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Construction Systems in Australia

The term 'construction system' refers to the way a home is built – that is, the materials and methods used to construct its foundations, floor, walls, and roof.

Repairs, replacements or building failure – that’s the price you pay if you don’t pick the right combination of materials for your construction project.

The primary components of a building’s structural system are its foundation system and framing system. The type selected for either is contingent to many factors, including building’s use, desired height, soil conditions of the site, local building codes, and available materials.

There are several different construction systems which are typically put into three categories – lightweight, such as timber or light steel-framed construction systems, medium weight, such as solid timber, and heavy weight or high mass, such as concrete block. Each has its benefits and constraints.

In Australia, the four traditional building systems are:

Timber Frame

The timber framed house can be applied to one or more storeys.

The external surface can be clad with timber or manufactured weatherboards and panelling, or acrylic render can be applied.

Structural load bearing is performed by the timber frame.

Brick Veneer

The brick walls are a façade anchored with brick ties to a timber or steel frame. The frame performs the structural load bearing work supporting he roof, ceiling and wall linings.

A cavity space is provided between the frame and brick wall. This cavity acts as a moisture barrier.

Cavity Brick (double brick)

Cavity brick construction is two brick walls standing side by side separated by a cavity, tied together with brick ties that cross the cavity and embedded into the mortar joints. Floors can be either concrete slab or timber.

Hollow Concrete Block Mansory

Reinforcing and grout is usually applied to specific vertical cores, lintels and a top perimeter bond beam. Walls can be cement or acrylic rendered on one or both sides or simply painted to reduce costs. Alternatively, plasterboard linings can be applied to the internal surface.

How to choose?

When it comes to choosing a construction system, here is a non-exhaustive list of factors to be considered:

  • Climate,

  • Geographic location,

  • Desired style and/or appearance,

  • Distance from the source of supply and available transportation,

  • Availability of skills and materials,

  • Ease and speed of construction,

  • Maintenance requirements of materials,

  • Durability,

  • Thermal characteristics,

  • Energy consumption,

  • Environmental impact,

  • Cost-effectiveness,

  • Market perceptions and familiarity with the given product.

This list makes the challenge even bigger. It proves that your situation is unique – there is no single best solution. The combination of construction materials you choose depends on the ultimate goal of your project, available resources, and industry requirements.


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