Important Structural Components of Building For Construction

The most important structural components of building construction in Lahore are the columns-beams-slabs made of concrete and the walls which are made of bricks and plaster. The main ingredients in concrete, mortar, and plaster are cement, sand, stone chips, water, steel reinforcement, etc. As a Building Contractor, I have been dealing with these materials for the past 20 years. And in any site, I always look out for the quality of these materials as that can impact the overall construction considerably.

People constructing houses can never be sure of the quality of the materials that the contractor brings to the site. To help you, I shall describe some of the features you need to look out for, that indicate good quality building materials.

Usage of Cement in Buildings:
Cement is the binder that holds concrete and mortars together and hence it plays the most critical role in giving strength and durability to your home. Cement is used to make concrete for slabs, foundations, beams, columns, sunshades, and mortar for brickwork, plastering, flooring, and other such work.

Types of Cement used in construction:
Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC): A combination of clinker and gypsum.
Portland Slag Cement (PSC): A combination of good quality blast furnace slag (from the iron and steel industry) with clinker (which makes OPC) and gypsum.
Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC): A combination of fly-ash (from thermal power plants) with clinker and gypsum.

The best cement for construction is blended cement-like PSC and PPC. But please note that good quality blended cement-like PSC and PPC will take more time to set.

The Proper selection of sand is very important. Along with cement sand is a very important ingredient.

River sand is the best for construction. However, due to its scarcity and exorbitant price, filter sand and manufactured sand are also used nowadays. The price of sand includes three or four factors – base cost, transportation, handling, and the number of intermediaries. Therefore procuring sand in bulk directly from the source will be cheaper than the neighborhood dealer, except when you need smaller quantities.

Must be clear, angular, and hard.
Must be free from clay, mica, and soft, flaky material
Should be graded, which means it should be a mix of fine, medium, and coarse sand
Must be free from contaminants like sea salt.

Selecting the right sand for house construction:
Even though good sand is very difficult to procure and the price is very high, it is better to use good sand rather than filter sand. Filter sand can be made better by washing off all the dust particles with water. A simple way of checking the quality of the sand – It should not be sticky when you hold it in your hand.

Manufactured sand also called M-sand is being promoted by the government as a cheaper alternative to natural sand because of the scarcity of good quality natural sand. Experts vouch that manufactured sand is not only a viable alternative to natural sand but superior in many ways. Mortars and concrete using M-sand as fine aggregate are superior when compared to those using natural sand.
Advantages of manufactured sand:
There is no clay content in Manufactured-sand;
Manufactured-sand is scientifically graded to comply with BIS specifications;
Manufactured-sand is half the price of natural sand.