Types of Building Structure in Civil Engineering with images

You might have seen only a single type of building structure comprises of walls and roofs; but in reality there are dozens of them. Whether it’s for residential property or a commercial venture; it is important to select a type that goes well with the purpose of building and your budget.

Structure with the roof and walls built on one place permanently is known as building structure. Building structures are available in various sizes, shapes and functions depending upon various factors like weather conditions, loading conditions, building material availability, place of location, and various site conditions.

If you notice around your locality, you can find many buildings like homes, sheds, barns, garages, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, schools, and factories. But if you notice all of these buildings have a specific purpose and intent.

So, in our today’s read; we’re going to guide you about different types of building structures:

Types of Building Structure
Types of Building Structure

Load Bearing Structure

This is a type of building structure in which structural load is transfer through walls to the foundation. Walls constructed are load bearing walls that transfer load to foundation which is than distributed to underlying soil. It is constructed where hard soil strata is available at shallow depth and it is cost effective up to four stories.

Load Bearing Structure
Load Bearing Structure

Framed Structures

Structure which is constructed with the horizontal and vertical members is called frame structure. Horizontal members are referred as beams which carry the transverse load, while vertical members are referred as column which carries axial compressive load. Load from beam is transferred to column which is then transfer to foundation through column.

These frames may be sway or non-sway frame. Frames that allow lateral or sideway movement is known as sway frame while other ones are known as non-sway frames.

In frame structures, beams and columns are connected by pin or fixed connection and structure can also be extended into space frame but it will result in indeterminate structure.

Framed Structure
Framed Structure

Composite Structure

Structure that is constructed with load bearing structure as well as frame structure is known as composite structure. In this type, exterior walls are taken as load bearing structural while interior columns or beams will be taken as frame structures. This type of structures is mostly used for warehouse or factory sheds because they are of larger span.

Composite Structure
Composite Structure

Shell Structures:

Thin, curved shape plate structures that transfer load by compressive, tensile and shear stresses acting in the plane of surface is known as shell structures. These are constructed with materials having thinner in depth as compared to other two dimensions. It can also be constructed with reinforced concrete and can take the shape of folded plate or cylinder. On the basis of material, shell structures are divided into:

  1. Concrete Shell Structure
  2. Membrane shell structure
  3. Grid shell structure
Shell Structure
Shell Structure

Pre-engineered building structure:

Pre-engineered structure is the modern technology used in building construction. It is the quickest and most ideal way of constructing building. In this type of structure, structural components like beam, columns are constructed in factory and then they are brought on site and properly installed to form building.

Efficiently designed pre-engineered structure is lighter in weight and cost effective. As, compare to conventional steel structure it is 30% light in weight.

Pre-engineered Structure
Pre-engineered Structure

Wooden Frame:

It is the type of structure which is the oldest type of structure and still it is used in mostly countries like European countries, Philippines, etc. because of the reason that these structures are cost effective, renewable material, and quickest method of construction. In this type of structure rafters, joists, studs and plates are cut down by workers and then installed on site. Its main disadvantage is that it is highly flammable structure.

Wooden Structure
Wooden Structure

Steel Frame Structures:

It is the type of structure in which beams, or columns are constructed with steel that support slab or roof.  In this type of structure, structural members are constructed in factory and then assembled on site using welding or fastening with bolts and rivets.

Main advantage of these structure is that they are flexible, quickest to construct and fire-resistant structures.

Steel Structure
Steel Structure

Components of building Structures


It is the topmost component of building which covers the top face and prevents residents from rain, sun light and open to air. It may be flat roof or slopes roof depending upon weather conditions and location of building. In rainy and snowy areas sloped roofs are provided while in plain area flat roof is provided.


It is a building component provide above the opening like windows and doors. It supports the weight of wall above opening. It is constructed with reinforced cement concrete.


Beam is the horizontal and flexure member of building. It is subjected to transverse loading as a result shear and moment forces induce in beam. This load is than transfer to column or walls.


Column is a vertical member subjected to compressive forces. It transfers loaf from slab or beam to foundation without any failure.


Vertical component which supports the slab or beam is wall. It can be of stone, bricks, blocks or of concrete wall. Openings are provided in walls for the purpose of ventilation and entrance.

Damp Proof Course

It’s known by DPC. It is the water proofing course may be bituminous material, Cementous material or waterproof membrane sheets which is provided to prevent rise of surface water in walls.

Plinth Beam

It is the beam which is constructed above the foundation to take load from walls and distribute evenly. It prevents differential settlement of building.


It is a structural unit which distribute the structural load to underlying soil strata. Its purpose is to distribute load and prevent stability to building against settlement.

Above defined structural members unite to form a single unit which is known as building structure. There are different types of building structures on the basis of size of building, purpose of building, loading conditions, environmental factors, material availability and cost of material. Some of the types of building structure includes:


Saad Iqbal is a professional civil engineering and freelance write. He's passionate about structures, construction management, and home improvement topics. He's been working as a Senior Engineer in a consultant firm for over 8 years. Besides he loves writing informative and in-depth content focused on construction and home-related topics. You can catch him at his linkedin page or reach out via our contact us page.

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