House Construction Guide
General Principles. It is a curious fact that while so many of us are particular about our diet, clothing and mode of life, we often pay but little regard to the houses in which we spend the greater part of our lives.
When most of us have had the drainage system of our houses tested, we seem quite content to take the rest on trust, although sickness and disease are probably caused quite as often by inefficient construction as by defects in drainage.
Dampness is the principal enemy to be contended with, and it must be kept out of any building which is to be healthy and fit for occupation. The construction of the house should also be considered with regard to stability and resistance to changing atmospheric conditions. Due regard must be had to the fatigue of the different materials, whose future behaviour should be provided for by a margin of safety.
Local materials should be utilized as far as possible, for it is piteous to see building materials, upon which heavy freights have had to be paid, transported to districts where materials of good quality are abundant.
The site of the structure should in the majority of cases be covered with six inches of Portland cement concrete, and the top of this floated over with one inch of neat cement, in order to prevent any damp air rising into the building. The Model By-laws of the Local Government Board provide for this sanitary requirement ; and it has been demonstrated that families have often been more or less poisoned by vapour drawn up through the ground into their dwellings.
We will now deal briefly with the construction of the different portions of a building.