Residential Construction

Table of Contents


1.1 Aim and Scope

2. Construction Elements of Class 1a Dwelling

2.1 Concrete slab on ground

2.2 Hydraulic services 

2.3 Masonry Wall Structure

2.4 Waterproofing (Bathroom/Wet Areas)

3. Application of Temporary Work Items for A Residential Project

3.1 Scaffold:

3.2 Formwork:

3.3 Falsework:

4. Equipment Selection and Waste Management

4.1 Plant (Equipment) Selection practices

4.2 Waste management practices

5. Conclusion

6. Reference

1. Introduction to Residential Construction

Residential construction is construction of buildings for residence and it involves four phases i.e., construction of foundation pillars, wall structure, plumbing works and waterproofing. All building construction i.e., residential and commercial needs raw materials such as sand, cement, iron rods, stone chips and bricks, electrical and water fitting works (The constructor Civil Engineering at home , 2016).

1.1 Aim and Scope of Residential Construction

The aim of this project is to highlight various components of a residential construction work, legislations of Federal government of Australia for construction industry. The scope of this project study includes construction elements of residential projects, waste management, masonry works, current standards regarding safety and designs of buildings in Australia.

2. Construction Elements of Class 1a Buildings

Class 1a dwelling is a single detached housing unit such as townhouse, villa and terrace house. The building codes of Australia classify building structure as class 1a, 1b, 2 up to class 10. There are 10 standard codes for building structure in Australia. The class 1a building defines standalone residences that are segregated from other houses by wall or land space. The class 2a refers to buildings such as hostels, lodges, guest halls of dimension up to 300 square meters and providing shelter to maximum 12 individuals. The class 2 buildings are two or more separate premises occupied by a single owner. Class 3 buildings are quite similar to class 2 except it offer accommodation of more than 12 persons for a long period. Class 4 building is a residential premise within a commercial building as defined by class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 (NSW Government, 2019).

2.1 Concrete Slab on Ground

Concrete slabs are raw concrete mix poured into the excavated land or plot. It is also known as building foundation as the entire building structure are built on it. The strength of concrete slabs depend upon the raw materials used for mixture (Cement, sand, water, stone chips & rods), thickness of the slabs, depth of the excavated land and height of the building. The average durability of a concrete slab is 80-100 years. Plain concrete slabs are also used as floor for basement, garage and vehicle parking space. The standard measurement of slab thickness for residential building is 4 inches. Modern residential projects use tiles and marble stones for flooring for interior beauty but these quite expensive than plain concrete floors. Floors constructed with concrete slabs absorb high temperature in the building and provides heating or cooling effects to the individuals inside the residence.

The concrete slabs must be built in conformity to AS 2870 standard of National Construction code (NCC) of Australia. Part 3.2.2 of AS 2870 mentions requirements for ground excavation for concrete slabs as follows:

  • The excavated ground must have clean surface with vertical sides, free of tree roots and muds.
  • The upper area of the excavated ground must be cleaned of grass for construction of concrete slabs on ground

Part 3.2.5 of AS 2870 mention requirement for size and layout of slabs and footings for class A, S, M, M-D, H and H-D construction sites (NCC, 2016).

2.2 Hydraulic Services

Hydraulic service is a set of plumbing works such as pipes, taps & tank fittings in a residential building. Various types of plumbing pipes are used in residential projects such as PEX, PVC, copper, ABS, cast iron and galvanized steel pipes. Taps and valves made of plastic, cast iron and copper are also used in plumbing fittings. Sanitary ware and water drainage are also part of the plumbing services in a residential project.

