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Log Book - Week 9

(Ching, 2008)

Construction detailing
 Movement joints (expansion joints)
 As buildings move due to external forces, movement joints must be installed. They are often constructed out of a foam or cork like material that is flexible to allow for the movement.

A material that can be stretched or compressed must be used in the expansion gap. If no material is used, it will create a passage for airflow. Foam or cork are used as they are both flexible.

Health & Safety
 Balustrades (railing) is a required component when building stairs. Also the tread widths and heights must be contained in a certain range to not exceed regulations. This is primarily for safety precautions.

Balustrades are a safety requirement when a staircase protrudes 1 metre past the ground floor. It is also required for ramps. {1}

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Ageing Materials
 Materials tend to deteriorate faster if there is a high percentage of salt in the air; for example near the ocean. Also industrial areas that may have a high concentration of pollutants in the air can accelerate the degradation of materials. 
 Materials such as timber and copper can change colour over time.
 Copper - Goes from a bronze colour to a greenish colour.
 Timber - Browny-wood colour to grey.
 These discolourations can be prevented by painting or staining.

A piece of timber showing the difference between vibrant timber compared to dull, faded timber.


! " " Repairable Surfaces & Resistance to Damage
 Plasterboard is commonly used in housing as it is cost effective, can readily be painted on and can be patched easily if needed.
 Skirting board is used to protect the bottom of the plasterboard from vacuum cleaners, brooms or peoples feet. This is used as plasterboard isn’t very hard compared to the timber used for the skirting and skirting can be more easily replaced.
 A toe recess is used most commonly in kitchens to hide marks from shoes or brooms. It’s is most commonly used in kitchens as they need to be cleaned on a regular basis and also because cupboards, ovens and sinks are located near the edge of the room. Other rooms such as lounge rooms, the majority of the time people will be towards the centre of the room.


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Cleanable Surfaces
 Cleanable surfaces are necessary for buildings like hospitals and restaurants. Corners are a trap for dirt so they must be shaped accordingly to stop dirt from entering any gaps. Also, in a room that is likely to have spills, carpet isn’t a wise flooring choice.

A toe recess located beneath a cabinet. This also allows more foot space.

! ! Marble is commonly used in bathrooms as it is extremely easily to clean and because of it’s limited porosity, water will not leak through it .{2} It is often made up of one slab of marble as the base which means that there is no gaps for water to get in to. It also gives the bench top a modern, aesthetic look.

! Composite Materials"

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Monolithic materials are a single material or materials that are indistinguishable when combined. Alloys such as bronze are examples. In this case, the properties of bronze are hard compared to its components which are soft. 
 Composite materials are when two are more materials are combined in such a way that it is easy to distinguish between them. An aluminium sandwich panel consists of two sheets of aluminium with plastic in between. As the plastic and aluminium are able to be distinguished individually, this is a composite material, even though you may not be able to see both materials with the naked eye.

" Similar to an aluminium sandwich panel is laminated glass, however instead of glass neighbouring the plastic it is alumnium(the middle shaded section). As the two materials are easily distinguishable, laminated glass is a composite material.

! Composite Materials
 1. A combination which differ in composition or form! 2. Remain fixed together
 3. Properties remain the same
 4. Act together to improve the strength or other characteristics that cannot be obtained by any of the original components acting alone
 Examples of composite materials are sandwich panels, stones within a resin or a combination of composite materials(Hybrid).

Fibre reinforced concrete(FRC) composite
 Made from: glass fibres, Portland cement, sand and water.
 Common forms: Sheet or board products and shaped products like pipes.! Common uses: Cladding for walls in wet areas and floor panels that are underneath tiles.
 Benefits: Resistant to: fire, water, termites, rotting and warping. It is also reasonably cheap.

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Fibres are used in concrete to reduce cracking and to increase the the overall strength and toughness. {3}

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Fibreglass - composite
 Made from: A mixture of glass fibres and epoxy resins (adhesive plastic)
 Common forms: Generally flat, sheet products
 Common uses: Can be used as a translucent roof or wall cladding and is used in products such as baths, water tanks and surfboards.
 Benefits: Fire resistant, waterproof, light and strong.

Fibreglass is a good roofing material as it is waterproof and strong which is necessary for an external feature of a house. Also, as it is light it makes it much easier to lift the fibreglass up to the roof.

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Aluminium sheet composites
 Made from: Aluminium and plastic
 Common forms: A plastic core of phenolic resin with two neighbouring skins of thin aluminium sheet.
 Common uses: Used aesthetically as an internal or external cladding material.
 Benefits: As aluminium is more expensive than the phenolic resin, the layer of phenolic resin will reduce the overall cost and also lighten the weight. They are weather resistant, shock resistant and ‘unbreakable’. It can be folded, bent and cut to achieve details and curves.


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The phenolic resin (plastic) layer in between the two sheets of aluminium makes the whole system a lot lighter. If it was to be made of pure aluminium, it will be extremely strong but very expensive and heavy. A compromise has to be made.

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Fibre reinforced polymers composite


Fibreglass can also be considered as a fibre reinforced polymer as it consists of a polymer and glass. Shown above is an example of fibreglass mesh which is used to reinforce walls or roofs.

