One of the dreams cherished by everybody is to be a homeowner as shelter is the basic need of man after food. But despite its importance, necessity, and indispensability, building a home is not a child’s play. It requires a lot of planning, and detailing to guide against unexpected hitches that may lead to project abandonment or loss of investment in the long run because apart from its essential function in sheltering you, your home might eventually turn out to be the greatest investment you made. You need to take crucial steps to not only bring your only dream home to reality but also make it worth the while and get the expected returns on your investment.
In the planning stage of your building, you have to revisit your needs and interests. Do you just want a house where you will live for a short period of time or a home that will serve as a source of pride, not only to you but also to your family and everyone who beholds it right from the foundation level to the completion stage? If the latter is your aim, you need to:
- come up with accurate budget/costing;
- work with a team of building experts;
- select the right building materials; and
- use only high quality building materials.
Though all these step are very crucial to accomplishing your dream of owning a home, the most important of all is the one on building materials. Why? The quality and genuineness of the building materials you use to build your house will determine if the house will:
- be able to survive with or without people living there;
- be able to survive the worst of natural disasters;
- not deteriorate, crack or spall;
- not be razed down by fire, no matter how raging the fire is;
- not affected by (even) the harshest weather; and
- not crumble as a result of climate change.
Building a house that fulfils the descriptions above does not only require a high capital outlay but also quality implications, particularly in regard to building materials. The quality of building materials such as TMT iron rods, concrete, brick, glass, aluminum, wood, tiles, and others is the greatest determinant of the worthwhileness and longevity of your investment. So you don’t want to joke with the performance of your building materials.
Why Performance of Building Materials is Important
- Structural capability and stability: Climate change, environmental degradation, urban growth and other factors have increased the frequency and severity of natural hazards. Hence, any building that will survive natural hazards must have the capability to bear the expected load in its design and extra loads that come after. Guess what? Only genuine building materials can give your building this ability. Using low-quality or counterfeit building materials to build structural components like beams, slabs, columns, walls and footing puts your building at risk. What about the foundation of the house? Its concrete components and other parts must be built with only genuine building materials. This will make it very strong, stable and not overturn or collapse even when hit by natural disasters.
- Health and safety during the life of the building: High quality building materials do not only ensure your building is strong but also contribute to your safety and health as an occupant or user. Low-quality materials emit chemicals that can be harmful to the health of building occupants. Apart from this, such materials will make your building vulnerable to corrosion, moisture and the activities of thermal agents. Who would feel safe in a house that can crumble at any time?
- Durability and longevity: Genuine building materials contribute to the durability and longevity of your house as they make the load-bearing components very strong and stable. Also, your building will meet and exceed its expected service life. But using low-quality materials ultimately makes your building weak and leads to inconvenience. Your building must be durable and long-lasting to serve present and future needs.
- Less Maintenance:Using genuine building materials guides against frequent repairs and makes your building require less maintenance during the course of its service life. Materials that do not offer high levels of durability may actually perform poorly, affect the structural elements of your building, and cost you unplanned and unexpected expenses in the long run. If this happens, you will keep spending on the building when you should be enjoying long-term benefits.
Properties of Building Materials
For a material to be considered as building material, it should have required engineering properties suitable for construction works. These properties of building materials are responsible for its quality and capacity and helps to decide applications of these material. Such properties of building materials are categorized as follows.
- Physical properties
- Mechanical properties
- Chemical properties
- Electrical properties
- Magnetic properties
- Thermal properties
Mechanical Properties of Building Materials
Strength: Strength refers to a material’s ability to withstand stresses induced by loads, the most typical of which are compression, tension, bending, and impact. The relevance of researching multiple strengths is underlined by the fact that materials like stones and concrete have strong compressive strength but poor tensile, bending, and impact strength.
Hardness: The ability of a substance to resist penetration by a harder body is referred to as hardness. The Mohs scale is used to determine material hardness. It’s a list of ten minerals sorted in ascending hardness order. Indentation of a steel ball is used to determine the hardness of metals and polymers.
Elasticity: Elasticity refers to a material’s capacity to regain its original shape and dimensions when a load has been removed. The deformation of solid bodies is proportional to the stress within their elasticity limits. The modulus of elasticity is the ratio of unit stress to unit deformation. Its high value denotes a material with extremely little distortion.
Plasticity: When a material is loaded, it can change shape without cracking, and it can retain that shape after the load has been removed, this behaviour of substance is referred as plasticity. Steel, copper, and hot bitumen are some of the examples of plastic materials.
Building materials form an integral part of the field of architecture. The site selected as well as the nature of the surroundings, determine the building type, and choice of building material. The type and form of structure is determined by the type of material used. The concept of ‘building materials’ glorifies the endurance and visual aspects of design. Not only does it provide meaning but also enhances the aesthetic quality of a building—venustas(beauty) and firmitas(structure). According to the Council of Architecture, India, building materials are very important because they help to:
- establish a relationship between visual quality and structural stability;
- select the appropriate technique of construction;
- provide character and visual appeal to the structure;
- decipher the time and era of construction of a building;
- trace the evolution of the art of construction;
- mix aesthetic elements with practicality;
- highlight the theme and concept of design of the building project;
- determine the appropriate site for a project based on availability of material and suitability to the design;
- determine the budget of building projects; and
- establish a relationship between quantity and quality.