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From Peter Valdivia´s website
The illustration shown above represents the essential elements of a modern Building. Parts: 1. Foundations: This is a structure ( made, mainly, of cement, iron and gravel ) that transfers loads to the earth. The main design concerns are settlement and capacity
2. Structure: This is made up of pillars, beams and tie-beams made of reinforced concrete or iron 3. Floors and ceiling: Hollow tile are placed between two tie-beams, later it is covered by a layer of concrete. Floors are finished with floor tiles or floorboard. 4. Exteriors walls: These are usually made by two brick walls and an insulator layer ( to avoid the heat loss). 5. Windows: These provide a visual link between internal space and the outside world. They are very important to the mental health of the people in the house. A small tie-beam is placed above the window to bear the load of all bricks situated over the window frame. 6. Roof. Its functions are to protect a building from the weather and to retain the heat generated inside. It is made up of a wood or iron structure, a thermal material such as fiberglass and the last layer, the tiles or slates. 7. Internal walls. The primary function of internal wall is to divide the overall space within the house into smaller spaces. They are made of brick, wood or plaster. Every part in the building has its own functions and a good design is crucial.
Most people would agree that walking in sand is harder than walking on a concrete footpath. This is because your feet tend to sink into the sand when you try to move forward. A similar thing happens when a house is built — it sinks into the ground. Of course, the extent to which a house sinks into the soil is so small that it isn’t noticeable. This is because investigations are carried out to ensure that the ground is strong enough to support the weight of the building before construction begins. This is done by checking what type of soil is below ground level. Some soils are good at supporting loads, others are not. The designer must be confident that the building will not sink when complete.
A foundation is the part of a structure that transfers the loads from the structure to the ground. It is essential that the loads are spread safely and evenly over the supporting ground to ensure the stability of the building. In most cases we do not see the foundation of a building because it is below ground level. As well as supporting the weight of the building, the foundation provides a level bed on which to build. While we usually think in terms of the building´s weight keeping it in place, in some cases, especially for taller buildings, the foundation actually anchors the building to the ground. A properly designed foundation will limit settlement.
Foundations differential settlement will occur if an area of softer soil is undetected. ( See image above on the left ). Above on the right, a properly designed foundation will safely and evenly transmit the load over the supporting ground to ensure the stability of the building. Now, there is not cracking in the house frontage. The function of a foundation can be summarised as follow: To transmit all building load to the ground To give stability and prevent subsidence To provide a level bed on which to build To anchor the structure to the ground
1. Floors and ceiling. The primary functions of the floor are to support the imposed loads and to provide a level surface for the activities that are carried out in the home. Floors must be designed to meet a number of performance requirements, including: Strength and stability. The loads can vary significantly depending on the number of people living in a home and activities occurring there. For example, taking a bath can increase the load on the bathroom floor by up to 150 kg.
Durability. The floors of every house must be hard-wearing if they are to withstand the demand of everyday use. Moisture resistance. Ground floors must be designed to withstand moisture rising from the ground floors. If moisture rises up through the floor, in English houses, timber floorboards will bend and natural carpets will rot. Thermal insulator. .Ground floors must protect against the loss of heat through the floor.. Uninsulated or poorly insulated floors will lead to cold homes and higher heating costs.
A typical Spanish Home uses hollow tiles to withstand both live and dead loads. Made of clay or concrete, they are placed between two tie-beams. It is very easy to install as you only have to put it between two tie-beams. Later, cover with a concrete layer which could contain a iron wire netting (see next illustration).
The hollow tile is later coved by a layer of concrete. Floors are finished with floor tiles or boards.
The primary functions of the external walls of a house are to support the loads generated ( only in case of a no-columns structure ) and to create a comfortable living space. Walls must be designed to meet a number of performance requirements including: 1st Strength and Stability — The strength and stability of an external wall depends on: — the strength of the components used (E.g. blocks, mortar) — Slenderness Ratio — tall, thin walls are less stable than short, thick walls
— Eccentricity of the applied load — the force experienced by the wall from above must be centred. Bonding is the overlapping of blocks or bricks to ensure that the vertical and lateral loads are dispersed evenly throughout the wall. See photo below
2º Weather Resistance — Designing for weather resistance is mainly about preventing the penetration of wind-driven rain.
