Common Building Materials

Part of the Civil Engineering industry, the building sub section is responsible for producing bridges, dams as well as roads and the houses that we live in. Although other materials can be used the most common are iron, steel, concrete, timber, blocks and bricks. Building is a huge industry and is a major player in any countries economy.

Studies have been made of ancient civilizations to find the techniques and materials that have been used in building their communities. It has been found that the Roman, Mayan and Egyptians all used blocks, local stone that was available and made their own bricks and types of concrete. There structures were complex and science based in design. Today we still emulate these styles and techniques.

The North American Indians used slimmer trees and branches for their homes with smaller twigs and sticks for the roofs. The Zulus of South Africa and the tribes in Kenya used a mix of soil and cow dung with water as the major material in the building their homes. Further east in Asia trees were also used for their homes, all these methods and traditional building styles are still in use today.

The use of iron has become the most common material in larger constructions, it has been used in the UK since the eighth century and many of the structures that were created then are still to be seen today.

The use of local stone has always been a popular material, these are mined from quarries and have become popular for house building. Kiln based bricks are used in-house building and with so many colors and sizes being produced can provide ample variety for the building constructors.

Wood will always remain popular although it can not be used in substantive buildings like bridges but now tend to be used for the interior of houses, either ceilings or floors are the most popular areas for its use.

Since the discovery of crude oil it has been put to many uses in the building trade, tar is made from bitumen mixed with gravel and is mostly seen as a surface for our roads and runways.

A mixture of lime cement, sand and gravel makes concrete and has been in constant use for many years. In all large and heavy construction projects typically with steel or iron concrete is a fluid material used widely in modern construction.

The building industry is heavily dependent on steel, it is the backbone of most projects and again an important part of any countries economic strategy. It is one of the products whose value is watched in financial markets worldwide.