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2- Table of content
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Building Construction and control portfolio
There are many aspects of building and construction that are worth elaborating in great detail. This report explores these aspects through six questions. The answers to each of these questions are regard as outcomes. The main issues addressed include fundamentals of building and construction, materials for use in building and construction, and forms of communication in the field of building and construction. Information on how building trades, professionals and authorities get involved in building and construction is also presented. The issues of evolving building standards, common building, and the dynamics of statutory requirements are also analysed.
This reports is analyzes the activities that we carried out in the assignment, how we shared information regarding various aspects of building and construction. The first outcome addressed the fundamentals of conventional an innovative construction in both small and commercial industrial buildings. In the second outcome, the report provides details on communication with other professions with regard to the use of building terminology.
In the third outcome, focus is on the roles played by various professionals, building trades, and authorities. The fourth outcome provides an interpretation and application of evolving statutory requirements for building projects. In the fifth outcome, the report identifies the most common building problems, their causes, and effective treatments. The last outcome addresses the appropriate type of construction in efforts to formulate different buildings schemes.
There are numerous fundamentals of construction that matter in both domestic and commercial buildings. I have learned many things about these fundamentals and their importance in different realms of the construction industry. The main realms within the construction industry revolve around concrete-work, steelworks, and brickwork.
In brickwork, two categories predominate as far as usage in domestic construction is concerned (Frederick 2009, p. 109). One of the categories is the pressed bricks, which is the most commonly occurring, and the wire-cut bricks, which are produced in kilns in the absence of fire, thereby making them very durable.
The use of concrete is also common within the contemporary construction industry and a lot of focus was put on it during our lectures. The first aspect of the discussion focused on concrete stumps. Emphasis was on the reinforcement that is normally put on these stumps and the need to use stumps that already have cracks in them. In the lectures, some attention was also put on concrete patios. These were said to be made of suspended slab. The exception was when there was solid ground, in which case a one-way slab should be used.
The lectures also addressed the issue of precast concrete. This concrete was found to be appropriate in areas where there is a requirement for very similar components. A case in point where this concrete would fit was in areas with structural members aimed at bringing about reinforcement. On the contrary, prefabricated concrete has to be casted before being put in the appropriate structural positioning and eventually transported and fixing into the right place.
Timber is the other key construction resource that is commonly used in all types of buildings. In fact the most common type of construction is timber housing. Most building frames are made using timber. These frames vary in pedigree, of which one of the most preferred yardstick is the content of moisture retained by the piece of wood. Another key consideration is the presence or absence of gum veins and knotting.
Different species of wood are normally used for different tasks. Unseasoned hardwood, for instance, is an excellent choice in the construction of frames owing to its rigidity. Moreover, in case any repairs are needed, the unseasoned hardwood can be easily refurbished. In the case of unseasoned hardwood, the main advantage is that of stability in all dimensions. Moreover, unlike unseasoned hardwood, seasoned hardwood does no warp or split easily. Moreover, it exhibits more strength when bent and compressed hence it comes out as stiffer compared to unseasoned hardwood. It is for this reason that it is preferred in the construction of stairs, floors, and trusses. Aesthetically, seasoned hardwood is attractive, and it is for this reason that it is used in areas that require maximum exposure. This also makes it appropriate in both domestic and corporate constructions.
Radiate pine is also worth discussing with regard to its characteristics and uses (Schexnayder 2008, p. 29). It is used in the making of both structures and for both interior and exterior decorations. Radiate pine is easy for use with a wide range of commonly-used tools owing to the fact that it is soft. It differs from engineering timber, which is formed by joining smaller pieces of timber to form a large component.
Although the conventionally conceived constructions are crucial and have been in use for ages, an underlying goal remains to ensure that stability is always maintained in the final structure. In the present course, we explored numerous aspects relating to materials used in framings and the categories of wood used in these framings, which have been addressed earlier on in this paper. It became clear that unbranded timber is unsuitable for use in construction because it may not have satisfied the standard threshold as far as the need to regulate framings is concerned.
Forms of construction that are economical are normally preferred (Merritt 2009, p. 38). This is because of the fact that resources are limited and the same case applies with regard to the construction industry. This explains the preference for innovative types of materials for construction purposes. Apart from being economical, efficiency is also a major factor. This fact became clear during our assignment in the beginning, which involved designing a building for thirty employees, which had the capacity to be relocated to a different place.
