Introduction To Building Construction

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Man Requires different types of building: houses, bungalows & flats for living; hospitals & health centers for health; schools; colleges & universities for education; banks, shops, offices, buildings & factories for doing work; railway buildings, bus stations & air terminals for transportation; clubs, theaters & cinema houses for recreation; and temples, mosques, churches, dharmshalas etc. for worship. The above building activities are an important indicator of the country’s social progress.

The first hut with bamboos & leaves can be taken as the first civil engineering construction carried out to satisfy the needs of the shelter. Before that, caves were his early abode. India still has many old cave temples with halls & rooms having beautiful carvings. Egyptians constructed huge pyramids. The Greeks developed a style of proportions of building elements; these proportions are known as the orders of Architecture. Romans developed arches for vaults and domes. They used pozzolona, sand, mortar, plaster & concrete. During the Gothic period of architecture (1100-1500 A.D.) churches with pointed arches & the ribs supporting masonry vaults were constructed. The arches ribs were supported by stone pillars, strengthened by buttresses. These structures led to the idea of framed structures.

The period from 1750 A.D. onwards is known as the period of Modern Architecture. Functional structural components such as columns, beams, chajjas, canopies, RCC slabs become popular due to speed in construction. The main considerations in the architectural design of the building for all purposes are as follows:

  • Climate & its effect,
  • People & their requirements,
  • Materials for construction & method of construction, and
  • Regulations & Bye-laws of sanctioning authority.
Tents, shamianas & tarpaulin shelters are not considered as a building.

Classification of Building

According to the National Building Code of India (SP: 7-1970), buildings are classified, based on occupancy, as follows:
  1. Group A: Residential Buildings
  2. Group B: Educational Buildings
  3. Group C: Institutional Buildings
  4. Group D: Assembly Buildings
  5. Group E: Business Buildings
  6. Group F: Mercantile Buildings
  7. Group G: Industrial Buildings
  8. Group H: Storage Buildings
  9. Group I: Hazardous Buildings

1. Group A: Residential Buildings

These are those building in which sleeping accommodation is provided for normal residential purposes, with or without cooking or dining or both facilities, except any building classified under category C.

(i) A1: Lodging or Rooming Houses

Building or group of building under the same management, where separate sleeping accommodation for a total of not more than 15 persons, on either transient or permanent basis with or without dining facilities, but without cooking facilities for individuals.

(ii) A2: One or Two family private Dwellings

The private dwelling of a single family & has total sleeping accommodation for not more than 20 persons.
If rooms are rented to outsiders, there should be for accommodating not more than 3 persons.
If sleeping accommodation for more than 20 persons, it should be classified under subdivision A3 or A4.

(iii) A3: Dormitories

These include any building in which group sleeping accommodation is provided, with or without dining facilities, in one room or series of closely associated rooms under joint occupancy & single management.
E.g. School, College dormitories, students & other hostels, military barracks etc.

(iv) A4: Apartment Houses (Flats)

These include any building or structure in which living quarters are provided for three or more families living independently of each other & with independent cooking facilities.
E.g. Apartment Houses, Mansions, Chawls etc.

(v) A5: Hotels

These include any building or group of buildings under single management in which sleeping accommodation, with or without dining facilities for more than 15 persons who are primarily transient.
E.g. Hotels, Inns, Clubs, Motels etc.

2. Group B: Educational Buildings

These include any building used for school, college or day-care purposes for more than 8 hours per week involving assembly for instruction, education or recreation & not covered by D.

3. Group C: Institutional Buildings

Which is used for medical or other treatment or care of persons suffering from physical or mental illness, disease or infirmity; care of infants, convalescents or aged persons and penal or correctional detention in which the inmates is restricted.

(i) C1: Hospitals & Sanitaria

Examples are hospitals, infirmaries, sanitaria, clinics, nursing homes etc.

(ii) C2: Custodial Institutions

Examples are homes for the aged & infirm, convalescent homes, orphanages etc.

(iii) C3: Penal Institutions

Examples are jails, prisons, mental hospitals, mental sanitaria, reformatories etc.

