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Building Tips

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Functional Requirements of Floors in Building Construction

Floors in buildings provide strong level surface to support occupants, furnitures, and other equipments. There are various functional requirements of floors which are discussed in this article.

Floors in buildings provide strong level surface to support occupants, furnitures, and other equipments. There are various functional requirements of floors which are discussed in this article.

Strength and Stability of Floors in Buildings

Floor strength depends on the properties of material such as timber, reinforce concrete, and steel that are employed to construct the structure of the floor. The strength of floor structure should be adequate to carry dead load of the floor, finishes, fixtures, partitions, services and expected imposed loads of occupants.

Design loads for building can be found in both Minimum design loads for buildings and other structures (ASCE/SEI 7-10) and BS 6399: Part 1 in addition to other codes.

Reinforced concrete floor, which might be used for providing strength and fire resistance, will be suitable option to employ for cases where spans are long and imposed loads are large whereas timber floors for domestic buildings might be adequate.

With regard to stability of floors, the stiffness of floor should be enough to make the floor stay stable and level under its self weight and expected dead and live loads. Furthermore, the floors need to support and accommodate ventilation, water, electrical, heating services without causing detrimental effect on the stability of the floor.

The deflection of the floor must be adequately restricted and kept small to prevent cracking of rigid finishing.

Finally, Basement and solid ground floors stability are based on properties of concrete under them. For small domestic building concrete without reinforcement might be enough but for large loads like heavy equipment or machinery reinforced concrete slab is needed.

Additionally, suspension reinforced concrete slabs are necessary on shrinkable soil against soil differential contraction of expansion, specifically in situations where deep rooted trees are close to the site.

Resistance of Floors to Weather and Ground Moisture

Building ground floor specifically heated building is likely to encourage rising the moisture below the ground and make the floor wet slightly which feels cold and dissatisfying. Therefore, more heating may be required to create desired comfortable condition.

There are various factors which affect the moisture penetration level from the ground to the floor includes the nature of subsoil, water table, and whether the site is horizontal or sloping.

There is small amount of moisture penetration into the ground if the base is gravel or coarse grain sand because water table level is below the surface during the whole year; in this case, concrete slab is suitable solution to resist moisture penetration.

However, on a clay base, an appreciable amount of moisture will penetrate from the ground to the floor because water table is near to the surface. The latter can be tackled by concrete slab plus water-tight membrane which can be place under, on, or in the slab.

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