Made from: polymers(plastics) with timber, glass or carbon fibres.
 Common forms: often associated with moulded or pultrusion processed products. An example of this is fibreglass.
 Common uses: decking, beams and columns used in the construction of small pedestrian bridges. 
 Benefits: Strength-to-weight ratio is greater than most materials including steel. They are also corrosion resistant which means they can be allowed outside in the weather.


I beams are commonly used as they retain their strength while using less materials {4}. The image to the left is composed of timber at the top and bottom and a plywood sheet connecting them.

Timber composites

Made from: Combinations of different types of timber.
 Common forms: Timber top and bottom chords with plywood sheets connecting them.
 Common uses: Beam (floor joists and roof rafters) and trusses
 Benefits: Minimum amount of material is used for maximum efficiency. It is cheap, easily bought and delivered and also easy to install.

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! ! ! ! ! ! Glossary
 Sandwich panel: Generally consists of two outer layers of either steel or aluminium with an insulation layer in between.
 Bending: When a material is encountered with a force that is too great it will either bend or snap depending on it’s flexibility. 
 Skirting: A thin lining that surrounds a room to prevent dents and marks on the plasterboard. Usually timber or aluminium.
 A composite beam; concrete on steel. Composite beam: “A structural member composed of two or more dissimilar materials joined together to act as a unit”{5}. An example of this is a steel beam which has concrete decking above it. {6}
 Shadow line joint: When two surfaces meet they leave a small gap due to the grout. The material being used extends past the grout and leaves a shadow.
 Cornice: An ornamental molding of wood or plaster that encircles a room just below the ceiling.{7}"

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Shadow joints on a wall system.

GROUP SITE VISIT - International House
 -The International House is a student accommodation centre for students studying at The University of Melbourne. -It consists of 4 floors; 3 residential and the bottom floor containing tutorial rooms and a student lounge. 
 -The shape of the structure, shown in the image to the right, is curved to remain separate from other buildings (apartment buildings) and it curves towards the student village located to the left of the picture. Although the structure seems to curve smoothly it is actually made out of straight walls that are connected together. This is primarily because it is very difficult to make doors bend compared to plasterboard. Because of the bizarre shape, most of the rooms have slightly different dimensions.


 -The roof slab was constructed out of reinforced concrete. This was used as there was thoughts about building a fifth floor and the height couldn't exceed the height of the neighbouring Melbourne University building.
 -Overall, the building was mainly built out of concrete with not much steel used.! -Glass and metal was used as the cladding.
 -The concrete was used out of a recycled materials which gives the building a high green star rating. Green star ratings evaluate the environmental sustainability and design of the structure {8}.
 Acoustic insulation is implemented by using a double stud wall. This means that if someone knocks a wall, the sound wont travel through to the neighbouring wall because it is a separate piece of timber.

One of the most vital components in a bathroom and kitchen is the ventilation system; to transfer the exhausts out. A ‘hole’ goes straight up through the building transferring all contaminated air into the atmosphere. Fresh air is let in through pipes that are often evident on many buildings. The image below is one example of how fresh air is transferred into the building. Bathrooms must have ventilation or there will be no where for moisture in the air to go.

! ! ! An example of an air vent located on the exterior of the building. Instead of having a hole in the wall, slits prevent birds or small animals getting in. Also the slits facing on an angle prevents rain getting in.

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 The black piece of material is covering the hole where the exhaust pipes will penetrate. Because the ventilation pipe goes straight up through the building, each bathroom will be located in the same position. This is generally more common in apartment buildings where the rooms are slightly bigger, however in this building it would be in place. Primarily to save


A lot of time is spent in hiding services that are often forgotten about when a building is fully constructed. 
 Different coloured and shaped pipes help coordinate builders to what they will contain and where they need to go.
 White pipes - Water and sewerage
 Red pipes - Fire services
 Black pipes - Mechanical(heating)
 The picture to the right shows services that will be hidden under the ceiling of the room. This makes them hidden from view as they aren’t an aesthetically appealing feature. ! The architect decided to hide some of the pipes underneath the floor where the air-conditioner would located (as shown below). In this situation, pipes would usually be built out from the building and have to be covered up by increasing width of the wall. Ultimately this takes away the space outside space which is going to be used as a courtyard/lawn.


Another one of the architect’s designs was to create large window sills instead of small ones. The problem with small window sills in such a large room is that it makes them look ‘weak’. However, with the large windows it makes the building look more ‘luxurious’ and ‘welcoming’.

The loading dock(shown to the left) is used to transfer materials up and down the building. The materials transferred are generally finer more fragile ones that may be damaged by a crane, such as tiles or soft timber. The loading dock acts like a cantilever; it extends past the edge of the building with no support at the other end. The supports therefore have to come back a long way into the building to counteract the weight. Cranes are used for heavy materials such as concrete columns. Unwanted materials that aren’t on the bottom floor can’t simply be passed down the scaffold or thrown off the edge of the building. They must be taken down using the loading dock due to safety precautions.

 Before materials are placed on the loading dock, they are first placed onto a pallet and then transferred to the dock using a forklift. The loading dock can hold many tonnes of materials making it an efficient way of transporting materials around the building.

Shear walls prevents shear forces such as wind from pushing over the building. Other load-bearing walls in the building a very strong when it comes to vertical compressive forces however horizontal forces are not generally accounted for. This is why a shear wall is necessary to stabilise the floor.


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 E-learning videos: 

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 Ching, F. (2008) Building Construction Illustrated (4th ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (p. 7.50)

Log Book - Week 9