Major Materials in Construction


To be on point, construction supplies are a must in the construction industry. Without the availability of construction supplies Ipswich, there is no construction industry. These supplies used for construction are the basic elements in the making of houses, buildings, and other structures.

Construction supplies are the materials that are necessary in the making of these structures. These supplies can be anything from lumber, drywall, and other building materials like cement, rebar, and more.

Aside from being the most important construction component, these building materials comprise the biggest bulk of the total cost of any project.


To date, there are many types of building materials used in any construction. They could be concrete, steel, wood, masonry and more. These materials have different properties like weight, strength, durability and costs. Each of them is suited for certain types of construction uses.

The main point in the choice of materials for construction istypically based first on cost and effectiveness. The effectiveness of these materials to resist the loads and stresses acting on the structure is the second point.

The structural engineers are the usual decision-makers regarding the types of materials to be used for each project, depending on the size and use of the structure and other qualities of these materials.

Industry standards

The manufacture of these building materials is a well-established and typical industry standard. The standard is to provide a reliable supply of high-quality materials for these structures.

Likewise, the production of structural-grade building materials is subject to quality control procedures. This involves inspection and testing according to national standards and scientific testing methods.

Structural engineering planning

A big part of the structural engineer’s responsibilities is to prepare the project specifications.  This includes all the building materials and applicable standards and provisions to comply with. This one is crucial for any project to specify the quality and properties of the materials to be used.

As they are, building materials are generally divided into two categories – the natural building materials like stones and wood and man-made building materials like concrete and steel.

Both these categories usually require a certain level of preparation or treatment before they are used for a structural application.

Concrete engineering materials

Concrete is a composite material made from mixing cement and aggregates (sand, crushed stone and water). The properties of concrete depend on the ratios used in the mix design. It is standard practice for concrete suppliers to provide material properties and test results for each concrete patch.

Fresh concrete is poured into forms to take any shape for use on the constructed project.

Typically, it takes up to 7 days for concrete to harden and reach the majority of its strength. It will need special attention in the curing process to avoid cracking or reduction in its capacity.

Concrete is versatile and is the material for applications that require a combination of strength and durability. They would make excellent material for building foundations where the weight of the structure meets the ground.

This requires strength to carry the load and also durability to withstand the contact with the surrounding soil. It is also very strong when exposed to compression stresses.

However, it’s brittle and has limited tensile strength. Combined with steel rebar, reinforced concrete is stronger and more suitable for a wide range of structures (tall multi-story buildings, bridges, roads, tunnels) and so many other applications.


Steel is one of the strongest building materials available because of its excellent strength capacity in both tension and compression. Its high strength-to-weight ratio makes it ideal for structural framework of tall buildings and large industrial facilities.

Structural steel is available in standard shapes like angles, I-beams and C-channels. These shapes can be welded together or connected using high-strength bolts to build structures that are capable of resisting great forces and deformations.


Steel is a relatively expensive building material. It is then the structural engineer’s responsibility to choose economic sizes and shapes based on the actual loads on the building to avoid overdesign.

Because of the higher cost of steel, clients sometimes ask if there is a way to reduce the weight and size of some of steel members in the structure. This can be done if the loads can be reduced on the members or if additional vertical supports can be introduced.

The good news is that the installation of steel is less time consuming compared to concrete and can be installed in any type of environment.


 Wood had always been a part of construction as an important material for thousands of years. If properly maintained, wood as construction materials can last for hundreds of years by itself. One good thing about it is that it is readily available and an economically feasible natural resource.

It is lightweight and is highly formed by tools and machines. Its other quality is it provides a natural insulation from the cold. It is perfect for homes and other residential buildings.

The pieces of wood in construction are machine-planed, cut and sawn into specific dimensional parts. It is usually used in constructing walls and floors. The wood that comes in larger dimensions is called timber or beams and is used for frames and other large structures.

Engineered wood

Another type of wood used in construction are those various forms of wood glued together to form a composite material suitable for specific construction applications. They are called engineered wood and come in glued laminated wood, plywood and fiberboards.

Wood, however, is not the most suitable construction material to support heavier loads nor is it ideal for long spans. Because of its light weight, wood is rarely used for foundations and basement walls.


Masonry is actually using individual units to build structures that actually uses mortar top bound these units together.The most common material of masonry structures is concrete block (sometimes using a vertical steel reinforcing, if required).

Masonry is also used for their strength in resisting compression loads or stresses which makes it ideal to use for the construction of load bearing walls. Other masonry materials include brick, stone and glass block. Masonry is a highly durable and fire resistant material. However, it can be sensitive to mortar and workmanship quality.

Load-bearing walls

Masonry is used in making load bearing walls in the design of multi-story buildings. The structural system typically consists of concrete floors supported on a combination of masonry and reinforced concrete walls. (This depends on the number of floors and amount of load on the walls).

Load-bearing masonry walls can be stacked up on top of one another to build multi-story buildings. The load on the first floor masonry wall is the total of all the weight of the floors above it.

Therefore, the bottom floor wall must be stronger than the upper floor walls. This is done by reinforcing the voids in the bottom masonry walls with steel bars and concrete grout.

These are each of the major materials and the applications that are best suited for each of them in the construction business.

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