The Materials Involved in Commercial Building Construction & Design

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There are different types of materials used in commercial building construction.

They have characteristics that could make one better than the others depending on various factors, such as structure size and purpose, load it needs to bear, construction speed, and cost.

Your structural engineer can help determine the best materials to use for the project based on your specific needs. Below are some of the common materials used in the construction of commercial buildings and their pros and cons.

Concrete                                                   

This material is made by mixing various elements, which include cement, water, and aggregates like crushed stone or sand. Because of its durability and strength, it’s a popular material for structural foundations. 

Pros:

  • It can take any form so you can shape it to your liking.
  • It’s durable so you can be sure of the sturdiness of the building.
  • It’s affordable, making it an excellent option for any budget. 

Cons:

  • It’s not aesthetically appealing, especially after several years.
  • It can contribute to pollution. 

Steel

It’s known for its strength, thus making it a favorite choice as a structural component for huge, tall buildings. 

Pros:

  • It’s fire and weather-resistant, so it can last for years.
  • It’s durable, ensuring the building will not easily collapse.
  • It’s not prone to mold, termites, or rot. 

Cons:

  • It’s one of the most expensive materials.

Polycarbonate

It’s a polymer that is lighter but several times stronger than glass. This material is often used in roofing and walls. Many modern commercial buildings use multiwall polycarbonate and roofing because of their ease of installation, low maintenance, and aesthetics. They also allow natural light to get in. 

Pros:

  • It’s lightweight but durable, thus withstanding a heavy load.
  • It’s UV, fire, and weather resistant.
  • Easy to install and maintain.
  • It’s available in various light transmission and color options.
  • It’s impact resistant.

Cons:

  • It can be expensive, so it can be an issue if you are on a tight budget.
  • It’s also prone to scratches. 

Wood

It’s one of the older materials used in construction, and it’s readily available since it comes from renewable natural resources. However, it may not be ideal for structures with heavy loads due to its light weight. 

Pros:

  • It’s affordable and readily available.
  • The majority of contractors are experienced in working with wood materials.
  • It’s customizable, so you can easily make it in the shape you want.

Cons: 

  • There can be a lot of waste when sized or shaped onsite.
  • It’s prone to termites and rots.
  • Moisture can penetrate the wood causing mold or mildew growth.

Brick

This material is durable, and it’s also readily available. It’s great for keeping the building comfortable.

Pros:

  • It can help easily maintain the temperature inside the building, thus saving on the energy bill.
  • It can decrease outside noise, minimizing distractions for employees.
  • It’s durable, reusable, and recyclable.
  • It’s available in different colors and sizes.

Cons:

  • It’s hard to clean and maintain.
  • Also, it’s prone to mold if the place is high in moisture.

Work closely with your engineer to ensure you get the best materials for your project. These materials should make your building durable but still, fall under your budget.

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