What is a Building

Built environment - Thanks to blog.honestabe.com

Built environment – Thanks to blog.honestabe.com

Building is a more or less enclosed and permanent structure for housing, commerce, industry, etc., distinguished from mobile structures and those not intended for occupancy as defined by thefreedictionary.com.

According to the merriam-webster.com, a building is a something built as a dwelling, shelter, or place for human activity

When everything is taken together, a building can be considered as a ‘built environment’ made to satisfy the needs of the people, whom the building is to be owned and occupied, and the basic needs which have been enforced by the local authority and the respective governments.  This ‘built environment’ also should stand and protect the occupants within the building as well as the occupants in the surrounding, against the climatic and weather changes; and the conditions that could take place locally such as earth quacks, landslides, floods, geological conditions of the ground and so on.

The needs of the people, whom the building is to be owned and occupied, are set out at the initial stage of the planning process of the building; and the planning is done so that the basic needs are satisfied.  The initial and detail investigations are carried out to access the intensity of the different conditions such as Geotechnical conditions, Hydrological conditions etc. that affect the occupants during the period of construction and the building in use.
The needs of the people, whom the building is to be owned and occupied, depend on the purpose of the building and the capacity of the client whom the building is to be owned.  The basic needs are set out by the respective authorities so that all the buildings in the area or the surrounding are satisfactory for the existence of the human and the other living beings, and at the same time the environment is protected.

Through the planning process, it is also expected to make that the building is pleasant to the eye of the human and structurally sound; and it matches with the environment as a whole. Same time, the occupants should feel that the building is safe and comfortable while the building is satisfactorily used for the expected purpose.  At this juncture, the Architectural Engineer or the Building Engineer work together with the professional engineers in other disciplines to make that the building is satisfactory in all above aspects.

In order to achieve above all requirements, and maintain a standard way of planning and construction of buildings, Building Codes have been prepared by various organizations.  Building Code is a systematic statement of a body of rules that govern and constrain the design, construction, alteration, and repair of buildings. Such codes are based on requirements for the safety, health, and quality of life of building users and neighbors, and vary from city to city. Model codes developed by states, professional societies, and trade associations—including the BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators) coda, National Building Code, Uniform Building Code, and Standard Building Code—are typically adopted by local communities, with amendments. New York City’s code is the oldest (1916) and, because of the city’s population density and such concerns as fire prevention, adequate light, and ventilation, the most stringent.

So it is a duty of Building Engineers or Architectural Engineers to promote the design and construction of buildings that are more durable, healthier, more sustainable and more economical than most buildings built today.

N. Wimalsiri
Freelance Writer
Consultant on Planning and Construction of Buildings and Roads
Consultant on Geotechnical Engineering matters


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