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A building is a construction which is raised on a foundation and is generally made of stone, concrete blocks, bricks and mortar or cement. Bricks and concrete blocks are held together by mortar. Houses are built of wood, brick, stone and concrete. Many new types of houses are made from reed slabs, rolled gypsum panels or wooden sheets. Nowadays houses are often built of complete concrete structural units, prefabricated blocks (prefabs), which are factory-made and assembled on the spot.
Every detail of a house must be carefully planned. The working plan itself is called a blueprint. Without a blueprint the workmen would make all sorts of mistakes and waste a lot of time. Plans for building a house are drawn by an architect. The architect draws a separate plan for each individual floor. He shows all the parts of the house exactly as if the house were already built. It is from the blueprint of the architect that the workman sees where to place the walls, the windows, the doors, the staircases, etc. The size of the rooms, the width of the doors and windows, the height of the ceilings are also marked on the plan by the architect.
First the excavation is dug for the basement, then the foundation walls below ground level are constructed. Foundations are to keep the floors and walls from contact with the soil, to act against the action of the frost and to prevent from settlement. The part upon which the stability of the structure depends is the framework. It carries the loads which are imposed on it. The floors, walls, roofs and other parts of the construction must be carefully designed and proportioned. The floors divide a building into stories. They may be either of timber or, in brick buildings, of reinforced concrete details of big and small sizes.
The designer determines the size of the walls, the floors, the beams, the girders and the parts which make up the framework. He also decides how they are to be spaced and arranged. Walls are constructed to enclose areas and to support the weight of floors and roofs. The coverings or upper parts of buildings meant to keep out rain and wind and to preserve the interior from exposure to the weather are called roofs. They tie the walls and give the construction strength and firmness.
Every building should be provided with water, electricity, ventilation and heating systems. The water supply and sewerage systems are called plumbing.
The buildings erected nowadays can be divided into two general classes: buildings for housing and industrial buildings. As far as material is concerned buildings can be divided into brick, wood, concrete and steel buildings. Buildings made of stone are durable and fire-resisting.

Additional information

THE CLASSIFICATION OF BUILDINGS. The assembling of various structural elements so that each may perform its function is known as framing.
One classification of buildings is on the basis of the functions of the walls. If the walls carry their share of the dead, live or other loads in addition to keeping out the weather, etc. the building is called a wall-bearing construction. But if the loads, including the weight of the walls, are carried by the structural frame, consisting of columns, beams, trusses and arches, the building is called a skeleton construction. The first type is mostly used for civil building type and the second - for the mill building type.
Skeleton construction with structural elements consisting of light wood joists and studs is extensively used in small dwelling house construction but it is not used for larger buildings.
TYPES OF BUILDINGS. The buildings are divided into classes according to the manner of construction.
1. Frame construction. 2. Non-fireproof construction. 3. Fireproof construction.
Frame construction includes all buildings with exterior walls of wooden framework sheathed with wooden shingles; veneered with brick, stone or terra cotta; or covered with stucco or sheet metal. Such buildings naturally have floors and partitions of wood.
Non-fireproof construction includes all buildings with exterior walls of masonry but with wood floor construction and partitions.
Fireproof construction includes all buildings constructed of incombustible material throughout, with floors of iron, steel or reinforced concrete beams. Wood may be used only for under or upper floors, window and door frames, doors and interior finish. Wire glass is used in the windows and all structural and reinforced steel must be surrounded with fireproof material such as hollow terra cotta and gypsum tile.
From the point of view of method of construction buildings may be divided into the following groups:
1. Bearing wall construction.
2. Skeleton frame construction.
Bearing wall construction has been the method of structural design employed from the earliest days. By their method the loaded floor and roof beams rest upon the exterior and interior walls, which in turn transmit the loads to the foundation. It is evident that the walls must be of sufficient thickness to carry the loads as well as their own weight.
Skeleton frame construction has been made possible by the development of structural steel and later of reinforced concrete. According to this method the loaded floor and roof beams rest upon girders running between the columns. The columns are placed along the building line and are known as exterior or wall columns; they also occur at required intervals within the body of the building, in which case they are called interior columns. A framework is thereby formed, the walls being carried upon the wall girders at each storey level. The walls are consequently mere enclosure bearing no weight and are of the same thickness on all stories. The columns transmit the loads to the foundations.


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