Concrete is arguably the most important building material, playing a part in all building structures. Its virtue is its versatility, i.e. its ability to be molded to take up the shapes required for the various structural forms. It is also very durable and fire resistant when specification and construction procedures are correct.
The complete building structure can be broken down into the following elements: -
- Beams horizontal members carrying lateral loads Slabs horizontal plate elements carrying lateral loads.
- Columns vertical members carrying primarily axial load but generally subjected to axial load and moment.
- Walls vertical plate elements resisting vertical, lateral or in-plane loads.
- Bases and foundations pads or strips supported directly on the ground that spread the loads from columns or walls so that they can be supported by the ground without excessive settlement. Alternatively the bases may be supported on piles.
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