Types of Construction | Building Construction and Design

Building Construction | Civil Engineering and Design

Construction of buildings can be divided into three main categories:

  1. Load bearing construction
  2. Composite construction
  3. Framed construction

But among the three types, framed construction is widely used for all kinds of constructions.

An engineering structure is an assembly of number of elements transferring the loads and providing a form space to serve the desired function.

Building Construction and Design
Building Construction and Design

The structural design is a science and art of designing, with economy and elegance, a durable structure is that which can safely carry the forces and can serve the desired function satisfactorily during its expected service life span.

The entire process of structural planning and designing requires not only imagination and conceptual thinking but of practical aspects, such as relevant design codes and byelaws, backed up by aple experience, institution and judgement.

The process of design commences with planning of a structure, primarily to meet the functional equipment of the user or client. The functional requirements and the aspects of the aesthetics looked into normally by an architect while the aspect of safety, serviceability, durability and economy of the structure for its intended use over the life span.

What is a building?

A building can be defined as a structure consisting of walls, floors, education, business, manufacturing, storage, hospitalization, entertainment, worship etc.

Normally all building are constructed according to drawings and specifications prepared by architects. Each city has prescribed building bye-laws to which building must confirm. The building bye-laws lay down norms like minimum front, side and rear backs, minimum height and area of habitable rooms, kitchen, bath, minimum area of windows, width of staircase etc, apart from respecting the bye-laws the building design should ensure optimum utilization of built-up space, thermal comfort, proper ventilation, desirable illumination and acoustical characteristics and it should satisfy the functional requirements of people who live and work in the building.

Read more

Development in Structural Systems in Postmodernist Period

Evolution of Structural Systems in Postmodernism

Before 20th century, there were three great developments in structural systems.

Bulk Active structure is classified as followed:

  1. Post and lintel
  2. Arch system

Dome and vault construction (either in the form of bulk, employing plastic materials i.e. concrete, hardening into a homogeneous mass or the thrust type, in which the loads are received and counterbalanced at definite points; steel-glass skeleton system.


St. Peter's Dome
St. Peter's Dome


After World War II, the analysis of building types provides information behind each of the greater styles. This can easily be understood that it was not merely a trend, but a period of serious and required experimentation directed toward answering the needs of a specific way of life. In the era, most of the construction work was dominated by sustainable building design, construction and using materials in ways that minimize toxic production methods and in using natural sunlight for energy and natural air movement and water for cooling, climate, methods of labour, available materials, and economy of means thus impose their dictates.

Read more

Development of Suspended Structures | Structural Systems

Suspended Structures | Structural Systems

Suspended Structures are those with horizontal planes i.e. floors are supported by cables (hangers) hung from the parabolic sag of large, high-strength steel cables. The strength of a suspended structure is derived from the parabolic form of the sagging high strength cable.

To make this structure more efficient, the parabolic form is so designed that its shape closely follows the exact form of the moment diagrams.

The sagging cable is more stable under symmetrical loading conditions as the cable may deform as it attempts to adjust to an eccentric loading. As the cable adjusts to this load its shifts the rest of the structure.


Dulles International Airport
Dulles International Airport


This adjustment causes secondary stresses in the horizontal surface and additional deformation. The parabolic curve of the cable is also designed for various eccentric or lateral loads such as wind, seismic etc.

The large curving cable may consist of many smaller cables which are tightly spun together. As the cables are being spun together, they are also stretched over the span and attached to the supports.

Read more

Prefabricated Construction and Lightweight building systems

Prefabricated Construction and Lightweight building systems

What is Prefabrication?

Prefabrication is the practice of assembling components of a structure in a factory or other manufacturing site, and transporting complete assemblies or sub-assemblies to the construction site where the structure is to be located. The term is used to distinguish this process from the more conventional construction practice of transporting the basic materials to the construction site where all assembly is carried out.

During the development in the industrial revolution, the people have full awareness regarding the behaviour of the structure.

It was fully analyzed and understood that for the existence of an object and its form, it is necessary that the object can bear all forces which act on it.


Precast Concrete House Construction
Precast Concrete House Construction

The structure thus, functions in three subsequent operations:

  1. Load reception
  2. Load transfer
  3. Load discharge

The flow of forces does not pose problem as long as the object form follows the direction of acting forces. With these analytical theories of structure and at the same time new technological developments like prefabricated construction influence the designer.

In the works of Buckminster Fuller and Moshe Safdie, there is extensive use of fabricated components.

Read more