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Contents

Section 1 Environmental Issues

Section 2 Physical Considerations

Section 3 Basic Structural Forms

Section 4 Components and Parts

Section 5 Construction Activities

Section 6 Drawings

Section 7 Communicating Information on Built Environment Topics

Section 8 Planning and Building Regulations

Section 9 Site and Soil Investigation

Section 10 Site Layout, Security, Material Storage and Handling


 

Description:  This unit introduces the factors which need to be considered and understood before construction takes place.

Author:  Gates MacBain Associates


Section 1  Environmental Issues




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • State the factors that relate to the environment in relation to a building and the requirements of the occupants.


The environment can refer to the natural world or to the general surroundings in which a person lives and both of these will have an effect on buildings and the way they are constructed.  It is essential that buildings do not adversely effect the location where the building is situated or decrease the quality of life for the people living in that area. A number of factors relate to the built environment and also to the requirements of the building itself in order that the occupants have a pleasant and healthy environment in which to live, work or play.  You should be familiar with the term Built Environment and an introduction can be found at the link below together.   

Within the building itself the factors that are important to ensure that this environment is conducive to a person’s well being relate to the following: 
  • Dryness
  • Warmth
  • Ventilation
  • Light
  • Acoustics
  • Safety and Privacy
These factors will be considered in detail in other units of the course although you should understand the requirements for these at this stage and it is recommended that you read Construction Technology Analysis & Choice as shown below.  



Websites

  • Built Environment   Wikipedia Link - this provides an overview and links to further study; it should not be quoted, referenced or taken as an authoritative source.



Publications

  • Bryan, T, (2005) Construction Technology Analysis & Choice, Oxford, Blackwell



Self-Assessment Task

  • Taking each of the factors listed above; explain briefly the basic requirements and how these are achieved.




Section 2  Physical Considerations




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should: 
  • Be able to state the main factors which influence the physical consideration of the design and construction of different types of buildings.


The purpose of a building is to meet certain criteria, this may be to provide a place of shelter, storage, work or leisure (to mention just a few) and in order to do this the building will need to exhibit certain physical characteristics.   

The physical characteristics will depend on the activities which are to be carried out and their relationship and location in respect to other buildings or activities. Regardless of the use of the building it will need to perform to certain criteria that relate to the structural and environmental considerations. These requirements will be determined by legislation and the purpose and activities undertaken in the building.  In order to determine what these requirements are we need to understand the relationship of the following factors: 

Activities – this looks at what activities are to be carried out in the building as the design, layout and construction of a domestic building will be different from a hotel or a prison, although each is there to provide shelter and accommodation. Likewise for a factory we need to consider the amount of space needed as the size and spans of the building will depend on the type and methods of production which is dependant on the items being produced. 

Form – this will be dependant on the type of building and its’ location, an office complex in a city centre is likely to be high-rise where if situation in a  rural  area it could be low-rise.   

Location – this will not only dictate the form but also the materials used a planning authority is unlikely to allow the construction of a building using materials that was not in keeping with the surrounding area.  

The physical requirements of the building will need to consider the following: 
  • Purpose
  • Loading and stress distribution
  • Aesthetics
  • Security
  • Sound
  • Fire
  • Environmental conditions within the building – heat and light
  • Air quality
  • Reliability
  • Required Building Life



Publications

  • Bryan, T, (2005) Construction Technology Analysis & Choice, Oxford, Blackwell



Self-Assessment Task

  • Taking each of the physical requirements listed above briefly state the influence they will have on the building.





Section 3  Basic Structural Forms




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to: 
  • Name, describe and illustrate the basic structural forms used in the construction of buildings.
  • State the situations were each is predominantly used.


The purpose of a building is to provide an envelope to provide protection to the inhabitants and their contents. In order to do this it needs to retain its structural integrity under all loads or forces that it is likely to be subjected to. 

The form that the structure will take depends on a number of factors such as purpose and location as traditionally buildings have been constructed using locally sourced materials i.e. houses in Scandinavia were made of wood while those in Egypt would be constructed of mud bricks. 

The way it is constructed is therefore dependant on type of materials and the structural concept that is used. 


Structural Concepts 

These fall into:  

House
Solid Structures where the walls act both to enclose and support. This means that the walls will have to be of sufficient thickness in order to accept the loads applied and transfer them to the foundations. The type of houses that we are probably most familiar with falls into this category and is illustrated below.  
 



Frame



Skeletal Structures consists of a framework which supports all loads and resists any imposed loads and transmits these to the foundations. This type of structure consists of a system of beams and columns which create a framework.   





The frame itself does not provide the enclosing of the building so an additional system is needed, thus panels can be placed over this framework or between the external structural members in order to enclose it. Most people will be familiar with the framed building as illustrated below (This system will be looked at in the Construction Technology 2 Module ) though timber frame buildings also fall into this category and these will be looked at in Unit 2 of this module. 


Surface Structures are either made of thin structure of solid material which are curved to provide stiffness, such as reinforced concrete shell where it acts as both the supporting and enclosing element; or a thin flexible membrane structure stretched across supporting members. We will not be looking at these in this unit.  




