10 Basic Building Construction Materials

by | Aug 12, 2022

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Concrete, steel, wood, and masonry are just a few of the building construction materials utilised in the construction industry. Every material differs in terms of weight, strength, durability, and cost, making it appropriate for different sorts of applications. The materials used in building are chosen depending on their cost and efficacy in resisting the loads and stresses imposed on the structure. Architects and builders collaborate closely with their customers to determine the type of construction and building materials that will be utilised in each project.

The building business in India now incorporates a wide range of locally derived materials. This is greatly dependent on the kind of construction, which can range from ‘Kuccha’ mud huts to sophisticated town infrastructures constructed with high-quality materials. The main issue with the sector, however, is how the raw materials are sourced. Sand mining, open fly ash plants, and contempt for environmental rules have all had a significant influence on the ecosystem during the last few decades. While the civil engineering and construction industries have expanded over the last decade, the country confronts significant issues due to the extensive and highly polluting nature of building materials. River systems have been harmed by issues such as unlawful sand mining. Densely packed city design has resulted in climatic disasters such as the one our nation’s capital has been dealing with for over a decade.

India’s construction & building materials

To achieve the intended shell life and sustainability, the new age infrastructure weighs a combination of novel design styles, vigorous technology, and high-end and durable construction and building materials. With an increasing number of skyscrapers and massive infrastructure projects planned, the requirement for them to be constructed of the most appropriate materials has increased. The Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) was established by the Indian government in 1990 to encourage and promote sustainable, energy-efficient, and ecologically viable building materials.

Various types of construction materials are used in building constructions

In India, the following construction and building materials are frequently used:


A cement is a construction binder that hardens, sets, and grips to other materials to join them together. It is most typically used to combine sand and gravel. Cement manufacturers use it with fine aggregate to make mortar for building, or with sand and gravel to make concrete. It provides significant resistance to the building’s structure and overall integrity.

There are several varieties of cement, however, the most prevalent are as follows:

  • Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC)
  • Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC)
  • Quick Setting Cement
  • Low Heat Cement
  • Rapid Hardening Cement
  • GGBS (Ground-granulated blast-furnace slag) Cement

Area of use:

  • By combining cement and sand, it may be used as mortar for plastering and bricklaying.
  • Concrete may be used for lab, columns, footings, and beams by combining cement with sand and aggregates.
  • As a slurry, it can be utilised in tile work.
  • Can be used to fix things like paste.

Metal and Steel:

Metal or steel is the second most common construction material after concrete. It is one of the most adaptable and long-lasting building materials accessible. Steel’s primary function is to create a framework for a building or structure, which is the component of the structure that holds everything together.

Area of use:

  • Roofing, rafters, supports, inner walls, ceilings, panelling, and insulated external wall panels
  • Inside fixtures and fittings such as rails, shelves, and stairs are also made of steel.
  • Steel is used to build bridges, tunnels, rail tracks, and infrastructure such as petrol stations, railroad stations, ports, and airports.


Aggregates can be used for a number of uses as a basic raw material, and certain projects may need the use of a specific type of aggregate. Concrete comprises a substantial quantity of aggregate and cement, both of which are used in the process.

Aggregates are used in construction to create drainage, fill gaps, protect pipes, and provide hard surfaces.

Aggregates are not as weather-sensitive as soils, particularly clay soils, and will not split owing to shrinkage during dry seasons.

Area of use:

  • Aggregate is used in many different types of constructions and substructures, such as building components, bridges, and foundations.
  • This construction material is also used on roads to assist distribute weight and keep groundwater off the road.
  • A highly resistant aggregate is necessary not only to support the immense weight of trains, but also to properly disperse and transmit it to the ground in order to prevent damage to the rails, ground, and other nearby buildings.


Sand is a naturally occurring loose, fragmented material composed of extremely small particles of decaying rocks, corals, or shells. Sand gives constructions mass, strength, and other properties. It’s also employed as a decorative feature in landscaping. Glass is formed from certain types of sand, whereas metal casting moulds are made from specific types of sand.

The most common sand is composed of quartz and feldspar particles.

Area of use:

  • Blinding is a foundation layer that is used. It is applied on a foundation layer to provide a smooth, straight, and clean surface for building activities.
  • In its natural condition, it is used as an architectural precast in landscaping.
  • It is used to manufacture glass in liquid form as well as metal castings.
  • Sandpaper is made from this.

