Building; Fireproof, Iron and Concrete Construction. Building combines the principles of masonry, carpentry, joining, plumbing, and the methods of operation in all allied arts, with a knowledge of the qualities, strength and resistance of materials, and the science of architecture. It comprehends the arrangement of a design for the greatest possible degree of convenience on a ground plan; the preparation and formation of foundations; of floors; the arrangement and construction of drains, sewers, and vent-shafts; the varieties of walling with wood, stone, or laying of bricks; the various methods of tying and bracing walls; the arrangement of gutters on roofs with overflow water pipes in the least inconvenient places; the location and formation of chimneys; the protection of walls from damp, of timber from moisture and stagnant air; of metals from corroding causes, etc., besides the multitude of details which attend the building of any structure.
In modern times, attention has long been devoted to devising means and providing materials for building purposes that will withstand the dangers and destruction caused by fire. The production of incombustible materials, rather than the rendering of wood and other combustibles fireproof by chemical treatment, has been an important factor in the development of present-day building methods.
During the experimental stage in fireproof construction in the United States from 1854 to 1870, the substitution of iron for wood for all constructive purposes was thought an important advance until iron of all kinds proved unreliable when exposed to temperatures of 900 degrees Fahr. and over. The danger from the new style of building was greater than from the old. In many instances, buildings with cast-iron fronts collapsed completely duing a fire, and the plan of unprotected iron construction was abandoned.
Between 1875 and 1879, however, the advantages of protected iron construction was recognized, and with the improvement of incombustible materials for building purposes, steel skeleton construction is now generally adopted for all new structures of any magnitude throughout the United States, and is extended to foreign countries.
In the use of concrete, a wooden mould of desired width, placed about the steel girders, receives under pressure the liquid stone which is left to harden. When the wooden shields are removed, a smooth wall is presented, which grows harder with the passage of time and withstands a greater pressure than granite or steel itself.
The building of a modern iron-frame skyscraper is chiefly a matter of assembling the parts or "members." Little of the real work is done on the site of the building as in the old days of stone construction. The digging of the cellar and the sinking of caissons in order to lay a bed for the ironwork is the principal engineering work done on the spot. All departments work simultaneously -- excavators, draughtsmen, rolling mills, iron-workers, masons, plumbers, and finishers. How much weight each upright and floor will have to carry is figured out, and for the guidance of the rolling-mill man detail sketches are made of every beam, girder, and upright to be used, with every dimension calculated to the sixteenth of an inch, and every rivet exactly indicated as to place and size. Every piece is numbered to correspond with the number on the builder's plan, the floors they are occupy being indicated by letters. Thus M 114 signifies for M, the thirteenth floor, and 114, its position on that floor. By this plan the stonework may often be seen built up on the higher stories, while the floors below show only the iron skeleton left open for various reasons, such as the late arrival of boilers, engines, etc. The ideal method in the assembling and putting together of the different parts of the building is to keep the stone masons, housesmiths and plumbers one floor behind the iron-workers, the carpenters one floor behind these, the plasterers one floor behind the carpenters, and so on until the top story is finished.
Modern buildings are erected according to the standard regulations for fireproof buildings suggested by the National Board of Fire Underwriters and incorporated in the Building Laws.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.