In this assignment, the first goal was to ensure that the materials used would make the task of relocating the building easy. In this regard, attention had to be on ways of transporting the building. The first task entailed researching about factory-made prefabricated structures, which are first constructed as different parts before being reassembled. Next, the report focused on relocatable structures in which case a lot of emphasis was on sketches of such buildings. The design in this case was in such a way that the element of flexibility was put into consideration. Moreover, the necessary technological advancements were incorporated, and efforts were made to ensure a healthy environment on which to carry out all the activities.
Prefabricated buildings are unique because of the fact that their different components are constructed separately before being delivered to the intended location and put together into a complete house. Such buildings differ from those that entail the transportation of materials which are afterwards assembled at the site. In the case of prefabricated houses, the only materials that are transported to the site for final assembly are those required in laying down the foundations. In this regard, the main concern for architects is the possibility of the slab not being suited for the purpose, thereby posing a risk to the workers’ safety as well as weakened structural integrity.
Communication is important in all its forms in the building process. We now know the importance of adopting a professional approach in the communication process in ensuring that desirable outcomes are achieved in the construction process. Moreover, we are aware of the need for engineers to use different forms of communication, especially verbal, graphical, and written communication.
In graphic communication, these professionals use photos, images, and sketch work. I got to know what it means to use the graphic method of communication during the different activities that I undertook in the course of the week. In these activities, we had to draw images for interpretation by other professionals. A good example is the activity in which we were asked to come up with an image of some residential houses along Randell Street. In that report, we had to use hand-made sketches as well as the Auto CAD program to make a sketch of transportable offices. In that undertaking I realized that it was possible to use Auto CAD to come up with professional graphics. When I enter into the field as a professional, I hope that this knowledge and skills will enable me make progress in terms of experience. I hope that I will use this knowledge to win the hearts of prospective clients when making bids for various building projects.
In verbal communication, people may choose to communicate either through the face-to-face medium or through telephone conversations. This form of communications requires knowledge of a language as well as proper choice of words, tone, and intonation patterns. Communications made in this way may be intended for one person, a group of professionals working as a time, or for many people who are in dispersed locations, like in the case of internet and phone conversations.
I take pride in having learned about the importance of communicating verbally in different contexts. The first notable thing that I learned is the way the subject was being communicated to the entire class through the word of mouth. Other than that, I have been demonstrating the ease with which I can communicate with colleagues in a team about ways of solving different engineering problems. This translated into an improvement in my communication skills, such that I am more confident when communicating anything with teachers and research assistants. One such practical applications of this form of communication was through the oral presentation I made about ways of designing steel for building purposes. I think that the oral skills are of great value both at present and in the future, since a time will come when clients will insist that I should make an oral presentation.
Written communication employs the written word. It is not possible for a construction project to complete without the use of written communication. This shows how important it always is for professionals in the field of engineering to polish their skills as far as communicating with the written word is concerned. Many document entail writing down words in a manner that communicates something in an accurate, precise, and coherent manner. Examples of such documents include memos, emails, faxes, and news releases. Excellent writing skills are needed, particularly in this era of over-reliance on computers as well as information and communication technology.
Students have no choice but to improve their writing skills. This was evident in the situation where students were required to complete two written assignments. Moreover, students had to apply their written skills whenever making formal communication with group members regarding various meetings. This shows the value of communication skills in the process of constructing buildings.
My the analysis of this outcome will entail focus on different professionals, professional bodies, as well as trade specialties that are play a role in ensuring that all buildings are constructed in a satisfactory manner. The aim is to provide a demonstration of my awareness regarding the roles that different people play in order to ensure success in the process of building both commercial and residential buildings.
To start with, trades people perform a wide range of activities, including welding, painting, fixing steel constructions, laying down tiles, plastering, and installing refrigeration equipment. Other trades people make boilers, create carpentry joineries, as well as undertake plumbing activities. These activities are carried out at different times as required during the process of constructing buildings.
The training offered to trades people exposes them to both on-the-job tasks as well as classroom-based learning. In both cases, craftspeople have to be present to provide professional guidance in areas of both theory and practice as far as different tasks are concerned. Mostly, trades people receive certificates upon completion of their courses. However, a clear line is normally drawn between them and technicians. This is reflected in the titles given to them in their jobs and professional classifications. In this study, it emerged that both technicians and tradespeople play critical roles in the generation of new insights, and innovative advice throughout the construction process.
It is the responsibility of the head builder to ensure that there is proper management of all aspects of the work being undertaken by tradespeople. They monitor the activities that are being undertaken at the location. The builder also monitors the progress of the entire project. To achieve this goal, he should be able to employ different professional approaches, particularly in the monitoring process.
