Types Of Structures In Construction

In this article we will discuss different types of structures in construction.

What Is A Structure?

The structure is a collection of elements linked together in such a way that serves a meaningful purpose. Thus, a structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in an object or system, with the load affecting structural components vertically or laterally.

Different types of structures like concrete, framed, shell, membrane, truss, cables and arches, surface structure, etc., can be viewed in many models.

Members or components of a building can take on a variety of shapes or forms depending on their functional requirements. Buildings, bridges, towers, arches, and cables are all examples of civil engineering constructions.

Types Of Structure

They are primarily categorized based on geometry since they can withstand various loads, as the geometric configuration of the structure determines its load-bearing capacity. Some other types are –

1. Load Bearing Structure

The structure’s weight is transferred to the walls in the form of roofs and floors supported directly in a load-bearing structure.

The walls distribute the weight to the underlying soil via wall footings that are adequate and cost-effective for two to four stories.

Because of its load-bearing function, the wall thickness decreases the carpet area as the number of floors grows.

While this structure is used where hard strata are available at shallow depths, the wall footings are placed immediately on hardened levels. Load-bearing structures are now exclusively used for temporary or minor structures.

Load Bearing Structure
Load Bearing Structure

Some of its advantages include:

1. The load-bearing structure built is extremely sturdy and solid.

2. These constructions have excellent fire resistance.

3. Masonry units are available in variouscolors and textures, allowing for unlimited creativity.

4. These constructions do not necessitate extensive planning.

5. They are visually pleasing.

6. Masonry construction tools and equipment are inexpensive.

Some of the disadvantages include:

1. During an earthquake, these constructions function poorly.

2. They use a huge amount of masonry units. Their building requires greater labor.

3. This masonry construction is time-consuming.

4. It is unreliable due to the high cost of the total masonry units utilized to build these structures.

5. This construction is heavier.

6. These constructions have very poor thermal insulating qualities.

Fig 1: Load-bearing structure

Courtesy: Civil Click

2. Truss Structure

Truss is a type of structure with a long span and little depth. A truss comprises slender parts arranged in a triangle pattern; a planner truss has all of its elements in the same plane and is commonly used for bridges.

A space truss is made up of three-dimensional pieces. The truss transforms loads that cause the truss to bend into tension and compression forces. Because of these advantages, the truss uses fewer materials than the beam, and it is made up of narrow and long parts.

Truss can be used to span distances ranging from 9m (30ft) to 122 m. (400ft). Also, in truss analysis, loads are applied at the joints, and members are assumed to be connected at the joints using frictionless pins.

 Truss Structure
Truss Structure
Source: designingbuildings.co.uk

3. Framed Structure

Frames are structures made up of vertical and horizontal elements. The vertical elements are referred to as columns, and the horizontal members are referred to as beams.

Sway and non-sway frames are the two types of frames. A sway frame allows for lateral or sideward movement, but not horizontal, whereas a non-sway frame does not.

The lateral movement of the sway frames is taken into account in their analysis. Frames can either be rigid or flexible.

Frames are made up of a beam and a column joined with a pin or a fixed connection. Frames can be expanded into two or three dimensions, and the structure is indeterminate for stiff joint connections.

The loading will cause the frame member to bend and deform; the applied load and member qualities will determine the magnitude of the deformation.

Framed Structure
Framed Structure

4. Shell Structure

 Shell structure is a thin, curved shaped plate structure that transmits the applied forces by compressive, tensile, and shear stresses acting in the plane of the surface.

The hell structure is constructed of materials with a limited depth compared to other dimensions; the surface structure can be a tent or an inflated structure; in both circumstances, the surface material acts as a membrane subjected to pure stress.

It can also be formed of reinforced concrete and can take the form of a folded plate, cylinder, or other shapes. With a bit of bending, this structure will withstand load through tension and compression.  Shell structures are primarily three types

  • Concrete shell structures,
  • Lattice or Grid shell structures,
  • Membrane structures.
Shell Structure
Source: archdaily.com

5. Cables And Arche Structures

Cables are used to support long spans where trusses are not feasible, resulting in a significant increase in cost and size of the structure. These can carry loads in tension and can be used for spans longer than 46m (150ft).

These are employed in bridge structures, and the use of cables is limited by their sag, weight, and anchorage method.  Arches are widely employed in bridges and dome roofs to transport loads in compressions.

To preserve the rigidity and forms, secondary loading, including shear and moment, will develop, and we must include these secondary loadings in the design.

Cables And Arche Structures
Source: art.branipick.com

6. Composite Structure

A composite structure is made up of a load-bearing structure and a frame structure. Exterior walls can be load-bearing structures, while internal column and beam constructions can support floors and ceilings.

These buildings are typically used for industrial sheds or warehouses with exceptionally long spans.

 Composite Structure
Composite Structure
Source: eversendai.com

Advantages of a composite structure:

1. Heat and electricity are not a problem for composite constructions.

2. Because composite constructions are lower in weight than traditional materials, they are easier to transport and install.

3. These structures are adaptable; engineers can create structures to meet their needs.

Disadvantages of a composite structure include:

1. This structure’s construction is highly cost-effective.

2. Construction necessitates the use of competent workers.

7. Tension Structures

Columns are vertical structural components that are compressed axially and are also known as struts or stanchions. Columns can have round, square, or rectangular cross-sections, as well as standard sections.

Built-up columns are utilized in some engineering applications where a single-member strength may not be sufficient to withstand a particular load.

A built-up column comprises two or more conventional sections. Stress structures are similar to columns, but they are subjected to axial tension.

Tension Structure
Tension Structure

8. Pre-Engineered Structure

The ideal building structure is sometimes pre-engineered because it goes together quickly and allows you to start using it sooner than you thought possible.

Often, you can design the building to your requirements, and then the sections are built and assembled before sending them to the construction site.

The benefits of pre-engineered buildings are that they can be put together quickly, strong, and easily customizable. Unfortunately, they are very costly than other building types, and your design must be square or rectangular.

Pre-Engineered Building structure
Pre-Engineered Building

9. Mass Structures

They are formed of clump material that fills the body. Although these are built using low-quality materials, the construction is usually quite thick. They’re formed by piling materials into a specific shape or pattern.

Solid structures that rely on their weight to resist loads are known as mass structures. Sandcastles, dams, pyramids, and other artificial structures are examples of artificial structures, while coral reefs, mountains, and other natural mass structures are examples of natural mass structures. 

Mass Structure


You can understand the various types of building structures available and can determine which one you want to employ for your home, business, or other structure in the future.

The best part is that you may mix and combine some of these architectural styles to create the most appropriate structure for your needs.

Knowing the construction size is crucial since it will allow you to plan with the resources you want or need to employ. The more weight-bearing restrictions there are, the taller the building.

This information is required as soon as possible so that the appropriate concerns and modifications can be addressed.

Similarly, other issues need to be addressed before the commencement of the construction activities so that the structure is built safely and economically.

Also Read –

Types Of Buildings

Space Frame Structure

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