The intention of this publication is to embark on a journey taking the reader through a
brief history of buildings, how the construction of buildings has evolved over the years
and then examining in more detail the structure of buildings and their principal elements.
We also examine other factors which affect the stability and structure of buildings,
including ground investigations and environmental factors, and detail the materials used
in their construction. Finally, we examine structural failures of buildings, their likely
causes and common remedies.
This book explains some of the structural engineering principles in the design of residential
dwellings and their various structural elements. Some structural theory has been
included to demonstrate and reinforce understanding of the comments made. In addition,
structural calculations have been included to demonstrate the key points. Diagrams
and photographs add clarity.
The theoretical concepts contained in this book are equally applicable to all building
structures, whether commercial, traditional or modern. To emphasise some of the issues
raised, large examples such as castles and churches are used, which clearly demonstrate
the building science and technology.
Itmust be understood from the onset that specialist structural advice should be sought
before undertaking any alterations, or in the identification of structural failures and
defects. This book attempts to provide some guidance on understanding the behaviour
and construction of buildings, but should not be taken as an exhaustive text.