Building materials are used in two basic ways. In the first way they are used to support the loads on a building and in the second way they are used to divide the space in a building. Building components are made from building materials and the forms of a component is related to the way in which it is used. We can see how this works by considering three different types of construction:
1. in one kind of construction, blocks of materials such as brick, stone, or concrete are put together to form solid walls. These materials are heavy, however, they can support the structural loads because they have the property of high compressive strength. Walls made up of blocks both support the building and divide the space in the building.
2. In another type of construction, sheets materials are used to form walls which act as both space-divider and structural support. Timber, concrete and some plastics can be made into large rigid sheets and fixed together to form a building. These buildings are lighter and faster to construct than buildings made up of blocks.
3. Rod materials, on the other hand, can be used for structural support but not for dividing spaces. Timber, steel and concrete can be formed into rods and used as columns. Rods materials with high tensile and compressive strength can be fixed together to form framed structures. The spaces between the rods can be filled with light sheet materials which act as space dividers but do not support structural loads.