High-Rise Building Construction

High-Rise Building ConstructionHigh rise buildings are also known as multistory buildings or tower blocks and these are constructions that are generally a few dozen stories tall and require elevators in order to allow people to effectively get from one point of the building to another.

The first ever high-rise buildings were built in the US in the eighteen eighties in select urban areas and given the fact they were a complete success, the price of real estate in those areas increased rapidly. More and more people wanted to live in these buildings and many of them were ready to pay a high price to be able to achieve that.

At the time, high rise buildings were constructed mainly out of glass exterior sheathing supported by steel structural frames. However, by the mid twentieth century, in the majority of countries around the world these types of buildings have become a standard feature of the architectural landscape.

The foundations of such buildings need to support extremely heavy loads and they generally consist of caissons, piles and concrete piers which are sunk into the ground. The most recommended base though is that of solid rock, but thanks to modern technology, there are now ways to distribute weight evenly on soft ground as well.

When designing high rise buildings, the most important thing is to ensure they withstand the lateral forces caused by earthquakes and strong winds. To improve lateral rigidity, shear walls or cross bracing can be used effectively. However, there are also even more stable frames used when constructing such buildings that use a bundled tube system or closely spaced columns at the perimeter of the building.

A high rise building is also enclosed by curtain walls which are basically sheets of metal, stone, masonry or glass that bear no loads and are affixed to the frame of the building using a series of horizontal and vertical members. These members are also known as muntins or mullions.

The main way of transport in high rise buildings are elevators which function by using electric motors. These motors lower or raise the cab in a shaft by using strong wire ropes which are generally made of steel. Elevator cabs also feature a flexible electric hose which is connected to them in order to provide power required for signal transmission, door operation and lighting.

Since multistory buildings are very high, they also need to have special life-safety systems in place. This means fire prevention standards need to be very strict and provisions for adequate means of egress in case of power failure or worse, fire, need to be provided (more at http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/occupancies/high-rise-buildings). While these were initially built for commercial purposes, the multistory buildings nowadays have a lot more uses than that, so the combination of hotel, retail, residential, but also office space is not uncommon at all.