A permanent structure with walls and a roof is known as a building or an edifice. A good example will be a house or a factory. Buildings are classified based on their size, shape and functions. They have also evolved throughout history because factors such as available materials, weather conditions, prices of land, land conditions, purpose and aesthetic factors.

Buildings serve several purposes in the society. Although the primary purpose is for shelter from weather conditions and other natural elements, they have evolved to serve other purposes like security, living space, privacy, storage and work. Buildings are also objects of artistic expression.

Building materials include brick, concrete, stone, and iron.


The clearest evidence of home building is from around 18000BC.Buildings became popular during the Neolithic era which discounts the reports by Shinichi Fujimura that a shelter was built 500000 years ago. Supposedly claimed remains of huts found at the Terra Amata site in Nice dated back to 200000 to 400000 years ago were also questioned.


A building is a permanent structure which has a roof and walls. Broadly, structure is used for natural and man-made formations such as a fence.

Types of buildings

The function of a building will determine its design, engineering and construction. The types of buildings depend on the purpose. Below is the major classification of building types.

  1. Residential Buildings

Houses or homes are single family residential buildings. They may be duplex, condominium, semi-detached, huts, and even multi-million dollar high rise apartment blocks that can contain thousands of people.  Houses built as a single dwelling may later be partitioned into apartments, bedsitters, rooms or office space.

Residential buildings have different names depending on their use. Common types are holiday cottage, duplex, villa, bungalow, block of flats, cottage, mobile home, nursing home, orphanage, prison, barracks, hostels, dormitories etc.

  • Multi Storey

A multi storey has multiple floors. Buildings with more than 3 storey are considered as a high-rise building.

  • Complex

A group of interrelated and interconnected buildings are referred to as a complex. They usually constructed for a single purpose. Examples are a housing complex, a shopping complex, education complex and hospital complex.

  1. Agricultural buildings include abattoir, barn, silos, greenhouse, shed, slaughterhouse, stable, farmhouse, and cow-shed.
  2. Commercial buildings include a car wash, drugstore, filling station, markets, shopping complex, warehouse, supermarket, restaurants, offices, pharmacy, skyscraper, hotels and warehouse.
  3. Medical buildings are hospitals, nursing homes, quarantine, and asylum.
  4. Educational buildings are colleges, schools, libraries, museums, art galleries, theaters, cinema, boarding schools and opera.
  5. Government buildings include consulate, courthouses, embassy, parliament, fire station, parliament, police station, post office, prison, and assembly.
  6. Industrial buildings include brewery, factory, power plant, winery, mill, water tower and foundry.
  7. Military buildings include barracks, Citadel, missile launch facility and bunker.
  8. Religious buildings include churches, mosques, cathedral, basilica, chapel, temple, synagogue, Pagoda, Gurdwara, shrine, and monastery.
  9. Transport buildings such as an airport, bus station, lighthouse, railway station, metro and taxi station.

Creation of a building

The design, construction, and operation of a building is a collective effort of a group of professionals. The size, complexity, and purpose will determine the group of professional for the building project. Large capital building projects will involve a real estate developer, a funding financial institution, local planning authority, surveyor, construction managers, architects, engineers, landscape architects, interior designers, estate agents, facility managers and contractors like plumbers, electricians.

Building Services

A building requires certain internal and external infrastructure to function properly. Such infrastructure includes heaters/coolers, power and telecommunications, plumbing for water and wastewater.

In commercial buildings such as hospitals, factories, offices, and complexes which take up large areas of land must be intricately serviced and maintained.

Conveying Systems in a building

For simple buildings such as a duplex, a step is good enough to link the parts of the building. However, commercial and large buildings require special conveying systems to transport people from one part of the building to another. Elevators, Escalators, and Moving sidewalk are used for transporting people within buildings.

Skyway and underground city are used for transporting people between interconnected buildings.

Building Damage

Buildings may be destroyed or damaged during construction or maintenance. Factors that could lead to the damage of a building includes accidents such as storms, explosions, and poor foundations. Buildings regularly suffer fire damages. Natural disasters like flooding, earthquakes and thunder strike may also cause damages to a building. Buildings may become dilapidated when they are not properly maintained or the upgrading or alteration work are not properly executed.

Related Questions

Published on 16th June 2017

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