We drive pass them every day. You know, buildings, homes, sheds, barns, garages, and such. Most folks probably don't think about how they are constructed or what construction type they use. On the other hand, if you're like memyou do and there are 6 construction types you should know.
That's why the folks at GCLG offers you this information on how structures are built. I'm sure that you can figure out the difference between wood framed construction and light gauge steel framed construction, but are you familiar with joisted or load masonry and concrete frame methods?
If not, you'll have learn about them, and others, after you read this article. So, grab your favorite beverage, get comfy, and get ready to have a clearer understanding of these 6 construction types. Let's get started.
How is the construction type determined?
When it comes to designing a structure, the construction type is chosen based upon a number of things, such:
Purpose of the structure - Let's say that you want to build a detached garage to house extra an extra vehicle, a boat, and lawn equipment. In designing it you wouldn't need a structure that's going to support multiple floors, although you could include a room upstairs, so heavy construction methods won't be needed.
Size of the structure - When building something larger than a garage or a house, say a grocery store or car dealer showroom, then a heavier construction type would be the choice. We're talking open floor spaces without columns or inner walls and long spans of metal truss supported roofing.
Load bearing constraints - As buildings grow in height the loads that the structure must bear increase. With that the construction type must be strong enough to handle these loads. In this case, wood is probably not going to be the best choice when it comes to a structure with numerous floor levels.
Environmental Factors - If you've ever driven along a coast line you've probably seen that the buildings are elevated, to shelter the structure from tidal surges. Buildings in earth quake prone areas also require that the appropriate construction type be used. Too stiff a structure and it cannot flex during the tremors.
Necessary Speed of Construction - If your building needs to be put up rapidly, there are construction types that can speed up the building process. These construction methods utilize pre-engineered methods, allowing for major parts to be dropped of at the construction site and quickly erected.
Cost of Materials - Of course, cost of materials comes into play when choosing a construction type. There's no need to spend money on an over built structure.
The 6 main classifications for all construction types
Now that we've looked at the elements to consider when choosing a construction type, let's look at 6 building construction types that are commonly used:
Light Gauge Steel Frame
Joisted or Load Bearing Masonry
Wood frame construction is probably the oldest and most widely used type of construction in the world. Years ago man learned that wood was a natural medium to work with. It is plentiful, easy to work, renewable, and the cost is usually well within reach of almost everybody.
Structures are built from standard lumber or timbers, which make up the studs, plates, joists, and rafters. Each piece can usually be carried by hand and are easily cut and framed on site. Interior walls are easily sheathed with drywall, paneling, or other materials.
With that most residential construction has and still is done with wood, but with a major change in how building exteriors are finished out. In the earliest years wood was also used on the exterior walls and roofs.
Wood shingles have almost completely been replaced by non-flammable materials, such as composite shingles, tile, and metal panels. Exterior walls are commonly covered with brick, stone, and non-wood siding. Such materials are more fire resistant and hold up to the elements better than wood.
Light Gauge Steel Construction
Light gauge steel construction is similar to wood frame construction in that studs, plates, joists, and rafters are also used in building structures. As you would assume from the heading, these are made from light gauge steel, instead of wood. The steel members most commonly come in a c-shaped cross section, although s-shaped cross sections are available.
Heavier material is used in structural pieces than in non-load bearing members. The materials are protected by a galvanized coating. Like wood construction techniques, light gauge steel construction allows for the ease in carrying materials, as well as cutting and erecting on sight.
Where as wood construction usually utilizes saws and nails, light gauge steel construction utilizes metal cutting tools and screw guns.
Light gauge steel construction is commonly used in in commercial buildings. Although light gauge steel construction is not as common as wood frame construction in residential work, it is gaining popularity.
Joisted or Load Bearing Masonry Construction
Joisted or load bearing masonry construct involves utilizing concrete blocks or bricks to build the load bearing walls. This technique provides for a very heavy structure, which is definitely not good in earthquake prone areas. This type of structure is so rigid that it cannot flex during tremors and many deaths have been associated with this type of construction where earthquakes have happened.
Although this type of construction is not regularly used in residential construction, I personally know an older couple who built their house with this method. The hand formed the concrete blocks that they built the walls with. Luckily, they don't live in an earthquake prone area.
In this method of construction, the load bearing walls are made of brick or formed blocks. The floors and ceilings are constructed with wooden joists, thus the Joisted Masonry term. This technique is labor intensive, as each brick or block has to be hand set. It's definitely not common in residential construction, although it is still used in commercial buildings.
Steel Frame Construction
Steel frame construction is used primarily in large buildings. The structure is built from steel columns and steel trusses to support floors and roofs. High rise buildings are commonly built using this method, as it's easy to transport materials up using cranes and the components are quickly bolted or welded together.
Steel is readily available and construction members are standard, having been extensively engineered for standard column loads and spans. The main structure is built using heavy steel and the non-support structure is usually made from light gauge steel components.
Steel is flexible, which is positive in earthquake prone areas, or in areas of high wind. Steel can flex quite a bit without taking on permanent deformation, making it a great material for constructing tall buildings, bridges, and such.
Concrete Frame Construction
Where as other methods use wood or steel for the framing, concrete frame construction uses reinforced concrete columns, concrete beams, and concrete slabs to build the support structure. This construction type is often used in high rise buildings, parking garages, and elevated roadways.
Reinforced concrete has been engineered for years, allowing for its ready use in construction. On the other hand, it is labor intensive if the components have to be cast on site. The roadway system uses numerous precast beams, but still requires that columns and slabs be cast on site.
In building construction most all components are cast on site, thus the construction time is not fast due to the curing time of the components. Concrete frame construction does not hold up well to earthquakes, although it does weather wind effect and weather well, over time.
If you're interested in a quick way to but a structure up you might want to consider a pre-engineered building as I did when I built my shop. I worked with the supplier to design a three-door building that was 30 by 40 feet. I wanted it to go up quickly and be strong, and it was, and is.
The best thing about pre-engineered buildings is how quickly they go up. All the parts are ready to be bolted and screwed together. This construction type is not limited to shops, garages, sheds, hangers, and such. Nope, you can design a pre-engineered house, if that will fit your needs.
All you have to do is get with a company, tell them what you want and the engineers will design the structure. Then you order the kit, pay for it, have it delivered, and have somebody erect it.
I have two metal buildings at my place, one is self-designed and erected, and the second is pre-engineered. Which one went up the quickest? Yep, you're right, the pre-engineered shop.
If you've read the full article you know have a good knowledge of these 6 construction types. All are good, depending upon the conditions and needs.
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