A building is a fixed structure meant for human occupancy and uses. It provides shelter for man and his property.


Buildings are classified according to the following.

  1. Occupancy and uses
  2. The numbers of floors they have
  3. The types of materials used and its method of construction
  4. Occupancy and uses: It includes the following:

(a) Public building e.g. churches, theatres, stadium, etc.

(b) Institutional building e.g. hospitals, schools, etc.

(c) Residential building e.g. apartment blocks, hostels, dormitory

(d) Commercial building e.g. stores, factories, offices, ware houses, etc.


  1. The number of floors they have:

(a) Bungalow

(b) Storey building

(c) Duplex

(d) Detached building

(e) Semi-detached building

(f) Sky scrapers


  1. The types of materials used and its method of construction

(a) Wood building

(b) Hut

(c) Mud building

(d) Brick building

(e) Sand Crete building

(f) Glass building

(g) Stone building


Functions of building

The functions of buildings are:

  1. Shelter: The main purpose of building is to provide space and room for accommodation.
  2. Protection: buildings provide protection against rain, sun or any other weather condition
  3. Security: Buildings also provide security to property and human life against armed attack.
  4. Income source: buildings serve as a business venture for people. It also provides enabling environment for business purposes.
  5. Storage facilities: Warehouses, barns, etc. are built to provide storage
  6. Educational purpose: Facilities such as classrooms, laboratories, hostels are useful for educational purposes.


Common building materials and their uses

The following are the common materials used for building construction.

  1. Cement: This is an adhesive substance capable of building materials, fixing of tile, moulding block etc.
  2. Sand (fine aggregrate): It is a natural material dug from the ground, rivers, and sea beds or crushed stones. It is used for making blocks, concrete, mortar etc.
  3. Gamete/Gravel (coarse aggregate): Granites are crushed stones available in different sizes of 6mm, 12mm, 18mm, 24mm, etc. it is used to prepare concrete in building constructions because of its strong quality to withstand and carry loads.
  4. Hardcore: They are hard crushed rocks. They are bigger than granite in size. They are used for construction of buildings foundation and construction of walls.
  5. Cement block: Cement blocks are usually called sandcrete block. They are made from mixture of sand, cement and water in proportional ratio. The standard sizes are 225 x 225 x 675mm and 150 x 225 x 675mm.
  6. Bricks: They are made from clay and other materials like limestone, iron, magnesia etc. They are mostly available in red colour. They are used in masonry construction, for decorative walls, kiln construction, etc.
  7. Wood: It is obtained from trees and used for flooring, walling, roofing, doors, windows etc.
  8. Metal: It is a material made from ore and it possesses qualities such as strength and conductivity etc. that makes it a good choice for building. It is used for reinforcement for concrete, roof making, door, window, etc.
  9. Water: It is used for mixing concrete and mortar. It provides chemical processes that allow for building of materials and to make mortar or concrete plastic (soft).
  10. Glass: It is made from sand and available in different colours which makes it good choice for fabrication of doors, windows, walling of buildings and decorative purposes.
  11. Ceramics: It has high resistance to chemicals, water, weather and exists in different colours. These qualities make ceramics useful for finishing in building. Water closets, bath tubes, tiles, and other toilet wares are ceramic products.
  12. Plastic: The various fittings used in buildings made from plastic are roofing sheets, sanitary pipes, electrical fittings, etc.
  13. Grass/Leaves: Raffia grasses, palm leaves, bamboo are local materials for building in Africa. They used for building walls, roofing, ceiling etc.
  14. Mortar: It is a mixture of five aggregrate (sand), cement (binding materials) and water.
  15. Concrete: It is a mixture of cement, five aggregrate (sand), ratio and thoroughly mixed.


Term used in production of concrete

The following terms are used in connection with concrete:

  1. Mass concrete: This is a large quantity of concrete prepared to be used. It is used for building foundation, floors, retaining walls etc.
  2. Reinforced concrete: This is a concrete reinforced (supported) with steal or iron rods. The purpose of steel and iron rods in concrete is to give extra strength to concrete.
  3. Pre-cast concrete: this is a concrete that is first prepared outside the place of use. After it sets (become solid). It is transported and fixed at the place (location) where it is to be used.
  4. Cast-in-site concrete: This is concrete which is prepared and cast directly in the position it is to be used.
  5. Green concrete: It is not concrete that is yet to set or dry.

The mixture ratio for concrete is 2:3:6 which implies 2 head pan of cement, 3 head pan of sand and 6 head pan of gravel or granite to be thoroughly.


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