Plumbing codes and standards are laid down in section 3 of the National construction code (NCC) of Australia. These codes lay down the safety, maintenance, durability and other conditions of plumbing works in construction industry. Plumbing codes are classified in five sections. Section A contains statutory requirements of Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) required for both residential and commercial construction. Section B defines water services such as requirements of water heating services from its origin to the discharge point. These requirements are allowable temperature level of storage water and adequate temperature control devices. Part B5 also make essential for making adequate cross connection control facility in building for safe and smooth usage of cold, hot, drinking and non-drinking water. Part B6 is the new inclusion in the PCA that makes mandatory for building contractors to create additional rainwater harvesting facility such as tank that can be connected to drinking or non-drinking water pipe of building. Section C & D contains requirements for sanitary drainage system in buildings that include prevention of noises caused by drainage facilities in a building. Section E of PCA mentions mandatory plumbing service requirement for disabled and old aged persons. It set outs requirement for plumbing and drainage facilities that can be used by all persons living in a premise (Enker and Morrison, 2017).

2.3 Masonry Wall Structure

Masonry wall structure is the building structure built of rods, marble stones, tiles, concrete stones, cement and sand. The cement and sand are mixed together in specified proportion to make mortar that binds wall components i.e., stones, tiles, rods and stone chips. The mortar can be also made of soil, lime stones and sand that can build wall structure of a building. The strength of building walls depends on quality of mortar, wall materials and wall thickness. The masonry wall can be categorised as load bearing, post-tensioned, reinforced and hollow/cavity masonry walls (Think Brick Australia , 2018).

The standards and codes of masonry wall in Australia were laid down by Standards Committee BD-097. It specifies the requirements for masonry wall construction of small buildings by contractors in Australia. The masonry structure design in Australia is governed by an unified standard AS 3700. Section 11 of AS 3700 provides design requirements for masonry wall construction in small buildings. Section 12 of AS 3700 consists of standards for general as well as specific masonry designs. The general standard of AS 3700 for mortars mentions that the mortar must be made of specific proportions to ensure high durability and tensile strengths of masonry structure.

2.4 Waterproofing (Bathroom/Wet Areas)

Waterproofing is an important component of building designs. Several sealants are available to protect bathroom, kitchen and other wet areas of a residential unit against possible damp. These sealants are applied on the wet or damped portion such as bathroom walls, shower pipes, floor tiles etc. The durability of bathroom is 10-15 years depending upon the building materials used (Sriravindrarajah and Tran, 2018).

The Australian Standard for waterproofing in residential buildings is AS3740 that specifies use of all types of waterproofing agents i.e., water resistant flexible sheets, sealants, sheet fasteners and adhesives. Shower floors without vertical separation of shower area and wet area, the minimum fall is 1:80.

The work force needed for all elements of a building project depends upon the building dimension, budgets and deadline period for the project. The building project is the cumulative work of building contractors, site workers, plumbers, engineers, electricians and painters.

3. Application of Temporary Work Items for A Residential Project

3.1 Scaffold

It is temporary components such as staircases, mobile towers, steel roofs, rods and tube fittings used in building construction. The purpose of installation of scaffolding system is to reduce the time and costs of building projects. Five types of scaffolding system are used in the world, which are timber, bamboo, tubes and coupler, prefabricated modular system and Façade modular system scaffolds. Tube and coupler is most popular scaffold used in Australia and it can be used for building structure of any dimension. However, for small building projects such as standalone house, prefabricated moulding system should be used. The prefabricated scaffolds do not consist of any joints and it can be easily installed at construction site (Chen et al., 2017).

3.2 Formwork

Formwork is the process of creating the temporary sheet structure using fibres, timbers, steel and plastics. The main objective of formwork system is to add moulds on the existing concrete slabs, masonry walls for high strength. Depending upon the materials used, formwork is classified as Re-usable plastic, permanent insulated, flexible and traditional timber formworks. In Australia, modular framework is quite popular as these are portable, inexpensive and highly durable. A good framework should be strong enough to carry concrete loads, lightweight, reusable and easily removable after fixation of concrete mix. Removal of formwork depends on the type of mortars used, sunlight and climatic conditions (Pallet and Filip, 2018).

