frame structure vs brick structure
Team overc’s has already written around 120+ articles on various topics related to house construction in Pakistan under different categories such as grey works, finishing, interiors, house construction costs, construction DIYs etc. However all our articles in which we explained the basics of grey works of house construction based on a method called BRICK STRUCTURE method. There is another method of house construction known as FRAME STRUCTURE, we received various queries where our followers were keen to learn about this method of construction specially its cost since this method is used in most parts of Pakistan as compare to brick structure method. We have mentioned before in couple of our videos/articles and comments that we write articles and make videos only on those topics on which we have our own working experience. Since we have built quite a few frame structures, we decided to come up with a series of articles and videos where we will explain basic differences between frame structure vs brick structure method and per sqft cost of a frame structure house.
Regions of Pakistan where brick structure & frame structure methods are used
Before moving on to the technical differences between frame structure and brick structure method, it is important to learn that which method is used in which regions in Pakistan. Central Punjab and Lower Punjab is a region of plain terrains and doesn’t fall in severe earth quakes zone. Being the agricultural land, soil is very hard due to continuous watering. In these regions brick structure method for house construction is used. Same applies for few regions in Sindh & Kpk. However all other regions where there are no plains and consist of hilly/rocky terrain or where the ground level of water is very high because of being close to coastal areas, brick structure method is not applicable hence frame structure method is used for all types of constructions.
What is basic definition of brick structure & frame structure
Brick structure is a method in which house is built completely by putting load on brick walls. Foundations of such houses are made of bricks only and doesn’t consist of any concrete work such as raft or columns. As you can see below in a picture which is a typical foundation detail of a brick structure house, it starts from a PCC (plain cement concrete) pad followed by brick layers and finally ending at DPCs (Damp proof course), whereas in other picture which is a typical frame structure foundation detail, it is very clear that there is a RCC(reinforced cement concrete) raft followed by PCC , bricks and ending at RCC plinth beam. This type of foundation also consists of columns with footings which are also erected right from the RCC raft at base.
In case of brick structure foundation, DPC acts as a water barrier whereas in frame structure foundations the plinth beams serves the purpose. Plinth beam also acts as a tie beam and shares the load of building before transferring it to ground via columns, hence providing unmatched strength to the house making it stronger and more durable. However if required plinth beam can also be used instead of DPC in brick structures, method and cost difference of which we have already explained in separate article and video.
Stage 2 in both methods after completing foundations
Once the foundations of house are complete in both brick structure and frame structure method and back-filling is done, next step is to start the structure of ground floor. In brick structure method walls are made first using bricks as shown in the picture below. Walls are completed in 3 levels, first up to height of 4 ft, then at 7 ft followed by lintel beams and then up to 10 or 11 ft up to the ceiling height as per the drawings.
In frame structure method, columns are erected first as shown in the picture below, in some cases structural engineers recommend a tie beam at lintel level however in most of the cases tie beam is placed at slab level. Once the frame of house is complete, walls can be made using bricks or blocks. However in general practice most of the contractors construct the walls first and then fill the columns between the walls. Both methods are correct but first method is the actual technical method of frame structure construction since you do not want your walls to be load bearing. All load must be on columns.
Pros & cons of both methods
Brick structure method and frame structure method have their own advantages & disadvantages such as:
Brick structure Advantages
- Economical method
- Less consumption of steel and concrete
- Easy to construct
- Ease to demolish
Brick structure disadvantages
- Less strength and durability as compare to frame structure
- Appearance of hairline and shrinkage cracks with passage of time
- Can not modify by removing main walls in future easily as walls are load bearing
- Not 100% earth quake resistant
Frame structure Advantages
- Unmatched strength
- More durable and life as compared to brick structure
- Easy to modify by removing walls in future since walls are not load bearing
- Earth quake resistant
Frame structure disadvantages
- Higher cost because more steel and concrete is required
We at Team Overc’s construction services as house construction experts, will always recommend frame structure method for house construction if one can afford higher construction cost. Although architects and structural engineers in lower and central Punjab are not using frame structure method as a standard practice in their drawings, but still if you can afford the cost you can request your architect to design your house as a frame structure for more durability.
Cost difference between both methods
Although we will be coming up with a complete and detailed cost and material quantity calculation video for frame structure house construction method, but we would like to mention briefly here that whatever is the normal brick structure cost for grey structure house construction, add a figure of Rs 150-200/sqft approximately and you will be able to calculate your frame structure house construction cost up to Grey structure stage.