Types of Masonry Construction, Characteristics and Common Uses

Types of Masonry Construction, Characteristics And Common Uses

Virtually, all buildings incorporate some type of masonry construction, whether it is a stone or concrete foundation, brick veneer walls, or terra cotta ornamentation. Preservation of these buildings requires a basic understanding of masonry types and their characteristics, technology and construction methodology, proper maintenance and conservation treatments.

Masonry is generally a highly durable form of construction. However, the quality of material used, together with the quality of the mortar and workmanship can strongly affect the durability of the overall masonry construction. Masonry is commonly used for the walls of buildings, retaining walls and monuments. Brick is the most common type of masonry and may be either load bearing or a veneer. Concrete Masonry Units (CMU’s) are made from concrete and are larger than ordinary bricks. CMU walls can be reinforced by filling the block voids with concrete and steel reinforcing bars. Typically, not all voids are filled, but rather those at corners, wall ends, adjacent to window and door openings, which increase wall strength and stability. Placement of steel reinforcement generally results in a CMU walls having much greater lateral and tensile strength than unreinforced walls.

The earliest material to be used was stone. It can be obtained in two ways: from natural outcroppings or scattered deposits, and by the process of quarrying. Most early buildings were constructed of stone readily available near the building site. Early stonemasons also were aware that certain stone types had more -weatherability- – able to withstand the effects of weather better than others – and they utilized each type in accordance with its properties. Stones may be laid up in their natural form, or broken and squared, or shaped, for the proper fit with other stones in the wall.

Quarrying, the industrial process of extracting stone from the earth requires substantial effort and technology. In this process, stone is drilled, blasted, fractured or cut from the quarry face, and then shaped and finished for use in construction.

Concrete masonry units (block and concrete brick are available in sizes, shapes, colors, textures, and profiles for practically every conceivable need and convenience in masonry construction. In addition, concrete masonry units may be used to create attractive patterns and designs to produce an almost unlimited range of architectural treatments of wall surfaces. The following are some more prominent uses:

Exterior load-bearing walls (below and above grade)

Interior load-bearing or non load bearing walls

Fire walls, party walls, curtain walls

Partitions, panel walls, solar screens

Backing for brick, stone, stucco, and other exterior facings

Veneer or nonstructural facing for wood, concrete, or masonry

Fire protection of structural steel members

Firesafe enclosures of stairwells, elevator shafts, storage vaults, or fire hazardous work areas

Piers, pilasters, columns

Bond beams, lintels, sills

Floor and roof systems

Retaining walls, slope protection, ornamental garden walls, and highway sound barriers

Chimneys and fireplaces

Catch basins, manholes, valve vaults

Paving and turf block

Solid brick masonry is made of two or more layers with the units running horizontally (called -stretcher- bricks) bound together with bricks running transverse to the wall (called -header- bricks). Each row of bricks is known as a course. The pattern of headers and stretchers employed gives to different bonds such as the common bond, with every sixth course composed of headers, the English bond, and the Flemish bond, with alternating stretcher and header bricks present on every course. There are no real significant utilitarian differences between most bonds, but the appearance of the finished walls is affected. Brickwork, like unreinforced concrete, has little tensile strength, and works by everything being kept in compression.

There are many brick laying patterns, the following are but a few:

Stack Bond The brick laying patterns described by this term are not structurally sound and are used only for decorative purposes. The stack bond is a run of stretchers with each stretcher stacked centered on the stretcher below it. All joints run vertically down the entire wall.

Running Bond brick laying patterns are a run of stretchers with each stretcher placed in the center of the stretcher below it. This pattern gives a reasonable amount of structural soundness.

English Bond is made up of alternating courses of stretchers and headers. This is the strongest bond for a one-brick thick wall.

Brick Terminology

Bat is a brick cut in half or quarter along the short face

Closer A queen closer is brick cut in half down the long face. They are used in corners of English or Flemish Bond.

Header Brick is laid in a wall, usually connecting two rows of a double wythe wall. The smallest end of the brick is horizontal, aligned with the surface of the wall and exposed to the weather.

Quoins are groups of brick that project slightly from the face of a wall at the corner of a building. The pattern often alternates with several courses projecting bricks, and several courses that are aligned with the wall. The pattern of projecting quoins often alternates with the brickwork on the other side of the corner.

Rowlock is a complete course of brick laid on its side, with the shortest end of the brick exposed and vertical. Commonly used on the top course as a coping for a garden wall.

Sailor Brick are laid on its end with the largest, broad face exposed.

Shiner Brick laid on edge like a sailor, but the broad face is set horizontally.

Soldier Brick often is a complete course of brick laid on end vertically, with the narrow side exposed in the face of the wall.

Wythe is a single vertical wall of brick.

Clay Brick vs. Concrete

The formula for brick making has not changed for hundreds of years. The primary ingredients are clays and shale. It is these ingredients that give natural brick its colors and hue.

The natural color of concrete is gray. In order to give concrete bricks color, additives are necessary to create the variety of colors. Weather and the ultraviolet rays of the sun can cause concrete bricks to fade over time.

Concrete bricks have a tendency to shrink. During the concrete curing process, if the bricks are not properly cured prior to being delivered to the jobsite, shrinking and cracking will appear at the mortar joints and can allow water to enter the wall cavity.

According to a recent survey of architects, designers, engineers, and environmental planners and managers conducted by the Portland Cement Association (PCA), 77 percent chose concrete as a sustainable material. Overall, respondents ranked concrete favorably for its energy efficiency, durability and reduced maintenance. Over 500 individuals participated in the blind survey presented in an Internet survey form by a third party web host.

According to PCA President, -buildings with exterior concrete walls utilize less energy to heat and cool than similarly insulated buildings with wood or steel frame walls-. Additionally, -the superior insulation, air tightness, and mass of the walls can reduce energy for heating and cooling by up to 40%.

Alan Trauger is a Building Consultant that performs property condition assessments for residential and commercial properties. An experienced and knowledgeable problem solver, understanding processes and issues related to building structures and their systems. An expert witness, trainer, and educator. To review Authors Bio, qualifications, and interest in receiving future email newsletters http://www.alantrauger.com

To learn more about how your real estate tax assessment is prepared and how to appeal your property taxes. Property Tax Reduction Manual

Functions Of Mechanical Tools And Equipments Used For Construction

A construction site usually has many mechanical tools and equipments in the scene, each having a specific and important function to perform. The main purpose of using mechanical tools like cement mixers is to significantly lower down the work load of the construction site workers.

These machine based tools and equipments also enable fast construction works that save time as well as construction costs. It is the result of using these powerful tools that even the biggest construction projects are completed with ease and within the designated deadlines. For the rest of the discussion, you can learn about the functionality of cement mixers and other construction site mechanical tools.

Cement or Concrete Mixers

Concrete is an important constituent required for the construction work. cement mixers are the mechanical tools used for the preparation of concrete by mixing cement, sand and water. The function of these tools is to make concrete ready on the construction site so that it can be used for construction before hardening. These mixers have wheels that make them easy to be transported to different parts of construction sites. Concrete mixing transportation trucks are the advanced versions of these mixers.

Forklifts

Forklift is a useful construction site mechanical equipment type which is also known by many names like lift truck, trailer loader, tow motor and fork truck. An important function of these trucks is to lift the construction materials. They are also used for the transportation of these materials. Some of the common forklift designs include hand pallet truck, rider stacker, side loader, rider stacker and others.

Loaders

Just like cement mixers and forklifts, loaders too are the important mechanical tools that are a part of any construction project. As the name suggests, these equipments are used to load different construction materials like asphalt, gravel, sand, rock and debris to other types of mechanical equipments. Dump tucks, for example are loaded with debris, dirt or other waste materials using loaders. Some of the popular designs of these equipments include armored wheel loaders, tractor front loaders and skid loaders.

Cranes

In order to lift and move abnormally heavy loads, cranes are the befitting equipments one can see at different construction sites. It is one machine which makes use of many small mechanical tools to perform its functions. Lever, pulley and hydraulic cylinder are among the small machines that enable a crane to work. There are numerous types of cranes, each designed to perform for different projects related to construction industry.

Backhoe Loaders

Small construction projects require small sized cement mixers and loaders. Backhoe loaders are the mechanical equipments used for building a small house or repairing a road or any other similar type of project. Transportation of building materials, paving roads and demolition of small structures are among the functions performed by these machines.

Skid steer, excavators, crawlers, road rollers and many other mechanical tools and equipments are used in conjunction with cement mixers, cranes and other aforementioned machines to make task easier at construction sites. It is important that all these importance machines are purchased carefully and only from reputed manufacturers and suppliers.

