The Material Used For Cladding System Construction Essay

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Cladding system is a system which acts as decorative or protective coverings for walls, roofs, or ceilings. These coverings will not form part of the load bearing structure of the building. The main function of the cladding system is to provide enclosure to building. Besides that, it also used to decorate the building. There are many types of material used in the cladding system. In this task, I would like to discuss about Glass Fibre Reinforced Cement (GRC) and stainless steel.

Glass Fibre Reinforced Cement (GRC)


Glass Fibre Reinforced Cement or GRC is one of the fibre reinforced concrete. There are few typees of fibre reinforced concrete like steel fibre reinforced concrete and polypropylene fibre reinforced concrete. This material mainly used in the construction of the cladding system. It is a composite material which is consists of Portland cement, silica sand and water, and then mixed with the alkali resistance glasses. The glass fibre is introduced into the cement mix for carrying the tensile force. As we know, the concrete is strong in compressive strength but weak in tensile strength. So, the introduction of the glass fibre will increase the tensile strength. GFRC is nonstructural and cannot support any parts of the building.

Advantages of GFRC:

1. Strength

GFRC is very strong, tough and not easily crack. Furthermore, it has high flexural strength up to 4000 psi or 27600kPa. It also has higher tensile strength compare to the plain concrete due to presence of glass fibre.

2. Light Weight

GFRC is a very light material. It has 20% of the weight of precast concrete, so it can minimize the load of the building. Besides that, it can be produced in thin section which makes GFRC a suitable material for building facades. The lighter weight of GFRC makes concrete panels cheaper and it will be easier to transport and install in as the cladding system of the building. Installation period will be shorter because it is easier to handle.

3. Noise Protection

GFRC also have been used to make noise barriers. Theoretically, state panels which have thickness around 10mm and surface mass 20kg/m2 can achieve sound insulation by 30dB. So, it fulfills one of the functional requirements of cladding system which is the sound insulation.

4. Nonflammable

One of the characteristic of GFRC is nonflammable. When it is exposed to the fire, it will work as a thermal regulator to protect material from getting burning and avoid the fire from spread. So, it is a good material to be used in building cladding system due to its fire resistance properties.

5. Reinforcement

GFRC is reinforced internally, so it doesn't require other type of reinforcement which is difficult to place in complex shape. Not like the conventional concrete, steel reinforcement bar may corrode or rust and lead to the failure of the concrete. GFRC will not rust or corrode. So, it is safety.

6. Good Surface

GFRC has a very smooth surface because it is sprayed on. The surface will not have voids and bugholes. It is important for cladding system because it provides esthetic value to the building.

7. Durability

Fiber coating makes GFRC durable because it unaffected by environmental effect and also invulnerable to corrosion attacks. Less maintenance will required for the cladding system which use GFRC as main material.

8. Flexibility

GFRC can be easily cast to any shape of columns, wall panels and moldings. Furthermore, it can provide in many colours and patterns. This provides great design flexibility to the designer.

9. Environment Friendly

Glass fibre which used in production of GFRC usually comes from recycled sources. The finishes are ecologically friendly because no toxic or pollutants will be give-off during the production of GFRC. It will fulfill the green building concept and no pollutions will be caused.

Disadvantages of GFRC:

1. Cost

As compare to the conventional concrete, GFRC will be more expensive. This will increase the cost of the building if this material used in the cladding system of building.

Stainless Steel


Stainless steel is produced by alloying steel with chromium which if present in sufficient quantities (more than 10%), forms a coherent, self-healing oxide film on the surface of the metal. The presence of chromium in metal makes the metal resistance to corrosion.


1. Resistance to corrosion

The presence of chromium makes stainless steel not easily being oxidized. It means it is not so easy to corrode or rust. It can resist the attack of the weather and the high humidity environment. These properties also make stainless steel durable. So, it is a good material sued in cladding system.

2. High ductile strength

High ductile strength of stainless steel make it easily shaped or bent. It is very suitable for cladding system because it can be redesign to any shape which meets the requirements of designer.

3. Fire resistance

Stainless steel has better fire resistance in the metallic material. It has nearly 800 °C critical temperature. It meets one of the functional requirements of cladding system which is fire resistance.

4. Aesthetics

Stainless steel has very good surface which can provides high aesthetic value to building. It has different surface finishes from matt to bright. The richness of colour of stainless steel makes it attractive. Besides that, it can be tinted and become very beautiful. This is the one of the reason Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) use stainless steel as one of the material of the cladding system.

5. Clean

Stainless steel is very easy to clean and normal cleaner like detergent will not damage the surface. So, the maintenance to the cladding system which is using stainless steel is less.

6. Recycle

Stainless steel can be recycled infinitely. It can be continuously reused and will not cause environmental problem. It also fulfills the concept of green building.

