vertical and horizontal ventilation is possible in these types of buildings.

Wood-Framed Buildings:

The wood-framed buildings are the most combustible types. Both the interior and exterior material are made of combustible material like the interior structural frames, walls, floors, roofs are made with wood. The building construction type is commonly found in modern homes.

There is a lot of exposed wood, which make it not a resistance of fire but at a reasonable level of resistant to collapse. Unless if a lightweight construction is made.

Join our Newsletter

Fire-Resistive Building:

A fire-resistive building is the number one fire-resistant building when compared with other types. It is more than 75-feet tall which makes it easier to spot. It’s designed to withstand the effect of fire for a long period of time and also prevent a fire from spreading.

This building construction is common for industrial purposes such as factories, warehouse, refineries, etc. Ventilation should not be a primary factor because even the roof is made of non-combustible materials, giving no chance for natural air to penetrate. Fire-resistant buildings are made of poured concrete and protective steel.

Read: Properties and Composition of Pig Iron

Basic steps involved in building construction project

Below are the basic steps that must be carried out in building projects:


The first stage involved in building construction is planning which can also be seen in three major steps. These steps include developing the building plan, analyzing the finance, and selecting the construction team.

Planning must be done by experts in the field to ensure errors is eliminated from the beginning of the project. Building plans are developed based on the owner’s budget and requirement. Sometimes already prepared building layout is selected for a site.

After the preparation of the site plan, the finance and total cost is estimated thereafter. Depending on the structural design details, the material estimation is prepared in order to get the project cost estimate. The cost to be calculated includes material cost, construction cost, labour cost, and miscellaneous cost.

The project is either issue to contractors based on bidding or to a well-known contractor. The contractor and owner must have a solid agreement to the contract based on which the project is implemented.

Permits and insurance of the Site:

After the planning, the next step is the permits and insurance before starting the building construction. The owner must have the necessary permits so construction will not be delayed, demolished, or stopped by the government. Permits and insurance can be obtained from different sources in cities. Contractor and owner are saved when a site has the required permits and insurance.

Site Preparation:

From this stage, the construction process begins. Using the site and building plan, levelling, filling and excavations will be performed to know the next move. In this stage, most of the works needed for utilities are prepared same as the necessary excavation for utilities. These utilities include power, water and sanitation lines as well as temporary storage facilities.

Government officials come to inspect the site at this stage. There are different inspections to be performed on structural, building codes, HVAV, electrical works, utilities etc. then at the final stage of the project, a final inspection occur.

Foundation or Substructure Construction:

As engineers will also say, a good foundation determines the quality of a building project. Foundation is one of the most important aspects of building construction. A concrete foundation is generally accepted for all kinds of building structures. But the soil type and water table level of the area, other types of foundation can be utilized.

Soil testing is sometimes performed to check the bearing capacity, although sometimes it’s not necessary. For low-rise building, shallow foundations are performed. While for high-rise building, pile foundation is used. so, as a structural engineer, understanding the various types of the foundation is necessary.

So soon as the foundation to be employed is known, soil excavation begins to construct the foundation. The construction is made based on the foundation layout. Formworks are used in the foundation trenches and reinforcement is placed depending on the foundation detailing designed in the planning stage. Reinforcement works performed by the contractor is checked by the engineer in charge at regular interval.

Mixed concrete of the required proportion is then poured into the formwork which is cured to form the foundation.

Superstructure Construction:

The next step after the substructure is the superstructure construction. Typically, framed structures are produced which will later be finished with masonry walls. From the site plan, adequate windows and exterior doors are located.

At the stage, the construction of roof or siding, providing waterproofing to the walls, flooring works, installation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning must be considered. Plastering and finishing the walls and surfaces, as well as exterior and interior painting is also worked in this stage.

Punch List:

The punch list contains the list of things that have not being done or areas that are not properly constructed after the completion of the project. The punch list should be inspected by the contractor from the beginning to end one after the other and correction should be made by the contractor in charge.

Warranty Period:

After the succession of the project and it has to be handover to the owner. Warranty period must be specified to the owner by the contractor. Within the given period, any defect found in the constructed building must be fixed and replaced by the contractor in charge. Warranty for materials and appliances are obtained from manufacturers and suppliers.

In conclusion, building construction is an industry, field, hobby that involve various steps for its accomplishment. It is said to be the process of adding structures to real properties. We explained the three sectors of construction which include building, infrastructure and industrial. Buildings are divided into a residential and non-residential building. The heavy engineering is said to be infrastructures while industrial construction includes refineries, chemical processing, power generation, mills, offshore construction etc.

We also examined the various types of building construction and explained the steps and stages a building construction process must undergo for its succession.

That’s all for this article, I hope you enjoyed the reading, if so kindly comment, share and recommend this site to other technical students. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *