Building Systems

Structural System

The structural system of a building is designed and constructed to support and transmit applied gravity and lateral loads to the ground without exceeding the allowable stresses in its members.

The superstructure is the vertical extension of a building above the foundation, Columns, beams, and loadbearing walls support floor and roof structures. The substructure is the underlying forming the foundation of a building.

Enclosure System

The enclosure system is the shell or envelope of a building, consisting of the roof, exterior walls, windows, and . The roofand exterior walls shelter interior spaces from inclement weather and control moisture, heat, and air flowthrough the layering of . Exterior walls and roofsalsodampen noise and provide security and privacy for the occupants of a building. Doors provide physical access,

Windows provide access to light, air, and views. and partitions subdivide the interior of a building into spatial units,

Mechanical Systems

The mechanical systems of a building provide essential services to a building. The water supply system provides potable water for human consumption and sanitation,

The sewage disposal system removes fluid waste and organic matter from a building, Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems condition the interior spaces of a building for the environmental comfortof the occupants. The electrical system controls, meters, and protects the electric power supply to a building, and distributes it in a safe manner for power, lighting, security, and communication systems.

Vertical transportation systems carry people and goods from one level to another in medium- and high-rise buildings. Fire-fighting systems detect and extinguish fires, Structures may also require waste disposal and recycling systems.

The manner in which we select, assemble, and integrate the various building systems in construction should take into account the following factors:

Performance Requirements

Structural compatibility, integration, and Fire resistance, prevention, and safety Allowable or desirable thickness of construction assemblies Control of heat and air flow through building assemblies Control of migration and condensation of water vapor Accommodation of building movement due to settlement, structural deflection, and expansion or contraction with changes in temperature and humidity Noise reduction, sound isolation, and acoustical privacy Resistance to wear, corrosion, and weathering Finish, cleanliness, and maintenance requirements Safety in use

Aesthetic Qualities

Desired relationship of building to its site, adjacent properties, and neighborhood Preferred qualities of form, massing, color, pattern, texture, and detail


Regulatory Constraints

Compliance with zoning ordinances and building codes

Economic Considerations

Initial cost comprising material, transportation, equipment, and labor costs Life-cycle costs, which include not only initial cost, but also maintenance and operating costs, energy consumption, useful lifetime, demolition and replacement costs, and interest on invested money

Environmental Impact

Conservation of energy and resources through siting and building Energy efficiency of mechanical systems Use of resource-efficient and nontoxic materials
Construction Practices


Safety requirements Allowable tolerances and appropriate fit Conformance to industry standards and assurance Division of work between the shop and the field Division of laborand coordination of building trades Budget constraints Construction equipment required Erection time required Provisions for inclement weather

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