Lesson 1 Introduction How a Building is Designed and Built

Matthew Morris
A free video tutorial from Matthew Morris
Senior Instructor and Professional Engineer
4.7 instructor rating • 16 courses • 2,304 students

Learn more from the full course

How a Building is Designed and Built - Part 1 of 6

Building Construction Overview, Site Utilities, Earthwork and Foundation Systems

03:31:14 of on-demand video • Updated March 2018

  • Identify the Numerous Components, Materials and Systems in a Commercial Building
  • Describe the Sequence of Construction and Relationships Between Construction Activities
  • Identify the Roles of the Major Parties Involved in the Design and Construction of Building Systems & Materials
  • Describe the Numerous Considerations When Choosing Different Building Materials and Systems
  • Develop a Construction and Engineering Vocabulary
  • Evaluate Key Constraints and Select All of the Appropriate Major Systems and Materials in a Building
English [Auto] Welcome to the course how a building is designed and built. Now when you observe a construction project it probably seems kind of complicated. And in reality it is but just like any big problem if you break it down into smaller bite sized pieces it becomes more manageable. And that's what we'll do in this course where we will dissect the building and look at every single material and system to better understand how it's designed and built. Now the motivation for this course goes back a long time. So I graduated from college in 1999 with my civil engineering degree and I joined the Air Force as a second lieutenant and I was stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. And I quite clearly remember my first week on the job and my boss sat me down and he told me about my first project. So he started by telling me there was a lot of historic buildings on this Air Force Base. And my first project was going to be to repair bricks on the side of historic hangars. And I remember thinking all this is going to be easy. You know I'll be ready for 10 more projects by the end of this week. And I remember driving out to the jobsite thinking you know how hard could it be to put brick on a building. And so I go out and talk to the contractors. And before I could even introduce myself and tell them how I was going to change the world for them they started pelting me with questions. First they started off by saying the drawings were all screwed up. Then they were asked me questions about Brick ties and masonry relief angles and cavities and weeps and I had no idea what they were talking about. They just had a blank face and it was a very humbling experience. I was thinking back in my four years of college a civil engineering degree and I didn't learn any of this terminology let alone how to build. And so I went back to the office and I started asking tons of questions. I'm sure people were sick of me. I started studying the drawings I studied the specifications that we can. I went and bought a couple of books just to try to learn the terminology that they were using. And it took a long time. It took a long time to learn about brick veneer and the nature of my job was I would finish a small project then I would move on to the next. And it was like the movie Groundhog Day. Every time I showed up on the jobsite blank stare I had no idea what they were talking about because every project is so different. And so by the time you see all the different materials and systems it takes a lot of projects. And so it took me a very long time to grasp all the different materials and systems. In fact I would say without exaggeration about 10 years before I really got comfortable. And before you get comfortable with all these systems you can't make as much of a difference on the job site and you're not nearly as effective as you could be and that's where this course comes into play. I want to greatly reduce the amount of time you're spending on the job site learning how to build and learning the guts of the building. In my personal experience that took well over 10 years and I know I'm not alone. My buddies in the Air Force they came from all walks of life all different colleges and they didn't know how to build either. When I was a project manager for a commercial general contractor all the new in terms in all the new engineers they also didn't know how to build and now that I've taught at three different universities I see that this material is just not part of the curriculum. And it might fall lower on the priority list. So there is no textbook. There is no web site and there is no training out there that teaches this material until now. In this class we'll have 40 lessons in 20 hours and if you can make it through all the way to less than 40 I can say without exaggeration you will accelerate your career. There are six main learning objectives of the course. After this course you'll be in much better position than I was then because you'll be able to identify all the different parts and pieces in a commercial building and develop a construction engineering vocabulary precision in language gives you the credibility on the job site that you need and you'll be much more effective in solving problems because people will no longer be speaking a foreign language with you all of the materials and systems in a building are assembled in a specific order. You clearly understand the sequence of construction and the relationships between all the different construction activities on site. Next you'll be able to answer the question why. Why are steel beams shaped the way they are. Why does one building have deep foundations or another has shallow foundations when you can precisely answer questions like these regarding every scope in the building. You'll become a very valuable person on the project. Taking it to the next step you'll be able to evaluate various project conditions and constraints to choose the appropriate system and material for a building when you get to this level of learning you will truly be able to influence the outcome of a project and you'll have this foundation by the end of this course. Lastly you'll be able to identify all of the different parties involved in the design and construction of a building and see quite clearly how everyone must work together to successfully complete a project. Speaking of the different roles in a construction project let's talk about the audience for this course. So I've been developing and teaching this course at the University of Colorado Boulder for seven years. It lends itself very well to anyone who is involved or will eventually be involved in a building construction project in their career. This includes anyone who is a general contractor or a specialty contractor particularly with the widespread use of design build and see MGC contracts. It's more important now than ever for contractors to know not only how to build but to know how to design buildings on the engineering side of the industry civil structural architectural mechanical and electrical engineers are the ideal audience. Architects would be very well served by taking this comprehensive course as well learning the contractor side of the equation. If you're a real estate developer you have an enormous amount of risk in the designing construction portion of your business. I've had a number of MBA real estate developers in my course and they all convey to me that this material made a huge difference in their careers. All public and private owners who have a design and construction role