Clay Bricks and Blocks:

Clay is burned at high temperatures to make bricks. Heat fuses the clay particles together, resulting in a strong ceramic binding. These long-lasting bricks are made of clay, sand, lime, magnesia, and iron oxide. As a result of its practicality and great sustainability, it is also the oldest known construction material.

The phrase “clay blocks” has gained popularity in the building industry. They are also known as Porotherm bricks or Perforated bricks due to the vertical or horizontal hole and well packed insulating material. Clay, coal ash, fly ash, rice husk ash, and sawdust make up their composition.

What’s more, clay brick is the healthiest and greenest alternative choice available. Clay sourcing is the least harmful to the environment, and it could even be recycled into the process.

Area of use:

  • Clay bricks are commonly used for walls, footpaths, sidewalks, lanes, pathways, and landscaping.
  • Hollow clay bricks are used in both the interior and external walls of construction up to the fourth story.
  • Partition walls are occasionally built with hollow bricks.

Fly Ash Bricks:

Fly ash bricks are a type of construction material manufactured from fly ash and water. Fly ash is a byproduct of coal-fired power stations that is commonly used in concrete as an additive to substitute a proportion of the Portland cement. In India, fly ash bricks are widely employed, primarily in the construction of low-rise buildings.

Mineral residue, glass, water, and fly ash are also used to make a few types of fly ash bricks. They are low-cost, energy-efficient, water-resistant, and provide natural thermal insulation. However, they, too, have drawbacks, which include:

  • Longer setting times and slower strength gain
  • Inadequate Air Content Control

Stones or Rock:

Stones are one of the most important building elements in construction. Stones are made up of two or more minerals that form rocks, which form the earth’s crust, and have no particular shape or chemical makeup.

A mineral is a substance with specific chemical composition and molecular structure that is formed by an inorganic activity. They are strong, long-lasting, and appealing.

Area of use:

  • As a foundation material for building projects, as well as wall surfaces, towers, bridge decks, and reservoirs.
  • Stone masonry in areas where it is naturally accessible.
  • As coarse aggregate in cement concrete.


Wood has a significant inherent advantage over substitutes such as plastic and other artificial goods. Traditionally, wood building has been the predominant option of Indian construction, especially in rural regions. Wood as a construction material is making inroads into metropolitan areas in the modern era. Some of the benefits are:

  • High tensile strength while being lightweight and having a longer self-support length
  • Heat and electrical resistance – naturally resistant to building and heat – providing greater stability and safety
  • Sound absorption – Its naturally acoustic features make it an excellent choice for city life and workspaces.
  • Aesthetically, the natural touch of wood is appealing once again. In addition, depending on the requirement, an astounding variety of wood is available.

Area of use:

  • Softwoods are frequently used to make doors, furniture, and window frames.
  • Hardwood is used to construct walls, roofing, and flooring.


Glass is one of the oldest and most flexible building materials. Glass has been used to enhance the appealing look of constructions since its discovery and has been a spectacular material.

Glass is a clear or translucent inorganic substance that may be moulded into any shape. It is a hard open solid formed by heating sand or quartz.

Various varieties of glass are being employed as building materials, and here is a list of them:

  • Chromatic glass
  • Float glass
  • Double glazed glass
  • Extra clean glass
  • Glass blocks
  • Glass wool
  • Laminated glass
  • Shatterproof glass
  • Tinted glass
  • Toughened glass

Area of Use:

  • Balconies and curtain walls
  • Stairwell and balcony railings.
  • In the restroom, there are cubicles.
  • Creating a barrier between the office and the home
  • Office/home furnishings, etc.
  • Terrariums
  • Frameless glass doors


They are mostly employed as polymers in the construction sector and account for a minor fraction of building materials in India. Its benefits include:

  • Moldable into any shape or form
  • Heat resistant, hard, and resilient
  • Water damage resistance
  • Reasonably priced

But, at the same time,

  • Environmental harm – Because it is not biodegradable, it pollutes the environment.
  • Flammable – Can easily catch fire.

Conclusion – Be Cautious While Selecting Building Materials

Because a good design can only be achieved with high-quality materials, materials are essential to a well-functioning structure. The materials selected have a considerable influence on the quality of the structure. The building materials you select will affect the overall sturdiness, lifespan, and beauty of the project.

As a result, while selecting building materials, one must be cautious and attentive.

Other Links:

5 Facts to Build a Structurally Sound Home in Indore

How To Check The Construction Quality Of Your House


Author- Sarbojit Dutta

Civil Constructions, Home Interiors & Renovations!

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