Building Elements

Edited by Chameleon, SarMal, Sharingknowledge, Jen Moreau

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A building is a closed space built for the purpose of shelter and dwelling and can be made of steel, concrete, wood, masonry or clay mud. Buildings serve residential, commercial and industrial purposes. In order to properly serve as a shelter, buildings are designed to be robust enough to resist wind forces, earthquakes, snow and rain, floods and other natural calamities. Each material used to construct buildings is designed to support the building as a whole and provide shelter and other benefits to its occupants.

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Slab

A slab is a technical term used for the floor. The number of slabs required is dependent on the number of stories in a building. Slabs are designed to be as thin as possible and cover maximum surface area. Slabs are usually made of concrete, concrete filled metal deck, wood, galvanized iron sheets or panels and often finished with tiles or screed for both protection and aesthetic value. A slab transferring weight in one direction is called a one way slab, while a slab transferring weight in two directions is called a two-way slab.

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Beam/ Post

A beam carries the weight transfer from the slab. Beams support and frame the slabs so that the slabs won't deflect. Most beams do not resist axial forces. Wooden beams are often referred as posts. The size of the beam depends on gravity and lateral loadings. Concrete beams are usually of the rectangular cross section while the most effective steel beam section is wide flange beam. Connections and detailing of beams decide its continuity.

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Column

The technical name for a pillar is a column. Columns are used to carry all the weight of a structure and transmit it to the foundation. Columns are slender and designed to resist axial forces. Columns are designed to have more stiffness than beam and resist all gravity and lateral weight. A typical cross section of a concrete column is square, rectangle and circular. A wide flange section and hollow steel section are standard steel column sections. Steel columns are also encased in concrete to give additional strength and aesthetics. Architectural columns may also be used in buildings for purely aesthetic reasons. Columns are most prone the earthquake and wind loadings.

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Structural Walls

There are two types of structural walls: Shear walls and retaining walls.

  1. 1
    Shear Walls
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    Shear walls are intentionally designed to handle earthquake and wind loadings. They are the vertical elements with large surface areas that attract all lateral forces. Shear walls are located symmetrically around the building parameters to avoid torsion and twisting of the building. In some buildings, shear walls work alone to resist an earthquake, while in other buildings, columns also contribute.
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  2. 2
    Retaining Walls
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    Retaining walls are designed to resist lateral loadings of soil and water. The triangular pressure loading acts along the height of the wall. The magnitude of pressure increases with depth. Retaining wall are a workout to resist overturning and uplifting. These are used to resist slope of embankments, pavements, basements and other underground structures.
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Foundations

All the structural loads of the buildings are transmitted to the soil strata by mean of structural foundation. Concrete is the most widely used material used for the construction of foundation of all types of buildings. The size and type of foundation depend on loading and soil characteristics. The following are the types of foundation typically used in construction:

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  1. 1
    Isolated/ Spread Footing
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    Isolated footing is shallow footing designed for single column loading.
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  2. 2
    Combined Footing
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    Combine footing is designed for two column loads.
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  3. 3
    Strip Footing
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    A footing connecting series of columns in a row is called strip footing.
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  4. 4
    Wall Footing
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    Wall loads are transferred to soil by mean of wall footing.
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  5. 5
    Eccentric Footing
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    The foundation of columns at edge to the adjacent buildings is workout as eccentric footing.
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  6. 6
    Strap Footing
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    In order to avoid overturning of eccentric footing, a beam is tied. This beam is called strap beam and foundation is referred as strap footing.
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  7. 7
    Raft/ Mat Footing
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    Raft or matt footing are foundations designed for various columns.
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  8. 8
    Pile Foundation
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    Pile foundation is designed for high-rises with massive loading. Concrete piles are drilled or driven into the bore hole. Pile caps are provided to connect the group of pile.
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  9. 9
    Pedestal
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    Pedestals are designed for poles or gate columns.
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The foundation of a building sitting on soil of good bearing capacity is smaller in size. The settlement of soil is critical for the foundation of a large area such as raft. Friction, cohesiveness, and expansion are other important parameter affecting foundation size and design.

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Partition Walls

Partition walls are not structural elements of the building. They just provide separation and closing. Partition wall can be made of block masonry, hollow block, timber, glass or brick. In a high-rise building, these partition walls are more prone to the lateral forces and could damage severely in case of such catastrophe. In such case, reinforcement bars are embedded into the hollow blocks to improve their performance. Structural framing is done such that there is a beam underneath the partition wall, but it is not necessary. The areas where partition walls are directly resting on slabs are designed for that much loading and strength. The smaller height walls around the periphery of roof and balconies serve for privacy are called parapet walls. They also lie in the category of non-structural walls.

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Openings

It is necessary to leave compulsory open space around the building including doors, windows, and other types of ventilators. These openings provide lighting, aeration, ventilation and aesthetic.

Fixtures

There are electrical, mechanical and plumbing fixtures in most buildings. Electrical ducts are concealed, and wires are drawn through them before finishing. Similarly, plumbing lines are embedded through floorings, along with drinking and drainage supply facilities.

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Referencing this Article

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APA (American Psychological Association)
Building Elements. (2017). In ScienceAid. Retrieved Nov 21, 2018, from https://scienceaid.net/Building_Elements

MLA (Modern Language Association) "Building Elements." ScienceAid, scienceaid.net/Building_Elements Accessed 21 Nov 2018.

Chicago / Turabian ScienceAid.net. "Building Elements." Accessed Nov 21, 2018. https://scienceaid.net/Building_Elements.

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Article Info

Categories : Industrial

Recent edits by: Sharingknowledge, SarMal, Chameleon

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