A Foundation Course to Work in the Construction Industry
Mankind has never before had such a diverse variety of tools and materials available with which to construct things. Construction industries today create bigger and better buildings, roads, walls, fences, drains, landscapes and other contructs than ever before.
In order to make or repair construction; you need to understand the materials available, the tools that can be used and how to work with those tools to create the things you want to create. This course develops your awareness and understanding of construction methods and skills in a practical way, through our customised style of experiential learning. Throughout the program, you'll learn about building construction — managing construction projects working with wood, brick, stone and others.
Course Duration: 600 hours
Students complete a total of six modules, four core, two elective.
Students complete the following core modules.
In addition to the core modules,select any two of the following electives.
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Learn to Build Better
It goes without saying that buildings, and any other construction, must be build so they are structurally sound - that is they do not collapse. Even buildings in under developed countries are receiving increasing attention for structural soundness. Cyclones, earthquakes, mud slides and other natural catastrophes, by themselves don't always kill as much as the collapse of unsound buildings around their inhabitants when the catastrophic event occurs.
There is however another aspect to construction soundness that you need to become acutely aware of.
The physical and psychological health of people can either be enhanced, or harmed; by the way a building is constructed and the materials that are used. In the extreme, careless construction can slowly and subtly lead to serious health issues, particularly reduced air quality. Air quality is compromised significantly by the trapping of toxic gasses released by building materials and the growth of moulds resulting from poor moisture control.
The construction of a building can be thought of as a type of building envelope.
building envelope = walls + roof + floor/foundation
Reasons for moisture and fungal growth problems in modern buildings are complex and involve considerations such as the integrity of the building envelope and the susceptibility of construction and finishing materials to bio- deterioration. Trim, fittings, furnishings, carpets, floor coverings aside, the most important aspects of a healthy building are linked to the building “envelope”. The envelope plays a critical role in moisture control, ventilation, and heating/cooling.
Types of Materials That Influence Indoor Air Quality
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): chemical substances that become airborne, or volatile, at room temperature. They are given off by most paints, paint strippers, wood preservatives and glues;
- Formaldehyde, a common VOC, is released from some manufactured wood products such as plywood, wall panelling, particleboard, fibreboard and furniture made with these products;
- Respirable particles from fireplaces, wood stoves, kerosene heaters, tobacco smoke and other combustion sources;
- Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide from unflued kerosene and gas space heaters, leaking chimneys and boilers, gas water heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces, gas stoves, automobile exhaust from attached garages;
- Xylene and toluene solvents in paints, glues and carpets as well as polyurethane;
- Vinyl chloride monomer styrene in vinyl floor coverings, blinds, textiles, synthetic rubber underlay, two part fillers and paints;
- Isocyanates in polyurethanes, glues and fillers;
- Glycol Ether and derivatives used as solvents in water based paints, varnishes and glues;
- Epoxy resins used in tile, wood and metal glues, cement and surface binder ‘Natural’ materials are generally preferable to synthetic, however some natural materials can have significant environmental and health impacts;
- Timbers can be treated with chemicals against biological attack and to increase durability, but some of those chemicals may be toxic and may pollute the air.
- Masonry and ceramics can be cleaner than many things, but are hard surfaces which have different heat transfer characteristics to other things.
Walls can be constructed from all sorts of different materials, including:
- Earth and clay (i.e. rammed earth)
- Straw/fibre plants
- Straw – clay
- Alternative cements and concretes
- Magnesium Oxychloride Composite sheeting
- Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC)
Among other things walls are used to:
- Protect from the environment
- Self-regulate moisture
- Store and release heat
- Radiate and distribute heat
Wall design elements include:
- “Lighter” outer layer
- Middle core
- Inside “heavier” thermal layer
The job of the exterior wall is to slow down temperature and moisture transfer so that the home remains relatively comfortable. Until a century ago, all dwellings were made out of natural, locally available materials which provided breathable, or “flow-through,” wall systems.
Needless to say, without added insulation, a hollow stud wall of metal or wood does a very poor job moderating temperature and moisture. And standard insulations such as fibreglass batts perform poorly when moisture is allowed to travel through them. If enough water vapour condenses in the hollow cavity, it will cause mould, decay and eventually structural deterioration. To avoid this, insulated stud walls frequently have added moisture barriers.
Miscalculations in the application of this non-breathable approach often accelerate the process they were meant to avoid — moisture trapped within walls by plastic barriers has resulted in countless building failures, causing mouldy and unhealthy indoor air.
Massive breathable wall construction (i.e. clay/straw) eliminates this problem. Airborne moisture is intercepted by the clay in the first two or three centimetres of the wall, long before it reaches the condensation zone.
When choosing materials for wall construction use building materials (structural and finishing) that allow the structure to “breathe”.
Natural building materials, such as untreated wood, clay bricks, cork, wool, sisal, coconut fibres - usually have the ability to exchange humidity, heat, and fresh air with the exterior and to maintain proper ion levels. They can also absorb a large number and variety of airborne toxins (diffusion).
Learning more about different materials and ways they are used to construct things, will expand your capacity to work in the construction industry.