Professionals have to get involved at every stage, from design to completion of a building. Architects play roles that are different from those of surveyors, whose job description, in turn, differs from that of engineers. All these people are experts who have acquired training in an institution of higher learning, specifically at university. In most cases, this higher education is acquired for a period of four years, after which the individuals acquire a university degree. This explains the source of their high-level expertise.
The work of architects is mainly building design. The work starts with sketches before the ideas are finalized through special programs. Architects have to work in close liaison with site managers and owners regarding the planning phase of buildings. They also have to keep travelling to the building location in order to inspect the work. In this way, they ensure that all specifications have been adhered to, including the appropriate design work.
Different categories of engineers perform different roles in the construction process. Structural engineers, for example, have to inspect the site and ensure that the activities being undertaken are in line with what was agreed upon as per all formal sketches, timelines, and specifications. This is done those close monitoring work that is focused on the materials used to construct the building as well as the method used. On the other hand, the mechanical has to monitor all the electrical work in order to ensure that it matches the requirements states at the planning and design stages.
The quantity surveyor specializes on cost of production of the building process. If this cost exceeds the cost that the owner and engineers estimated, at the design and planning stage, the blame would on quantity surveyors. Their work should commence at the beginning of the construction project and end when the entire project is complete. These professionals normally use standard quality management plans for construction projects in order to ensure that not only has the right quantity of materials been adhered to, but also that there is soundness of quality in the project in its completed version. This means that they have to put into consideration the aesthetic quality of the building.
The surveyors also have to keep track of all expenses involved in the project. They note them down and carry out cost accounting tasks before making comparisons with the estimations that were documented at the start of the building project. These professionals claim to have put the construction process under control only if all the costs are at a close range to the cost that was estimated at the start of the project.
Moreover, quantity surveyors have to keep track of deadlines, since in most cases, delays translate into additional costs. For this goal to be achieved, a high level of monitoring precision and experience is required and a comparison made with the amount of time is expected to lapse before the building is finally completed. One of the tools that quantity surveyors employ to ensure accuracy of time-cost estimations is Gantt chart. This chart shows the progress that is being made as time progresses.
Evidently, therefore, professionals have a crucial role to play in ensuring that buildings are planned, designed, and constructed according to strict specifications, requirements, and agreements. It is the professionals’ responsibility to ensure that the completed project was undertaken with precision with regard to cost, time and specifications.
Authority comes from various government bodies and offices, both at the state and local levels. These bodies and offices are responsible for determining which laws are to be enforced and applied in issues such as how people should own and sell land, in addition to a myriad of issues pertaining to the building and construction industry. Regarding buying and selling of land, the authorities clearly stipulate which parties should sign which legal documents. For instance, the law states which document should be signed by the land owner and which one should be signed by the architect.
In some instances, the local council demands to be requested for authorization even when an individual wants to renovate his house. Such a requirement is normally put in place in order to cater for situations whereby a building also serves as a historic relic. In such a situation, the authorities demand that the renovation work has to be carried out in such a way as to preserve its historical heritage, hence the need for the owner to seek permission first.
Owners of buildings and building projects have to be prepared to dispense with tedious paperwork from the local council before the work can commence. The paperwork mainly covers issues of power installations, sewerage, and public safety. This paperwork is applicable whether one is constructing a house in which to live or to use for commercial purposes. In some countries, the laws that apply before the construction work can commence differ from one state to the other and from one local authority to the other.
There are numerous situations where the involvement of the authorities is compulsory. A case in point is a situation where a new land owner intends to construct a new building. In such a case, there is a legal document that must be signed by the new owner, indicating that land transfer has taken place from the previous landowner to the present one. Another case in point is the requirement by authorities for contractors to avail detailed layouts of building size, construction plans, size of workforce, and sewerage connections, and provisions for sanitation.
Local councils are responsible for providing permits to those who want to put up buildings. It is also responsible for instructing supervision of all building projects as well as the setting up of the construction site. An excellent example is that of Victoria, where the local council requires that all sites where projects are to be commenced to be fenced using iron sheets, veneer boards, with the fence height requirement being not less than 2 metres. The reason for doing this is to ensure the safety of the people passing by or living near the site as well as to secure the materials from theft.
Sometimes, it becomes that an employee is unfortunately injured or met with death at the site. In such a case, it is the role of the authorities to launch a probe into the circumstances surrounding the accident or death, and where necessary, to take appropriate action (Written communication skills 2011, p. 2). It is also common for some workers to be dissatisfied with the standards within which they have to carry out their daily activities at the project site, or alternatively, they may feel that the wages are too low. In such a situation, the best reference point is the authorities, which provide the statutory safety requirements as well as the minimum wage. Whenever the workers feel that the contractors are not adhering to these standards, they are may lodge complaints with the authorities.