Environmental Management Systems For The Construction Industry

Currently harmonized Environmental Management Systems (EMS) is generally taken in the business scene. As we know, environmental management systems first established in Japan (in the electronic industry) in the 1980s and later spread out to USA and Europe. In latter places, EMS was used primarily by great harming establishments including chemical and power. Later on it was steadily brought in to other fields which had fewer environmental shocks.

A great number of construction businesses all around the world are experiencing a great number of environmental setbacks. Such as, strict and complex environmental laws and regulations, bringing up compliance costs and hefty penalties for violation could affect every construction companys success regarding profitability and development. Apart from these rising situations, increasing public interest on environmental concerns has catalysed the construction enterprises to think in another way or look for state of the art techniques to strengthen or sustain their solvency.

In the same way, a great number of construction firms (either small or large) have demonstrated that a sensible EMS is not simply beneficial in many different ways but in addition a innovative tactic to remain competitive in a tremendously erratic sector.

Toward ecologically sustainable enhancement

The construction market creates streets, railways, schools, hospitals, local community and recreational functions and various installations that shape our built environment and contour our landscape. Up until recently, economic advancement, social regimens and environment protection came about mostly in seclusion from one another. These days, however, there is a rising understanding that these arrangements are interconnected and that social, economic and ecological targets are interdependent. Ecologically Sustainable Development has actually been described as: using, conserving and enhancing the communitys resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased.

It is a well-known reality that countless number of construction corporations internationally have exceptionally benefited through implementation of EMS. To illustrate, the benefits are many:
Cutting down expenses due to judicious utilization of resources and waste minimization
Ability to comply with rigorous environmental laws and regulations. Thus, reducing consequences, delays and refrain from fees and penalties.
Ability to observe or observe environmental concerns concerning many phases of construction projects
Increased competitiveness and discover market options simply by environmentally friendly construction programs available to environmentally sensitive patrons
Facilitate highly effective correspondence and dialogue involving all stakeholders involved internally as well as externally. In other words, fostering better relationships with regulators or law enforcement agencies including the communities.
Greater business image as a socially and ecologically accountable construction firm,
Producing a highly involved (or encouraged) and responsible team or a open environmental crew inside of the group

A highly effective EMS signifies not merely always keeping the exterior working environment healthy but additionally maintaining a safe and healthy working situation through Occupational and Healthy (OH&S) procedures. Fundamentally, the previous will incorporate implementation of ISO14001 and the second incorporate occupational health and safety steps specified in OHSAS18002:2008. This demonstrates EMS and OH&S precautions should combine together for effective implementation of an EMS in a construction firm.

The ISO14001 international standards stipulates the precise prerequisites for an EMS. It basically applies to environmental issues which the construction firm has the control over and at the same time many of these issues can have an impact on its efficiency.

In simple terms, ISO14001 is a voluntary standard that may be used by any construction company. It mostly supports the business to carefully deal with construction actions that have a negative influence on the environment. Particularly, it consists of 17 elements or attributes grouped into five essential areas:
Environmental Policy
Planning
Implementation and operation
Checking and corrective action
Management Review

Mainly, ISO14001 can help any kind of construction organization to abide by relevant environmental law regulations whilst boosting the environmentally connected tasks on a repeated basis.

Actually, any Environmental Management System (EMS) is a special management process which goes after Plan-Do-Check-Act model or method. It presents a strategy to ascertain all environmental aspects related to operations of a construction business. Also, it will help the entity in question not just to build up, implement, keep tabs on, review, and modify action plans and methods on frequent basis but moreover boost the construction companys all round operations that have a direct effect on the environment.

A sound environmental procedure in construction ventures means:

Conducting for all projects a Comprehensive environmental impact analysis, encompassing all stages straight from inception right through to operation and, finally, decommissioning or demolition. All of the detected impacts must be removed (where possible) or mitigated through the lifecycle of the project.

Integrating during the entire project lifecycle the Environmental management principles and systems.

Applying Environmental consciousness strategies to make certain contractors can potentially complete their environmental management assignments and duties.

Resource preservation and management needs to be an important consideration at every stage from project inception right through to operations and, eventually, decommissioning or demolition.

The crucial need for effective environmental management is that environmental situations should be found, examined and maintained throughout every stage of a projects life: from start off through design, building and operation to eventual demolition/disposal.