Question 1 b. Describe two types of sub surface drainage system for domestic usage.

Drainage is the structure which is removing the surface and sub surface water from an area. In a construction project, drainage will be installed first before the building is exactly built. There are two types of drainage system which is surface drainage system and sub surface drainage system. Surface drainage system main purpose is to remove the water from surface of road or pavement. As compare to the surface drainage system, sub surface drainage system is using underground pipes of other fittings from the building to other places. Usually, this system deals with foul water which comes from the building like kitchen wastes. In this task, I would like to describe two types of sub surface drainage.

Underground pipe line

Underground pipe line system can be used to deal with sewage or storm water. Storm water has the same definition as surface water which comes from rainy water. There is a lot of material which used to make drainage and sewer pipe such as vitrified clay, uPVC, concrete, cast iron (CI) and asbestos. Besides that, Glass Reinforced Plastics (GRP) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) also are the material used in the production of the pipe. Different material will produced different characteristic pipe. Below is the table which shows the characteristic of the pipe made from different material:





Cast Iron (CI)

-high tensile strength

-tough to resist damage


-high cost

-tend to rust

-large pipeline extending over great distance


-can withstand pressure and more load

-no easily cracking or breaking


-large pipeline extending over great distance


-light weight

-ease of handling

-good in chemical resistance


-lower tensile strength

-non-resistance to the temperature change

-short distance or home used


-strong in tension and compression

-cheaper compare to iron

-may failure if the fibre failure

-used widely in sewage and water pipelines

-not suitable for large pipeline

-medium distance

Vitrified clay

-lighter weight but no light as plastic

-good in resist the attack by a lot of substance include acid and alkali

-used widely in sewage and water pipelines

-medium distance

There are two types of jointing of pipes which are plain ended pipes and socketed pipes. For plain ended pipes, they have identical ends and will be joined by coupling. For socketed pipes, they have different ends which is 'female' and 'male'. To make connection, different ends will be connected.

Construction Method

Trench excavation will be carry up to provide the working spaces and also the bedding around pipes. Different types of bedding will require for different types of pipes material. For rigid pipes like clayware pipes, selected fill will be above the pipes with the thickness to 150mm. For flexible pipes like plastic pipes, besides the selected fill, an extra layer will be filled with thickness 100mm. The main purpose of the layer is to reduce the stress imposed and to avoid the pipes from breaking. For laying pipes, pipes will be laid to a steady gradient. For advanced technology, laser line will be used to make sure the gradient is accurate. For surface water drainage, the minimum gradient ratio is 1:100; for foul water drainage, the ratio will be 1:40.

Besides the pipeline, fittings and access point also are installed at few positions like head of run, bend or change of direction and also change in pipe diameter. Gully or hopper installed as the access point to collect the surface water along the pavement.

Manhole, access point & inspection chamber

The main function of manhole and inspection chamber is to store the foul water and resist the entry of ground water and rain water. Access chamber is one of the components in this system. It provides simple access for cursory inspection and also access for drain rods or other maintenance equipment. Commonly, the deep of access chamber will not exceed 600mm. For inspection chamber, it is larger than access chamber and has minimum 450mm diameter. One of the functions of inspection chamber is to provide access for maintenance equipment but it will have more branches as compare to access chamber. It usually can up to 1000mm deep. Manhole will be the largest chamber to provide access to the maintenance equipment. The depth of the manhole is not limited but at least 1 meter deep. The minimum diameter will be 600x900mm. Usually, manhole can be found in urban area under street which is covered by a metal plate. Manhole also designed to permit the entry of a man. Usually, the distance between inspection chamber will greater than 45m. For manhole, the distance will greater than 90m

Types of Manhole

1. Brick Manhole

It is constructed by using brickwork which is bonded using English bond. The thickness of brick is 215mm.

2. Precast Concrete Manhole

Precast concrete manhole usually has only 50-60mm thick. It is good for speedy construction because the construction of brick manhole will consume a lot of time. Besides that, it usually built in circular section or rings.

Question 1 c. Briefly describe the function of road and pavement.

Usually, road and pavement will be built after the services, drainage system and ducts have been completed. For temporary access on site, the road will be constructed earlier. The surface of road and related construction is known as pavement. Pavement is a surface material laid down on an area which to provide a layer to sustain the traffic. Pavement also can be say is the surface which is protected by an overlay of treated material with limited stress on the ground is intended for traffic and soil. Different types of road will have different design such as normal single 2-lane residential /access road must have minimum 5.5m width. For principal distribution roads to large residential estates, the width of road usually is around 6 to 6.75m. Some private access or drives, it has only 2 to 3m width of road.