In the building industry, there are legal requirements that apply across the board, thereby taking the shape of regulations. These requirements, which are fully supported in law, address areas of standards of buildings, maintenance, and protection of all the people who come to the proximity of the site where the building is being erected, including the workers themselves. These requirements also address the issue of cost-effectiveness. Additionally, they address issues relating to energy conservation and measures of ensuring that the site is easily accessible. The Building Code of Australia is the statutory threshold for everyone involved in building a structure, whether for private use or for commercial purposes (Uher 2010, p. 82). At this point, it is imperative to focus on different aspects of these statutory requirements and the changes that they have been undergoing in the course of time.
The first aspect addresses safety standards. In this section, the standards clearly stipulate that it is upon the construction manager to oversee the safety of the buildings under construction. In this quest, the construction manager is required to carry out soil sample experiments before determining the level of safety of the foundation of the structure.
There must be adequate measures for ensuring that if a fire breaks out, there would enough equipment to put it out. Installation of soundproof materials is also a requirement, with the aim being noise reduction for people living in the nearby dwellings (Materials and construction 2011, p. 3). Moreover, the areas where workers are involved in different activities need to be well ventilated in order to prevent poisoning or suffocation. The site also needs to be properly drained to avoid the emergence of floods. Additionally, the safety of electrical installations must never be taken for granted, and electricians undertaking various related tasks at the site have a responsibility of ensuring that this safety standard is met.
It is the responsibility of construction managers to put measures in place aimed at ensuring that power is conserved. No fuel should be wasted, and measures should be put in place to ensure that buildings are heated in a controlled manner, such that no energy is lost.
Accessibility is about ensuring that everyone can reach to any destination within the building. Old people and persons with disability should be able to access the building as easily as everyone else. This requirement calls for efforts to install walkways and other utilities that enhance accessibility to everyone. The building also needs to have toilets for both in-house employees and those who visit, with special utilities being fixed for use by persons with disability.
The statutory regulations are designed in such a way as to create a situation where each building has a permit of occupancy, and that this permit has been issued in a procedural manner. Sometimes situations arise where a government officer has to inspect a building before a permit of occupancy is provided for the building.
Typically, policymakers make regular reference to laws and statutory regulations governing the construction industry (Alan 1938, p. 182). The aim of this undertaking is to streamline them with the dynamics relating to activities relating to buying and selling of land, policies on safety, and heritage considerations. Moreover, unions have a special place by virtue of looking into the welfare of each member. In this regard, it is clear that just like living organisms, these regulations are always in a state of evolution.
Numerous problems are faced by those who engage in the construction business, both while designing and when they have already embarked on the actual construction work. To determine the best way of fixing them, there is a need to understand what causes these problems in the first place. Through the present course, I have learned many things relating to common challenges faced while building a structure, most of which have something to do with the materials chosen for the work.
Nevertheless, there are others, most of which were mentioned in tutorial. One of them is the tendency by the client to have a sudden mind-change and to start wanting a project that is completely different from what was initially designed. This forces engineers to think of new designs in order to satisfy the aesthetic desires of the client.
Tutorial Seven has an excellent illustration of such a problem. The client started insisting on a design that completely new to us. He presented a dream-house sketching, insisting that he wanted his house to look that way from the front. This forced us to make amendments on the existing plan as well as drawings. On the first floor was subjected to some changes at the front-view while the positioning of the windows had to be changed completely. We had to change the flooring design and all ground-related plans in order to meet the requirements of the customer. At the end of these changes, the front side of the house had three sides and there was also an elevation.
In this tutorial, there were numerous illustrations of problems relating to this one, where the design that had been conceived at the beginning had to be altered in a way that ensured that new problems did not arise. In another problem, the client changed the design and emphasized that the ground level should be naturally elevated in order to day away with stilts and the related problems of flowing. In light of this new requirement, the design had to be changed through cut-and-fill processes on all sides of the house. However, in this undertaking, most of the students failed to realize that a new problem would be created, that of accessibility, hence the need for additional steps on the front-door entrance.
The problem where paint peels off is also common, especially on walls with plaster on them or those that get damp because of rain, moisture, or proximity to the sea. At other times, chalkiness and wrinkling of paint is a common phenomenon, which is mainly as a result of wind, rainfall or temperature from the sun. Many paint layers would go a long way in dealing with this problem.
Roof defects also constitute a major anomaly in construction projects. Whenever roofing tiles age, they should be replaced. Once there are cracks on the tiles and the nailing system has become corroded, the owner should know that time for refurbishment has come.