In summing up, EMS is mainly a management tool for modern construction company. With rapidly raising environmentally involved client base, any construction company must adjust a very good EMS in order to boost its market share or maintain its business. It will obviously gather well known gains such as:
Improved environmental regulatory compliance requirements
Minimise risks and liabilities
Appreciably reduce or minimize waste and pollution
Substantial cost savings through increased performance and motivated staff
Establishes procedures or system for continual improvement
Enhance corporate image among all stakeholders such as investors, potential customers, community groups and regulatory authorities.

Babis Vovos International Construction S.A. (VOVOS) – Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review

Babis Vovos International Construction S.A. (BVIC) is a real estate developer. It acts as a developer, owner and manager of properties. BVIC is also engaged in the property development and investment. The company is principally active in the business of development and planning, building construction, sale or lease and management facilities. It principally focuses on the office property market. BVIC, also undertakes after sale management of building facilities. The company is focused on retail, office and tourist property markets. It operates across Greece. The company is headquartered at Neo Psichiko, Greece.

This comprehensive SWOT profile of Babis Vovos International Construction S.A. provides you an in-depth strategic analysis of the company’s businesses and operations. The profile has been compiled by GlobalData to bring to you a clear and an unbiased view of the company’s key strengths and weaknesses and the potential opportunities and threats. The profile helps you formulate strategies that augment your business by enabling you to understand your partners, customers and competitors better.

This company report forms part of GlobalData’s -Profile on Demand’ service, covering over 50,000 of the world’s leading companies. Once purchased, GlobalData’s highly qualified team of company analysts will comprehensively research and author a full financial and strategic analysis of Babis Vovos International Construction S.A. including a detailed SWOT analysis, and deliver this direct to you in pdf format within two business days. (excluding weekends).

The profile contains critical company information including*,

– Business description – A detailed description of the company’s operations and business divisions. – Corporate strategy – Analyst’s summarization of the company’s business strategy. – SWOT Analysis – A detailed analysis of the company’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. – Company history – Progression of key events associated with the company. – Major products and services – A list of major products, services and brands of the company. – Key competitors – A list of key competitors to the company. – Key employees – A list of the key executives of the company. – Executive biographies – A brief summary of the executives’ employment history. – Key operational heads – A list of personnel heading key departments/functions. – Important locations and subsidiaries – A list and contact details of key locations and subsidiaries of the company. – Detailed financial ratios for the past five years – The latest financial ratios derived from the annual financial statements published by the company with 5 years history. – Interim ratios for the last five interim periods – The latest financial ratios derived from the quarterly/semi-annual financial statements published by the company for 5 interims history. For more information kindly visit : http://www.companyprofilesandconferences.com/researchindex/Manufacturing-Construction-c24/Babis-Vovos-International-Construction-SA-VOVOS-Financial-and-Strategic-SWOT-Analysis-Review.html

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Construction Estimating Tips

The first and foremost stage is drawing the plan for construction. Once the plan has been drawn the next stage is the stage of the construction estimate. The right estimation of cost is very important for going ahead appropriately with the plans of construction. The estimate should be accurate and should be such that considers all areas of cost. Cost estimation is not a simple task but is one that must be done systematically and accurately.

For drawing the correct estimate you must firstly gather the right information. The current cost of material, labor and other expenses must be gathered. The calculations must be made on the current costs so as to get a realistic picture. The estimate must take into account all heads of costs that would be incurred on the project and must also cater for the profit element.

The estimation of construction costs is actually a cumbersome time consuming activity, but is very important. No project can go ahead without an accurate construction estimate. The estimate regarding the overall project must be made along with the individual aspects. What you are constructing whether a house, office or anything else would make a big difference. The type of construction and what you are constructing would make all the difference to the requirements for the project. The difference in material and labor would bring about a difference in the cost of the project.

With the developments in technology working out the costs of construction has also been made simple. The specialized software for estimation of construction costs would be of great help in trying to find out the overall estimate of the project as well as finding the breakdown regarding the individual stages and areas. You could either use a specialized software meant only for the purpose or else there are templates that can be downloaded to equip your excel program to make some of the required calculations. The software meant for estimating construction costs can be used for finding out the details of cost estimation for individual portions of the entire project. Several options are available for you to choose from. The software is designed to handle multiple functions and greatly simplifies the task of cost estimation. There are also features that help merge details of one project with that of another. It makes cost estimation simple as well as quick. The changes made can also be calculated in no time at all. The construction cost estimating software is a simple and quick way of making accurate cost estimates.