As you drive around Harrisburg, PA, you’re likely to see new construction projects. Whether for residential or commercial purposes, it seems like another building goes up every day. If you’re looking to begin a construction project here or elsewhere, you have a lot of decisions to make.
Choosing from among the different construction methods is one of the most important decisions. This guide will help you find the right one.
Platform/Stick Framing with Wood
This is one of the most common building methods in the U.S. It's called platform or stick framing, although it's commonly referred to as “stick-built”. Platform construction uses individual pieces of lumber, which are assembled one at a time to create a frame.
Engineered Wood Products (EWPs)
Engineered Wood Products (EWPs) are manufactured using wood panels, bound together with particles, fibers, or veneers. Plywood and oriented strand board (OSB) are both engineered this way. Generally, EWPs are attached to studs on a framed wall to create more support.
Steel framing is used most often on commercial buildings and skyscrapers. You’ll find two types of steel frames.
- Hot-rolled (structural steel) beams are used most often for commercial buildings and high-end residential buildings that need a super-strong “I-beam”.
- Cold-formed (light-gauge) steel is also incredibly strong, however, it can be formed into smaller, pieces that can be folded, punched, and laser-cut
Hot-rolled steel is the more expensive option, while cold-formed steel is desired for its versatility and cost-effectiveness.
Commercial buildings are often constructed using concrete as it can support more weight. It's often reinforced with embedded steel bars (rebar). In some regions, IFCs (insulated concrete forms) are made by pouring concrete between polystyrene foam panels.
Modern Construction Methods
If you’re looking to construct a commercial building, there are several innovative methods that have become popular in the last few years. Here are four of the most common.
1. 3D Volumetric Construction
A type of modular construction, which uses 3D units made in a factory. The modules are transported to the site where they are assembled and installed. This method is more efficient and faster than most traditional construction methods.
2. Precast Flat Panel Modules
This method uses wall and floor modules. Just like with 3D units, the modules are manufactured in a factory and then transported to the job site for assembly.
3. Tunnel Formwork System
The Tunnel Formwork method is used for structures featuring repetitive patterns, such as apartment buildings or certain office complexes. Multiple monolithic walls, and even complete units, can be assembled in one day, which is a big benefit if you want to get a building “off the ground” quickly.
4. Tilt-Up Construction
Tilt-up construction is another popular method thanks to its cost-effectiveness and speed. Concrete elements such as walls, pillars, and supports are cast on top of concrete slabs. The floors and other concrete castings can also be created, as long as you have a flat surface.
Tilt-up concrete uses can include office buildings, warehouses, storage facilities, shopping complexes, and free-standing retail stores.
Benefits of tilt-up construction:
- Faster construction
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Fire resistant
- Easier to maintain
Find out more about concrete tilt-up construction.
Start Your Construction Project Today
Starting any building project brings a lot of excitement, whether it’s your first or hundredth build. Each project is unique and may call for different construction methods. This guide will help you understand the different types so you can choose the right one.
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