Where do the resources for common building supplies come from?

Where do the resources for common building supplies come from?

Anyone involved in the construction industry knows how vital access to key building supplies is. These common materials and products are literally the foundations of any house or building that is constructed. Without them, the whole industry would grind to a halt and the fabulous structures that we can erect today would not be possible.

It is not just construction workers who would be affected though. Without the essential building supplies that we can call on now, architects would not have the tools to plan out the amazing homes they do currently. This makes having access to the right building supplies for the job at hand crucial.

One thing that you may sometimes wonder when working on a job is what resources are in a particular product you are using and where they actually came from. Understanding this can not only help you to take on board what is in the building supply you are using but also how it has been made.

Where do the resources come from?

There are many, many common building supplies that most construction projects will use. If you want to find out what goes into some of them and where the resources come from, then the below should help:

  • Steel support beams – this is a very important building supply as it protects the structural integrity of the building itself. Adding in steel support beams where needed will help to resist any shear forces and any bending of the section on which they sit. Ferrochrome is the main resource used in this material and is a substance mined from the Earth. Eurasian Resources Group is the prime producer of ferrochrome globally and operates in 15 countries, across four continents. It produces a massive amount of this key alloy each year to help the construction industry access the steel support beams they need.
  • Windows and skylights – another common building supply that you will see on all projects are windows and skylights. They are key to letting enough natural light into a building and making it a more pleasant place to be. Glass is the primary resource in both and involves heating sand to a high temperature until it dissolves. Popular for the contemporary look that it can also give to modern structures in terms of large glass walls, for example, it is produced on a commercial scale in factories around the world.
  • Wall insulation – all building projects now will have a focus on making structures energy efficient. A key part of that is insulating walls so that they retain heat and use less energy. The most common way to go about it is with sheets of rigid foam that sit in the cavity between walls. The major resource in these foam sheets is expanded polystyrene. These sheets are made across Europe and the rest of the world in commercial factory operations.
  • Various supplies such as ladders or railings – one very important resource behind many building supplies is aluminium. This substance is a chemical element that is non-magnetic and soft. As a result, it is very handy for use in lots of projects and allowing architects to be creative in their designs. Aluminium is mined from the Earth and then processed to be used in the construction industry worldwide. China is probably the biggest aluminium producer at the moment with over 30,000 tons mined each year.
  • Concrete – if you are working on a big structure or anything involving landscaping, such as road laying, then concrete is a key supply. This material is key for constructing hard-wearing buildings or roads that last for a long time. Along with a commonly found aggregate such as gravel, the main resource in concrete is cement. Cement is produced around the world by mixing various materials such as limestone and sand together before heating them. When set, the resulting compound is ground into a fine dust to become cement. The main places that cement comes from are China and India, though many countries around the world produce it to some degree.

Don’t forget bricks

Perhaps the most commonly seen building supply on a project are bricks. Although they have been around for a long time, they are still the way that most people expect their home to be built. Traditionally, the main resource found in bricks is clay, which is shaped and fired to produce the final brick. As a natural material, clay is mined from the Earth by mining groups and then processed to be used by brick manufacturers.

Resources power the construction sector

What the above shows is that without the natural resource groups around the world mining precious resources to use or countries commercially manufacturing them, the construction industry would not be able to function. Without common building supplies such as concrete, windows or steel support beams, it would be impossible to safely construct the structures that we all see today.

Where do the resources for common building supplies come from?
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Where do the resources for common building supplies come from?
BDC October 2022 issue - 297

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