Function of road and pavement:

1. Provide flat and smooth surface for a comfortable and easy journey

The main function of the road is to provide a flat surface to let the user of road to have a smooth and comfortable journey. Accident may occur if the surface of road is full with voids and holes and it will increase the difficulty of driving. Besides that, if the road surface is not smooth and flat, user of the road may face problems with the tires of vehicles will failure. It is dangerous to the user of the road.

2. Transfer and spread transportation load to the ground

One of the functions of road is to transfer and distribute the traffic load which comes from vehicles to the ground. Construction of road need to make sure the road can withstand a very heavy load like the truck, lorry and others vehicles. The transportation load can damage the ground if there is no road. It may cause holes and voids on the ground. Usually, the top layer of the ground is just top soil which full with organic matter, so it is not enough tough to withstand very heavy load like truck or lorry which is carrying a lot of things. When the truck pass by the top soil, the top soil may be will precipitated and voids will form. Therefore, road will act as protective layer to protect the ground by spread the load.

3. Avoid the ground surface being damage by weather effect

Weather effect like rain, snow will cause the ground surface become unstable and it may harm the user of the ground surface. For example, the water from the rain may form ponding, the surface will become not flat and it will cause problems to the user of the ground surface. The objectives of the road are to protect the ground surface being affected by this kind of weather effect and to provide a flat surface to the vehicles. If the rain water is being absorbed into ground, water table of the ground will rise and this will make the ground unstable. Ponding also will cause the surface full with voids and holes. Therefore, the road must be constructed.

Question 1 d. Cellular concrete roofing units, pavement overlays, bridge decks airport runways, pressure vessels, blast-resistant structures, tunnel linings and ship-hull construction are some application of particular fibre reinforcement concrete. Specify the type of the fibre with characteristics comparison with conventional concrete.

All those construction work mentioned above is considered as heavy structure work, strong and tough fibre reinforcement concrete must be chosen as the main material for construction. Bridge decks, airport runways or ship-hull construction are requiring a very rigid and tough material due to its heavy load. Steel fibre reinforcement concrete will be the most suitable material in this case. Glass fibre reinforcement is not suitable because it is non-structural which means it cannot support heavy loading.

Steel fibre reinforcement concrete (SFRC)

Steel fibre reinforced concrete or SFRC is concrete comprises cements which contains coarse aggregates and fines with the steel fibre. Unlike common reinforced concrete which uses the reinforcement bar, steel fibre are added into the concrete. Fibre will function to prevent the growth of crack to propagate inside the concrete if there is any cracking occur. Therefore, the steel fibre ill strengthen the concrete. So, it is very suitable to use at haeavy structure construction.

Conventional Concrete

Concrete is composite which is containing cement, coarse aggregates, water and chemical substance. Water reacts with the cement and bond will form in between other substance. So, concrete will be produced. Concrete is the most important material in construction industry. According to Wikipedia, in year 2006, around 7.5 cubic kilometers of concrete are made. Concrete has very high in compressive strength but it is weak in tensile strength.

Comparison between Steel Fibre Reinforcement Concrete and Conventional Concrete


Steel Fibre Reinforcement


Conventional Concrete

Compressive Strength



Thermal Conductivity



Electrical Conductivity










-steel fibre

-no reinforcement

Tensile Strength

-High due to the presence of steel fibre which is preventing the crack from propagate in concrete


-Can be increased by install reinforcement bar


-Lighter compare to concrete


Flexural Strength


-Increase 1.5 to 3.0 times compare to concrete


Capability of withstand load

-Higher than conventional concrete




-Low because concrete is brittle



-Can be cast in any shape in


-Can be cast in any shape on




-Time consuming due to the process of making concrete until curing process




Impact resistance


-around 1.5 to 5.0 times than conventional concrete


Fatigue resistance


-1.6 times than conventional concrete


Shear Strength


-1.25 to 2.0 times than conventional concrete




-slightly higher than conventional concrete which is 1.2 times to protect the concrete from heavy duty abrasion



-May rust

-Minimal of steel fibre surface can be reduced the rust

-No rusting for unreinforced concrete

As compare to conventional concrete, steel fibre reinforced concrete has more benefits. One of the main benefits is the cost. Steel fibre reinforced can save the material cost because it is more durable as compare to the conventional concrete. The impact resistance of the SFRC is higher than the conventional concrete and it will lead to the longer life span. In the term of life cost cycle, it will reduce the maintenance fees. For conventional concrete, it may need higher maintenance cost because it is brittle.

Strength of the SFRC is higher than conventional concrete. It is more durable too. We can see from the table the shear strength, impact resistance, and fatigue resistance shows that SFRC will be stronger than conventional concrete. It is lighter but still very tough.

In conclusion, in Malaysia construction industry, steel fibre reinforced concrete seldom used in construction project. Acceptance toward this advanced technology product still slow in pace even though this material has been introduced almost 30 years. European countries are using this material in their construction project like airport, tunnel and other heavy structure construction.