will benefit from this content This could include campus facilities groups or a government installation doing planning design or construction. As I was doing early in my career or any organization for that matter that's taking on a building construction project whether that new construction or a renovation having a clear understanding of the guts of a building will add value to all of these roles. And lastly anyone who is just interested in how a building is built will enjoy this course. I've had many retirees in my course because they were just truly interested in the subject matter. So if you fall into any of these categories you are the primary audience for this course and you'll realize the largest gains from the material that were cover. The course is broken down into seven sections or blocks totaling nearly 20 hours of university level content. As you saw earlier with my brick veneer example there are numerous animations throughout this course and there are also original photos on nearly every slide. My wife and kids are pretty sick of me snapping photos which happen nearly every time we left the house over the past seven years totaling well over a thousand photos. After introducing the course will dive right into the first activities of the project with site utilities and the substructure. And I really like this photo on the slide because it shows for the next five blocks in the course in one photo. Next we'll move into the structure options and build our structural frame after we're out of the ground. We'll follow with our enclosure options that will work our way inside the building with the interior architectural work such partitions and finishes they will complete the exterior work before tackling a substantial block of the course with mechanical electrical plumbing and fire protection and will wrap up the course by reviewing the steps to close out the project in turn over the building to the outer. Now let's briefly review the specific topics before taking off the course each lesson has very specific learning objectives which can be used as your guide through the course the introduction block is rather short and include this lesson plus a building construction overview the site utilities and substructure block is where we kick off on site construction activities starting with soils and subsurface conditions. Understanding our soils and getting into equipment we have a lot of heavy equipment at the job site clearing and grubbing tends to be our first activity. Then site utilities earthwork and excavation support then our foundations whether there are deep foundations or shallow foundations. Then we need to learn about concrete. In almost every single building construction project in the world there's going to be concrete work. So we review a bit of the history of concrete and understand concrete as a material. Then we'll talk about grade beams and foundation walls to complete this block next will rise out of the ground with this structure and this block will review all the typical building types and the structural systems which best fit those buildings. Cranes are a major piece of equipment during construction of the structure. So we review the different types in uses of cranes. Then we'll dive into the details of our typical structural system options including cast in place concrete in precast concrete then we'll introduce steel as a material that really revolutionized the building construction industry. And we'll talk about steel as a structure. And then we'll get into some other structural systems such as masonry built up concrete in wood that will wrap up this block with a structure summary in this synthesize everything we learn talking about all the different building types in the typical structural system that's chosen for each with the structure in place. This opens up a lot of work. We could go a number of different routes at this point. But in this course we'll tackle the enclosure next and get the building dried in. So in this block we'll learn about all the different functions of the building envelope and define the key components in the system. Then we'll go through the different enclosure options so called formed steel stud exterior walls followed by cladding to cover that cold steel stud that will get into curtain wall options. Roofing doors windows glassing glazing to complete the enclosure. Next we'll move indoors with our interiors work interior partitions finishes specialties and furnishings then we'll head back outside and complete our site work which includes paving hardscape and landscaping. And at this point we've completed all of the architectural work on the project and it's time to move to our last major block of the course this one is substantial mechanical electrical plumbing and Fire Protection. Represents the largest section of the Corps will establish the requirements of our heating ventilation and air conditioning systems by starting with thermal comfort and indoor air quality both of which are the major contributors to our HPC system choices. Sticking with mechanical will then review plumbing. Next will cover the extensive topic of electrical systems and equipment followed by audio visual tele data insecurity fire and life safety systems are next with fire suppression and fire alarm. Then we'll cover conveying equipment and wrap up this block with MEP trim startup testing and commissioning. At this point the project is nearly done and we just have a few more activities to get to the finish line. So this last block of the Course has one lesson project close out turnover and post occupancy and at this point the building is complete. We're 40 lessons into it and you've completed this course. So I described my first job coming out of school. But here's a quick overview of my background before we get into the course. So I've been very fortunate in my career to work on a lot of different projects in multiple different capacities. I started my career as an owner representing the U.S. Air Force as a civil engineer and managing the design and construction of several projects as I mentioned earlier. After returning to school for my master's in civil engineering I was really honored to get my next assignment as an instructor in the civil and Mechanical Engineering Department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and at West Point I taught both technical engineering classes and construction management but that brought me to the end of my military career and after leaving the service I joined a large commercial general contractor as a project manager. Several of my building construction projects were design build contracts and I was able to continue my involvement in not just the construction phase but also the design phase which I really enjoyed then while building a hospital during the day I started teaching at the University of Colorado as an adjunct professor at night. In fact that course which I taught at night was this exact course on how a building is designed and built. So it took me seven years to develop this course in its current form which is more than twice the amount of time it took to build that hospital I just mentioned. So since that time I joined the University of Colorado at Boulder full time as a senior instructor. All right that's enough about me let's get into the course. I truly believe that this material will enhance your career and better prepare you for the world of building construction. Let's begin the building construction overview is next. We'll see you in the next class.