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Concrete, why is it so common?

Concrete is an extremely popular building material that has been around since 6500 BC. Today it is used to make steps, pavements – even entire apartment buildings. Concrete seems to be everywhere we look, but why is it so commonplace?

Cost and flexibility

Cost is a large factor in most projects, particularly large-scale ones undertaken by councils or businesses.

Concrete is one of the cheapest building materials to use on a large scale and can be used in a variety of ways. It is sold at DIY stores in the form of pre-made blocks and in powdered form to be mixed at home. It is also sold ready-mixed and delivered in mass amounts.

This great range is one of the reasons that concrete is so commonplace in our world today, it is used everywhere from enormous, industrial-scale builds to at-home DIY projects.

Durability

There are many different types of concrete and each will have varying strengths and weaknesses. Overall, concrete is far more durable than most other construction materials available for a similar price. Reinforced concrete is one of the most durable and widely used types of concrete, it is able to absorb shock and vibrations far better than concrete alone.

However, even very old and basic concrete varieties can last for centuries, such as what was used in the construction of the colosseum almost 2000 years ago. Even today, concrete is still one of the strongest and most durable construction materials available.

Fireproof

An enormous benefit of concrete is that it is able to withstand a far greater amount of heat than other building materials, such as timber. This a primary reason for its extensive use within housing, particularly in high-rise buildings and cities, where the housing population is so dense. “Concrete walls can generally withstand up to four hours of extreme fire pressure, most wood-framed walls would fall in less than an hour.”

This makes it a much safer option, as in the event of a fire, residents will have more time to be alerted and evacuated, and fire crews will have more time to quell the flames and prevent the structure collapsing.

Challenging misconceptions

Concrete is often thought of as a basic, boring material. However, with the right workers and designs, it can be used to create some stunning pieces of architecture. The Science Hills museum in Komatsu, Japan used concrete to create curved roofs that are covered in grass and shrubbery to allow a greater park area.

People and animals can wander over the roofs of the building and enjoy the extra green space. Check out Hannah Martin’s ‘17 Striking Concrete Buildings Around the World’ for more creative concrete building examples.

So there you have it! Concrete is strong, cheap, and easy to use on both big and small projects, which is why it is so commonplace in our world today.

If you’re considering a concrete based build,  or for any other queries, get in touch with a member of the team for practical, professional advice.

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T: 01638 662393
Concrete, why is it so common?
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