Unstable foundations can also cause major problems in a building. Geological factors, in many cases, play a key role in the occurrence of unstable foundations. With such a problem existing, a building may be declared unsafe for inhabitation by people (Pedrycz 2000, p. 6). Sometimes, damp areas cause weaknesses that are accelerated by wet, decaying walls. Roots of tall trees that are in close proximity to the house may also cause the floor to crack. In other areas, heavy traffic causes the surrounding surface to vibrate, triggering the foundational instability.
Nevertheless, it is not prudent to ignore the fact that some foundations may become unstable simply because the workmanship did not live up to the required professional standards. Some engineers may authorize the use of substandard materials, leading to a poor-quality structure.
In every construction project, one can be certain to find complex types of information, which requires to be managed properly for it to be of great use. The safety of the information is also a major factor that should be put into consideration. Loss or misplacement of information can lead to delays in project takeoff. There is need for all materials to be requested in advance so that delivery is made on time.
Moreover, there is always crucial information that has to be known prior the commencement of the project. In this case the main issues involve budgeting, creation of document for use at the design stage, estimates relating to costing, construction scheduling, and monitoring for quality purposes. There is also legal paperwork to contend with as well as inspection documents and issues relating to regulations.
All this kind of information keeps changing as the project progresses. This is because a considerable amount of it evolves, thereby triggering change in other ones. An obvious example is the extension of timelines, which triggers an increase in costs. Therefore, there is need for special attention to be put on planning and analytical issues because they significantly influence the level of success of the project. Although it is possible to ignore this stage, it may be very crucial in the course of the project implementation for analysis to be carried out so that all the desired changes can be put into consideration.
Our second assignment entailed a shade-sail structure. In this one, we undertook all the steps required to ensure that we put into consideration all the requirements. We were particularly keen on those requirements that could impact significantly on the project’s outcome or timelines. We ensured that all steps were followed, particularly at the beginning, in which case there was a need to carry out planning. We felt that with proper planning the shade-sail would perform in accordance to our expectations. The points that were of the greatest interest to us included the sun’s movement, the design of the structure, and the architectural layout.
Regarding architecture, I proposed we put in place diagonally positioned points that were opposite all the low- and high-placed points. The aim was to ensure that load pressure emanating from rainfall was not trapped onto the flat sail. We also put into consideration the length and width of the sail, in which case different points of the sail were set far enough apart. This allowed for proper positioning of rigging tensioners.
Moreover, the process of designing the structure was put into consideration as well as the ways in which the structure would facilitate the handling of loads. A special consideration was put on footing sizes because of the way they were dependent upon structure size. In our work, the ‘one-third-in-one-third-out’ principle was put into practice with regard to the distance between the post and ground-level. At this point, we were keen about underground services in which case we ensured that no additional expenses were incurred by drilling holes for inserting the footings. The danger of additional expenses was real because of the possibility of damaging them. Additionally, we deemed it fit to put in place steel posts and not pieces of wood because steel is longer lasting. In all these stages, all building regulations were fully adhered to.
We then fixed points and then measured the area. Next, we ordered the shade sail when it was the right time to do so. We were keen to ensure that it would get to where it was needed at the right time. The ordering process was also efficient since everything that was required had been delivered on time. Therefore, there was no any lateness in the process of providing measurements, as that of selecting footings and fabric color-type. In the final stage, all the components were laid out and attached to their appropriate positions.
In this report, six different outcomes have been explored in detail, all of which relate to building and construction projects. The information provided in this report is of great help to professionals working in the building and construction industry. It provides them with the right skills to ensure that they understand their profession better. This is particularly the case in the areas of terminology and communication skills.
Alan, E, 1938, Fundamentals of building construction: materials and methods, John Willey & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.
Frederick, G, 2009, Managing the construction process, estimating, scheduling, and project control (3rd Ed.), Longman, London.
Materials and construction, 2011, cited on 27 September 2011 https://ce6.vu.edu.au/webct/urw/lc9140001.tp0/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct.
Merritt, F, 2009, Building and construction handbook (5th Ed.), McGraw-Hill, New York.
Pedrycz, W, 2000, ‘Fuzzy modelling: Fundamentals, construction and evaluation’, Fuzzy Sets and Systems, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 1-15.
Schexnayder , M, 2008, Construction management fundamentals, Free Press,New York.
Uher, T, 2010, Fundamentals of Building Contract Management, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.
Written communication skills, 2011, cited on 26 September 2011 http://www.answers.com/topic/written-communication.
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