Publications

  • Chudley, R. and  Greeno, R. (2006) Building Construction Handbook, 6th edn. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann (Part 5)



Self-Assessment Task

  • There are two types of mass wall construction cellular and crosswall construction. With the use of diagrams briefly describe each of these.




Section 4  Components and Parts




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Explain the main components that make up a house.


The Structure, materials and components which make up a building can be classified as: 

Primary elements make up the structure of a building include.  
  • Foundations
  • External walls
  • Load bearing internal walls
  • Ground and upper floors
  • Beams and columns
  • Roof members
Secondary elements which are added to the building do not provide structural support they are added to:
  • complete the building envelope
  • provide compartments by dividing up the internal space.
Examples of secondary elements are:
  • doors / door frames
  • windows /window frames
  • internal non load bearing walls
  • roof coverings
  • Services
  • Finishes
  • Stairs and landings

Building services are installed as first fix prior to some of the secondary elements and finishing works and also as second fix, they include:
  • gas distribution pipes
  • electricity cables and fittings
  • hot and cold water distribution pipes
  • central heating / air conditioning systems
  • telecommunications wiring
  • security systems
  • sanitary ware
Finishing’s and fittings include:
  • door ironmongery
  • kitchen cupboards / appliances
  • bathroom cupboards / appliances
  • fitted wardrobes in bedrooms
  • timber trim
  • fitted furniture to living areas
  • second fitting of services ie electrical sockets and switches
  • decorations

These elements will be looked at in detail in the other units of this module though you should understand the basic concept and how they relate to each other. An introduction to components can be obtained from Chudley & Greeno Building Construction Handbook. 



Publications

  • Chudley, R. and  Greeno, R. (2006) Building Construction Handbook, 6th edn. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann (Parts 5 & 6)



Self-Assessment Task

  • List the order that the components of a building are produced or placed in the structure.




Section 5  Construction Activities




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to: 
  • List the activities involved with the construction process.


The construction of a building involves a series of activities performed by a number of different specialists. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA ) provides a breakdown of these activities which can be found in the RIBA Plan of Work, this organises the process of design and management into a number of key stages and you should familiarize yourself with these. The link below will take you to these. 

From this and your understanding of the processes, which must be completed to construct a building you should be able to break down the Construction Phase into the activities which are carried out during this process. These activities would involve the tasks that would need to be carried out in order for a building to be constructed and would include tasks such as:  
  • Site set-up
  • Site strip
  • Foundations
Guidance on the activities and sequence of build can be obtained from the Construction site studies production, administration and personnel below 



Websites



Publications

  • Foster, G (1989) Construction site studies Production, administration and personnel, Harlow, Longman



Self-Assessment Task

  • Using the three examples of activities shown above list the activities and their sequence that must be carried out in order to construct a two storey. This should be from taking over the site to clearance after construction.





Section 6 Drawings




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should know:
  • The reason for drawings in the construction industry.
  • The different types of drawings
  • The types of information that they convey.


In order for the designers of a building to convey their requirements; a set of drawings are produced which enables the building to be constructed according to the designers original intentions.Drawings are produced as a two-dimentional image depicting what the building, components or layout position will be.  Drawings can be put into the following catagories:

Location Drawings 

Location_Drawing 







Where the building will be and what it will look like.
  









Site Plans

Site_Plan




Showing the location on the site relevant to roads, boundaries etc
              







Floor Plans

Floor_Plan




Show the layout of spaces indicating the size and shape of a room and location of the doors and windows etc







Elevations 

Elevation_S,N








ElevationElevation_w
Shows a vertical view of the external view of the building
       






Sections 

Section




Vertical view of the building showing cross-section.
    






Assembly Drawings 

Assembly

Show how the building is constructed or assembled on site and provides details on how it is constructed. It shows the size and shape of the parts ie: how the roof section joins to the wall or the make-up of a window.
   



Component Drawings – provide detailed information about the component and how it is to be made.
 
The way a window or door is hung and opens can also be shown as illustrated below. 

Window_hung





Window hung on this side     







Scales used 

Plans are usually drawn to scale, which means that they are drawn at a specific ratio relative to the actual size. The scale used will depend on the type of drawing. For example, site plans are often drawn at 1:100 or 1:200 while  a floor plan may be drawn at 1:50. Detailed views could be 1:25.  

     
Computer-aided design (CAD)  

CAD is the use of computer technology to aid in the design and especially the production of drawings for a project. It is the use of computers to produce drawings which previously were produced manually.  

It simplifies and speeds up the drawing process and allows drawings to be produced in two or three dimensions. The use of computers lowers product development costs and shortens the design cycle. As with all computer packages CAD enables the designs to to be developed on screen, printed out and saved for future editing or use, thus reducing the time spend on drawings. It also improves qualitity and allows for easier revision of drawings. 