4. Group D: Assembly Buildings

Where a group of people gathers for amusement, recreation, social, religious, patriotic, civil, travel & similar purpose, E.g. Theatre, motion picture houses, assembly halls, auditorium, Exhibition halls, museum, skating, rinks, gymnasiums, restaurants, places of workshop, dance halls, club rooms, passenger stations, terminals of air, surface & marine public transportation service etc.
(i) D1: For theatrical or operatic performances & exhibitions and which has a raised stage, proscenium curtain, fixed or portable scenery or scenery loft, lights, motion picture booth, mechanical appliances or other theatrical accessories & equipment for more than 1000 persons.
(ii) D2: Same as D1 but less than 1000 persons.
(iii) D3: Any building, its lobbies, rooms & other spaces connected thereto, primary intended for assembly of people, but which has no theatrical stage and/or cinematographic accessories for more than 300 persons. E.g. dance halls, night clubs, halls for incidental picture shows, dramatic, theatrical or educational presentation; lectures or other similar purposes, having no theatrical stage except a raised platform and used without permanent seating arrangement; art galleries; museums; lecture halls; libraries; passenger terminals and building used for educational purposes for less than 8hours per week.
(iv) D4: Same as D3 but less than 300 persons.
(v) D5: All other structures designed for outdoor assembly & not covered by D1 to D4. Examples are Grand stands, stadia, amusement park structures, reviewing stands & circus tents.
(vi) D6: Buildings having mixed occupancy providing facilities such as shopping, cinema halls & restaurants.
(vii) D7: All other building structures elevated or underground for assembly of people not covered under D1 to D6.

5. Group E: Business Buildings

These include any building or part of a building, which is used for transaction of business (not covered by F); for the keeping of accounts & records & similar purposes; doctor’s &dentists ,(unless covered by C); service facilities such as new stands, lunch counters serving less than 100 persons, barber shops & beauty parlours.
City halls, town halls, court-houses & libraries should be classified in this group in so far as the principal function of these is a transaction of public business and the keeping of books & records.

6. Group F: Mercantile Buildings

These include any building or part of a building, which is used as shops, stores, markets for display and sale of merchandise, either wholesale or retail.
Office, storage & service facilities incidental to the sale of merchandise and located in the same building should be included under this group.

7. Group G: Industrial Buildings

These include any building or part of a building or structure in which products or materials of all kinds & properties are fabricated, assembled or processed. E.g. assembly plants, laboratories, dry cleaning plants, power plants, pumping stations, smoke-houses, gas plants, refineries, dairies, and saw-mills.

8. Group H: Storage Buildings

These include any building or part of a building, used primarily for the storage or sheltering (including servicing, processing or repairs incidental to storage) of goods, wares or merchandise (except those that involve highly combustible or explosive products or materials), vehicles or animals. E.g.- wire-houses, cold storages, freight depots, transit sheds, store-houses, truck & marine terminals, garages, hangers (other than aircraft repair hangers), grain elevators, barns & stables.

9. Group I: Hazardous Buildings

These include any building or part of a building, which is used for the storage, handling, manufacture or processing of highly combustible or explosive materials or product which are liable to burn with extreme rapidly and/or which produce poisonous fumes or explosions, for storage, handling, manufacturing or processing which involves highly corrosive, toxic or noxious alkaline, acids or other liquids or chemicals producing flame, fumes & explosive, poisonous, irritating or corrosive gases, and for the storage, handling or processing of any material producing explosive mixtures of dust or which result in division of matter into fine particles subject to spontaneous ignition. Examples of buildings in this class are those building which is used for:
(i) Storage under pr. Of more than 0.1 N/mm2& in quantities exceeding 70m3 of acetylene, hydrogen, illuminating & natural gases, ammonia, chlorine, phosgene, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, methyl oxide & all gases subjected to an explosion, fume or toxic hazard;
(ii) Storage & handling of highly flammable or explosive materials other than liquids;
(iii) Storage & handling of hazardous & highly flammable or explosive materials other than liquids; and
(iv) Manufacture of artificial flowers, synthetic leather, ammunition, explosives &fireworks.

Components of a Building

  1. Substructure or Foundation
  2. Superstructure
Foundation is the lower portion of a building, usually located below ground level, which transmits loads of the superstructure to the supporting soil. It is in direct contact with the ground to which loads are transmitted.
The superstructure is above ground level and serves the purpose of its intended use. Apart from this, located between the ground level & the floor level is known as the plinth.
The plinth is defined as the portion of the structure between the surface of the surrounding ground & surface of the floor, immediately above the ground. The level of the floor is usually known as the plinth level. The built-up covered area measured at the floor level is known as the plinth area.

A Building has the following components:

  1. Foundations
  2. Masonry units: walls & columns
  3. Floor structures
  4. Roof structures
  5. Doors, windows & other openings
  6. Vertical transportation structures like stairs, lifts, ramps etc.
  7. Building finishes:
  8. Plastering
  9. Pointing
  10. Painting
  11. Varnishing& polishing
  12. White washing
  13. Distempering
  14. Colour washing or colouring
N.B. – Pointing is the process of finishing of mortar joint in brick or stone masonry.
I will discuss the components of the building in another post, comment below if you want to see it.

I hope this article will help you. You may also want to see my other post from my blog.  If I have missed anything here, please let me know about that in the comment below this post.

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