Building materials are the materials used in construction. Many naturally occurring materials such as clay, rocks, sand, wood, and even twigs and leaves have been used in the construction of buildings. Apart from naturally occurring materials, many man-made materials have also been used. The manufacture of building materials is an established industry in many countries, and the use of these materials is usually subdivided into specific specialized trades such as carpentry, insulation, plumbing, and roofing. Building materials comprise living spaces and structures, including houses.
From bio degradable to in destructible, from locally produced (local) to transported around the world, from repairable to disposable, and selected for improved fire safety and seismic resistance. These trends tend to increase the initial and long-term economic, ecological, energy, and social costs of building materials.
The built environment is the setting in which we live. Materials enable that built environment, and collectively, the effects of millions of material choices have enormous local, regional, and global impacts on eco systems and human health.
The breadth of material-related issues goes far beyond familiar factors such as aesthetics, cost, durability, availability, performance, volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, and percentage of recycled materials. We increasingly understand that the choice of materials is complex and multi faceted, affecting the health of manufacturing and construction workers and building occupants, as well as the sustainability and quality of natural resources over the life cycle of each building product.
For most building professionals, the array of considerations is daunting, and navigating the issues requires new knowledge and skills. This guide defines the core information, including fundamental issues, key tools, and best practices, necessary for professionals specifying and procuring building materials to understand the impact of building materials on human health and the environment. This knowledge empowers project teams and related professionals, such as facility managers, product designers, manufacturers, and scientists, to take a leading role in selecting materials that promote human health and protect the environment.