Traditional Construction

traditional construction materialsAfter the evolution of modern building methods, traditional construction fell by the wayside. During earthquakes, many of the traditional buildings withstood the damage while modern buildings underwent greater amount of destruction. Some forms of traditional construction are discussed below which will give you an outline about the processes involved to strengthen the structure.

Cob walls: These are constructed with the ingredients namely clayey soil, straw, and stone. This construction was slightly altered later with the introduction of timber shuttering. In this, the mixture was applied between the shuttering. Sometimes lime was added to the mixture to quicken the setting time.

Stone walls: It is a masonry structure which was used by farmers thousands of years ago with the help of mortar and plaster. This was used in the construction of fortifications, castles, and city walls. It is made with the piling of stones such as sandstone, limestone, flint, and granite. The endurance of stone walls was very questionable due to its resistance to weather and water penetration. Granite and portland limestone offer good resistance to weather.

Cavity walls: These are found in Greek and Roman structures. They are two brick blocks or concrete blocks separated by a hollow space. This cavity drains water acquired from dampness thereby insulating the building. It keeps the inside of the building warm. This construction needs appropriate structural design and a good workmanship. Cavity wall construction is time consuming and hence it is expensive. Due to environmental issues, this cavity wall is becoming popular nowadays.

Non-cavity walls: Approximately 36% of UK’s construction is non-cavity wall construction. This saves heat loss and is easy to install. This wall does not have a hollow space and has just one solid brick wall. This provides relief from condensation problem.

Thatch roofs: It is a form of constructing the roof with materials such as straw, barley, and water reed. It improves the aesthetics of a building, but it is very expensive than the conventional roof.

Timber frame walls: Timber framing is made with heavy timber squares joined and secured with wooden pegs. This was used in barns. This form of construction does not need vertical posts to support the structure. It is strengthened with the use of diagonal bracing.

Natural slate-covered roofs: This roofing originated in Spain. Natural slate is most durable and is cheaper when compared to artificial slate.

Scantle roofs: They are mainly found in the north coast of Cornwall. This is a beautiful traditional way of construction. The scantle slates were laid on a layer of rag slate. Then the slates were held with peggies. Sometimes a bed of lime mortar was applied to a face of the slate.

Random diminishing natural rag slate: This rag slate differs from scantle slate due to its size. This is done by laying slates with random widths in diminishing courses. Depending on the type of slate available and method used to slate, this can give a haphazard look to the building.

Manufactured slate: This is popular since it gives a traditional look to the building with different textures and colors. It uses different materials to improve aesthetics. It is lighter and is better than natural slate roof since manufactured slate does not require any additional support.

Asbestos slates: These were used in the beginning of twentieth century. Even though these slates are strong and durable, they are not used now due to health concerns.

Cement tiles: These are colorful and decorative flooring materials and are handmade. It is very much used by the architects throughout the world due to its durability and versatility. It is used in commercial buildings like malls and restaurants.

Clay tiles: These are used as wall and floor coverings and are becoming very popular nowadays. It is composed of variety of materials like glass, clay, mineral wool, wood, and ceramics. It is available in different sizes and shapes. It is waterproof. It gives a good rustic look which is liked by many people. It has a good lifespan and hence used in roofing too. Rafter and purlin structures: It is generally found in traditional timber truss construction where the rafters of the truss bear the weight of the purlins. These purlins bear the weight of roof sheathing. It offers good durability. It is also used in steel structures.

Roof trusses: It is constructed with the arrangement of triangular units. Planar trusses are often used in roofs. Many types of trusses are used in roof construction. These roof trusses are constructed in a way to bear all the tensile and compressive forces that act upon the truss giving stability to the structure. This form of construction saves time and reduces labor costs.

The sustainability of the traditional construction can be implemented in modern construction to improve the strength and stability of the buildings.

Image by Flickr

About

Having served 16 years in the army Colin re-educated during the early 1990’s including two years at the Camborne School of Mines reading Mineral Surveying and Resource Management achieving a first class Diploma (Dip CSM). This allowed direct entry to the second year at The University of the West of England, Bristol reading Valuation and Estate Management. Training and experience was gained with Exeter City Council Estates Department and Sheperds Chartered Surveyors qualifying as a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in June 2003. Colin set-up the company in May 2009 and covers the complete range of services.

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