Views or Projections 

There are a number of views that are adopted in order to provide the information:   

Axonometric





Orthographic Projections - is a means of representing a three-dimensional object in two dimensions. These can be:   

Axonometric Projection shows an image of the object as displaying more than one view and although it does apear distorted as the scale of a distant feature is the same for those which are near. 

Axonometric projection can be shown in three ways which are illustrated below:    








Hatchings and Symbols

Materials used are shown by a convention of hatching this is where each material has a different fill, examples being:  

Hatching   








The main hatchings and symbols depicting an item on the drawing can be found in Building Construction by Chudley and Greeno and in Construction Site Studies by Foster though you should also consult British Standards which list all drawing symbols and abbreviations used.   




Publications

  • Chudley, R. and  Greeno, R. (2006) Building Construction Handbook, 6th edn. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann (Part 1)
  • Foster, G (1989) Construction site studies Production, administration and personnel, Harlow, Longman (Chapter 4)
  • Hackett, M Robinson, I & Statham, G, Eds, (2007) The Aqua Group Guide to Procurement, Tendering & Contract Administration, Oxford: Blackwell (Chapter 17)



Self-Assessment Task

  • Produce a drawing showing one floor of where you live.  This should be drawn to an appropriate scale and include doors, windows and dimensions. It should also include the appropriate hatching to show the materials used in its construction.




Section 7 Communicating Information on Built Environment Topics




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should understand:
  • The need to communicate and the ways that this is done.


Communication is a vital aspect of the construction process. All parties must communicate in order to ensure that the desired building is produced according to the requirements specified.  It is also important in order to track the work and to ensure that records are maintained for tracking and ensuring people are paid for the appropriate work. 

From this it can be seen that planning and monitoring of all stages are carried out and that this is communicated to those who need to know about them.  In order to ensure this happens a system of communication must exist. In order to obtain a basic understanding of communication you should view the presentation on Communication.   



PowerPoint Presentation




Constructionsite Units



Self-Assessment Task

  • Suggest areas of the construction process were there is a danger of problems due to a breakdown in communications.





Section 8  Planning and Building Regulations




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should understand:
  • The reason for planning legislation and Building regulations and when and how to obtain them.


The need for legislation to control building has developed over the years and now has a great influence on what can and can not be done; consequently it is essential to understand the requirements before any project is embarked on as failure do so can involve a great deal of wasted resources. 

The presentation below highlights the main factors relating to planning and building regulations which you should be familiar with. While the NTI website shown below as Building Regulations and House Building explains the requirements of the Regulations as they relate to specific parts of a house.   For further information on planning or building regulations visit the websites below.  

The Planning Portal Interactive House takes you through the requirements for the need for Planning and Building Regulations with regard to alterations or additions to existing properties.   



Websites



Publications

  • Chudley, R. and  Greeno, R. (2006) Building Construction Handbook, 6th edn. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann (Part 1)



PowerPoint Presentations




Self-Assessment Task

  • Describe the main factors relating to Full and Outline planning approval and where each would be used.
  • List the Approved documents and the areas that each deals with





Section  9  Site and Soil Investigation




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should:
  • Understand the need for carrying out a site and soil investigation.
  • Know the types of investigations which are commonly used and the way they are conducted.
  • Know the classification of the soil types.


It is essential that before any building is designed a thorough understanding of the site and soil conditions onto which the building is to be placed are understood as this fundamentally affects the design of the building. 

Sub-soil, sub-structure and superstructure must act together to maintain the stability of the building and can not be taken in isolation. It is also essential for all parties to be aware of any challenges relating to sub-soil conditions before any work is planned as this will also have an affect on the likely costs involved. 

You should now click on the link below in order to play the presentation on Site and soil investigation.  Once you have watched this you should ensure that you understand all of the factors that it has highlighted and how they relate to the process of ensuring that the designer knows what the site and soil conditions are.  If you don’t understand anything you should ask your tutor. You should also watch the video/DVD on the NTI website. This is on foundations but it contains information at the beginning on site investigation.



Websites

  • Geotechnical Investigations   Wikipedia Link - this provides an overview and links to further study; it should not be quoted, referenced or taken as an authoritative source.



Publications

  • Chudley, R. and  Greeno, R. (2006) Building Construction Handbook, 6th edn. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann (Part 2)



PowerPoint Presentations 




Self-Assessment Task

  • State the objectives of carrying out a site and soil investigation
  • List the methods of carrying out sub surface investigations




Section 10  Site Layout, Security, Material Storage and Handling




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should understand:
  • The fundamentals of site layout with regard to the positioning of facilities and storage areas, moving around the site and aspects of security.


When laying out the site it is essential that all aspects are considered so that the maximum use of the site is made.  It also needs to restrict inconvenience so that materials do not have to be doubled handled or facilities relocated in order for construction to continue. The presentation below highlights some of the main factors which you should consider when planning the site layout.



PowerPoint Presentation



Publications

  • Chudley, R. and  Greeno, R. (2006) Building Construction Handbook, 6th edn. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann (Part 2)



Self-Assessment Task

  • Discuss the relevant factors which relate to plant when considering the site layout




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