3.3 Falsework

Falsework is also part of formwork system that is used as formwork support for solidification of mould. It is used in both commercial and residential construction such as bridges, roadways, apartments, standalone houses etc. Aluminium and steel metals are used for formwork Falsework system. The typical Falsework support system are aluminium frames and legs, aluminium props with timber beam, heavy duty steel frames and legs. Falsework is also used to provide temporary support to damaged building portions in maintenance and renovation works (Pallet and Filip, 2018).

The work health and Safety (WHS) Act, 2017 lay down statutory requirements of safety measures for workers in organizations such as building contractors. It also applies to all regions of Australia including New South Wales (NSW). The safety measures include scaffold systems, PPE barricades, and administrative control to prevent accidental deaths of construction workers due to fall (Work health and safety regulation, 2017).

4. Equipment Selection and Waste Management

4.1 Plant (Equipment) Selection Practices

Construction projects are nowadays constructed using highly advanced machines and equipment. The construction equipment facilitates speedy completion of fully furnished buildings that saves the costs and time of builders. However, selection of appropriate equipment is quite important in various construction projects. There are multiple factors such as that guide the selection of construction equipment as mentioned below:

  • Technology
  • Operational efficiency
  • Cost efficiency
  • Easy to operate
  • Quick replacement and maintenance services

There are various types of heavy duty construction equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, loaders, wheel tractors, trenchers. These equipment are however designed for large construction works such as factories, multi-storied commercial buildings, bridges and community centres. Residential projects require mostly simple equipment such as chisel, brick hammer, circular saw, drilling machines, float, concrete mixer, bump cutter, hand saw and others.

4.2 Waste Management Practices

It is most important part of the construction process and includes minimization of wastes in building projects. An effective waste management plan consists of computation of expected waste material quantity generated by a building project, waste disposal, recycling or reuses proposals, feasible methods of handling the generated waste items and instructions for site workers and supervisors to identify and separate waste materials from the project site. The average waste generation by a construction project is two kilograms per square feet. Large quantity of waste materials can be recycled for other works or reused at the on-going project. The successful waste management plan therefore, ensure optimum use of construction materials by contractors and worker (Udawatta et al., 2018).

5. Conclusion on Residential Construction

A construction project consists of four basic elements such as concrete slabs, masonry walls, plumbing works and waterproofing. In Australia, construction elements are governed by the specific standards of the government. These standards are specific requirements in terms of building safety, design and usage. Building contractors also use temporary work items i.e., scaffolds, formwork and false-work for convenient and fast completion of projects. Selection of construction equipment and waste management plan are also important for sustainable building projects.

6. Reference for Residential Construction

Enker, R.A. and Morrison, G.M., 2017, Analysis of the transition effects of building codes and regulations on the emergence of a low carbon residential building sector, Energy and Buildings, 156, pp.40-50, < >

The constructor Civil Engineering at home (2016), <>

NCC, 2016, volume two,, <>

NSW Government, 2019, Code of Practice Construction Work, <>

NSW legislation, Work Health and Safety regulation, 2017, <>

Pallet, P.F. and Filip, R. eds., 2018. Temporary Works: Principles of Design and Construction. Ice Publishing, < >

Sriravindrarajah, R. and Tran, E., 2018, Waterproofing practices in Australia for building construction. In MATEC Web of Conferences (Vol. 195, p. 01002). EDP Sciences, <>

Chen, Z., Maiti, S. and Agapiou, A., 2017, May. Evidence-based safety management in building refurbishment. In ARCOM and BEAM Centre Early Career Researcher and Doctoral Workshop on Building Asset Management (pp. 41-50)

Think Brick Australia ,2018, Manual 10, Construction Guidelines for Clay Masonry, <>

Udawatta, N., Zuo, J., Chiveralls, K., Yuan, H., George, Z. and Elmualim, A., 2018, Major factors impeding the implementation of waste management in Australian construction projects. Journal of Green Building, 13(3), pp.101-121,

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Building and Construction Assignment Help

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