The Evolution of Building Materials

Building materials have evolved greatly over the history of mankind. From the caves and stone construction of the earliest days to wooden structure and then brick and mortar, the construction of homes, building and businesses have sure certainly evolved throughout time. The invention of tools and machinery have helped increase the speed at which building go up, as well as increased the overall quality of the building materials used.From the wood of the earliest homes and businesses to the steel structures built today it is easy to see the difference that technology has made.

The introduction of steel into building construction has led to an increase of the level of quality required by building codes and inspections. Refurbishing old buildings with the increased strength of steel such RSJ or I beams has become a common practice is many businesses. Using these beams can increase the overall structural integrity of a building ensuring it is there to last with the added benefit of not having to tear the entire building down. Using old buildings also helps to preserve history which is beneficial to many tourist towns that are known for the history of their town or region.

Steel began being used by builders around the middle of the 19th century, though it was only available in limited sizes and by certain builders. At that time cast iron was used a great deal and those who worked with it needed a good knowledge of the material and its properties to ensure it was used and constructed appropriately. Around the early 20th century cast iron was being used less and, due to technological advances steel was turned to more. Steel became the preferred building material due it being easier to work with and to ensure its purity over that of iron.

In addition to being easier to work with, steel is preferred by many builders and architects due to its ability to withstand weight and force without doing structural damage to the buildings. Steel continues to make advances in the construction of buildings and establishments. Steel binds together easily, flexes easily in some cases without jeopardizing the integrity of its structure, and comes in a wide variety of thicknesses and shapes. Steel is easier to manufacture when compared to earlier building materials and lasts a great deal longer than early construction materials such as wood or wrought iron.

Many buildings use steel for their main support beams. Steel beams know as RSJ (rolled steel joist) beams are used in many buildings and homes due to their superior ability to withstand a large amount of force over a very long period of time. These beams are designed to ensure they do not bend or shift and that they withstand vibrations. The method for producing this type of beam was developed around 1849 by an inventor at a Belgian steel company.

While working with steel and similar metals is often easier and more diverse than other building materials, builders and manufacturers need a good understanding of the metal and its properties. Ensuring the right kind of steel is being used for a variety of projects and sometimes even on the same building can help builders ensure their work easily meets the code set forth as well as for the safety and customer satisfaction impact. The wrong metal or an error in the weight ratio of the metal can have catastrophic consequences.

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