The most common method used for housing is the hollow space construction. This involves building a wall that consists of two separate walls, an inner wall and an outer wall, with a small gap ( called a cavity ) between them and another bigger gap for an insulator. The cavity prevents the moisture absorbed by the outer wall reaching the insulator and the inner wall. The inner and outer walls used in construction are normally referred to as the inner leaf and the outer leaf.
The function of the outer leaf is to protect the inner leaf from the effects of weathering. The function of the inner leaf is to support the loads of the house ( Only in traditional houses. Nowadays, in modern houses and buildings, the columns support the loads ). 3 rd Thermal Insulator. The proper thermal insulation of walls is essential to ensure that heat is not lost from the home. Poor thermal insulation leads to greater fuel use which in turn is damaging to the environment and expensive for the home owner. Brickwork cavity walls are usually insulated by placing a continuous layer of rigid expanded polystyrene foam insulator into the cavity. This insulation board is held tightly against the inner leaf. This means that when the house is heated the heat energy is absorbed by the inner leaf. For this reason it can take some time for a comfortable temperature to be achieved. However, once warm, concrete cavity-walled homes can remain so for several hours after the heating is turned off, as the concrete inner leaf acts as a heat store.
The primary functions of a window are to admit light and fresh air into a building. Light and fresh air are essential to a healthy space. The big problem of window is the loss of heat. The greater the window’s surface the more money you have to pay. So a proper thermal insulation design is very important. Poorly insulated windows are uncomfortable to sit near and waste heat energy. The thermal insulation of windows is achieved primarily through the use of double-glazing and weather stripping. Doubleglazing is designed to reduce the amount of heat lost through the glass, while weather stripping is designed to reduce the amount of heat lost due to air infiltration . Doubleglazing can significantly reduce the amount of heat lost through a typical window.
In the photo above this paragraph, a further improvement can be made by applying a special Low-emissivity (Low-e) coating to the inner pane of glass. Low-e glazing
allows the short-wavelength heat energy from the sun to enter the house but acts as a barrier to the escape of the Long-wavelength energy from internal heat sources. About 60% of the heat energy lost between the panes of glass in a double-glazed window is long-wave radiation.
The primary functions of a roof are to protect a building from the weather and to retain the heat generated inside. Roofs must be designed to meet a number of performance requirements, including: Strength and Stability (The structural stability of a roof is tested every day. The Loads exerted by the weight of roof tiles, the wind blowing against it and the additional weight of rain or snow, are considerable).
The primary functions of internal walls is to divide the overall space within the house into smaller spaces. Dictionary: Consolidation: When stress is applied to a soil that causes the soil particles to pack together more tightly, therefore reducing its volume. Process by which soils decrease in volume. Gravel: small stones and pebbles (very small, rounded stone), or a mixture of these with sand Bearing Capacity: is the capacity of soil to support the loads applied to the ground. Hollow tile: A hollow building block of concrete or Terra cotta used for making exterior walls, floors or roofs. Also known as hollow block Concrete: is a construction material composed of cement, sand, water as well as other cement like materials. Tiles: a thin slab or bent piece of baked clay, sometimes painted or glazed, used for various purposes, such as to form one of the units of a roof covering or floor (other shape ) Slates: 1. A piece of this rock cut for use as roofing. 2. A writing tablet made of a similar material. Plaster: a composition, such as one made of lime or gypsum and sand and water, applied in a pasty form to walls, ceilings, etc. Settlement: is defined as downward movement of the soil, or any structure on it, as a result of soil consolidation, usually caused by the load applied by the structure. Clay: a natural earthy material that is plastic when wet, consisting essentially of hydrated silicates of aluminum: used for making bricks, pottery, etc
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