building basics

Over the time, construction methods have evolved with the development of new technologies and materials. Focusing on fundamental building elements – roof, wall, window and ground – the illustrations below show how (residential) buildings are typically built across six time periods.

Such knowledge is the beginning of understanding how buildings function and further how we could take better care of them.


Cavity walls appeared between the WWI and WWII while concrete started to be used in the foundations. However, the floor is commonly still a suspended one without insulation.


After the WWII, houses were often built with a solid ground composed mainly of concrete. Insulation around buildings were not common.


Concrete blocks gradually appeared as the inner leaf of cavity walls while damp proof course got integrated into the make-up of solid floors. This period also saw houses insulated in their roofs.


Towards the end of 20th century, the built-up of houses became more robust with thicker foundations, all-around insulations and at best water-proofed interiors.


With a focus on environmental performance, the 21st century has witnessed an increasing use of insulation waterproofing techniques in buildings. As buildings perform better under new criteria, they also become more complex and at times difficult to comprehend.

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