Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Jessica from Union Grove, WI. Jessica Wonders, “How do you build a building such as a school?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Jessica!
When you think of the things you need to survive, what comes to mind? Food and water probably top your list. Clothing probably isn't far behind. There's one other basic need that we sometimes take for granted: shelter.
If you don't have a safe place to sleep at night, life can become very difficult in a hurry. Think of the struggle the homeless of the world experience nightly. Most of us are fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads.
The buildings we live in come in an almost-endless variety of types, shapes, and sizes. Some houses are small, some are large. Some houses are mobile. Others might be skyscrapers that contain thousands of apartments.
When it comes to buildings, the number of different types of structures that exist around the world is mind-boggling. From grass huts in the tropics and igloos in the Arctic to skyscrapers in the big city and single-family homes in the suburbs, it seems like there's a building to suit every environment and purpose.
Curious children often WONDER about exactly how buildings are built. Given the great variety of buildings, there's no one way to build one. There are a few common elements that most buildings share, though, and the basic processes are often similar, differing only in scale, materials, and other factors.
The first step in building isn't to reach for a hammer and some nails. Instead, it involves reaching for a pen and paper. A professional called an architect or civil engineer usually gets the process going by designing a blueprint for the building, which ends up being a guide construction workers will use to know how to build the building.
Once a blueprint is completed, most buildings follow a rough series of steps that have been established over the years. These steps allow builders to construct buildings in a cost-effective and efficient manner that conforms to building codes.
After the building site has been prepared by grading to ensure a flat surface to build upon, construction workers create a foundation that will serve as the building's support. As a general rule, the taller the building is, the deeper its foundation must be.
Once the foundation has been laid, the framework of the building can be built using a combination of wood and steel beams. Special attention must be given to the placement of the beams that will become the load-bearing walls.
The primary problem any builder faces is keeping a building upright. Most of any building consists of empty space. The force of gravity will pull upon all the other parts of a building. If a building isn't constructed properly, gravity will ultimately prevail and pull it to the ground. Load-bearing walls ensure that the upper parts of a building are supported and can withstand the force of gravity.
After framing is complete, windows, doors, and a roof can be installed. With the building enclosed, installation of the things you can't see, such as electrical wires, plumbing pipes, heating and air conditioning ducts, and insulation, can take place.
Next comes drywall to form the walls of the house, enclosing all the hidden things just installed. With walls up, flooring can be laid, followed by painting and finishing all the remaining interior work, such as trim, electrical outlets, and plumbing fixtures.
If you talk to any construction worker, you'll learn that this is just a general overview of the building process. There are many other steps involved along the way. Constructing a building is a complex process that involves experts in a wide variety of fields. It also involves advanced science and technology in ways that it's hard to appreciate until you've experienced the construction process from start to finish.