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Construction of tall buildings

  1. Sep 29, 2017 #1
    What is cheaper,
    the construction cost of 30 separate houses at ground level vs
    that of a 30 storied building, with one house per floor and exactly same layout ?

    Also, how about 10 or 20 instead of 30 ? Does it linearly scale ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2017 #2


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    Have you any thoughts on the linearity of construction costs?
  4. Sep 29, 2017 #3
    I suspect, costs may linear. But, I am not from construction field. So I am purely guessing.
  5. Sep 29, 2017 #4


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    F'rinstance: water pressure?
  6. Sep 29, 2017 #5
    Does the cost of the real estate factor into this?
  7. Sep 29, 2017 #6
    Nope. Just the construction costs.
  8. Sep 29, 2017 #7
    Ok, I guess you are saying water pumping expenses will add up.; Then also, may be elevator costs.
  9. Sep 29, 2017 #8


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    Think of it this way. Suppose you live in a neighborhood where every single house is identical. Tear the roof off of every house except one. Start stacking houses up one on top of the other saving the house with a roof for last. Other than the obvious of only the first story house having a front door that is actually useable, don't you think this would have failed long before the stack got very tall? Modern houses are designed and built to hold their own roof up with not a lot more to spare. However, you would be saving 29 basements or foundations.
  10. Sep 29, 2017 #9
    I think there would be some additional cost arising due to the lower levels needing to be strengthened so they can safely support higher levels.
  11. Sep 29, 2017 #10


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    Yes, and steel. A 20 floor building is more than just two 10 story buildings on top of each other.
  12. Sep 29, 2017 #11


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    This article suggests that 29 stories using wood framed construction would indeed be rather optimistic.
  13. Oct 1, 2017 #12

    jack action

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    A tall building requires an elevator, but separate houses need roads - at least walkways - to link them. How far apart they are will influence the cost a lot. Even as "separate" houses, the buildings may have common walls, reducing construction & maintenance costs.
  14. Oct 1, 2017 #13


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    What is the point of asking this? The number of factors involved is very large and the intangibles are also considerable, so what is it exactly that you are trying to figure out?
  15. Oct 12, 2017 #14
    Speaking VERY GENERALLY:

    The taller you build a building, the higher the incremental costs per story. In fact, after a certain point (obviously depending on the materials, style, function, etc) the cost to add additional floors gets very very high. There are numerous reasons for this -structural, infrastructural, maintenance, stability and construction of load bearing foundation, load bearing walls and internal structure, effects of wind, general other safety issues, proximate construction costs and tons of others. There also comes a point after which you can throw as much money as you want at the project but could not reasonably build it any taller.

    Notably, the energy needed to pump water to the upper floors isn't as big of a deal as one might think. That is why there are water tanks on the roofs of tall buildings.... not to provide a supply of water, but to maintain pressure. That way it is more just a matter of moving the water rather than having to do all the usual work one would associate with lifting it.

    This is all from memory, but I am sure that some basic texts on architecture, urban planning and the like all go into this in abundant detail.

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  16. Oct 29, 2017 #15
    After watching a 'social housing' development grow beside my local supermarket, there's more to consider.

    A 'tower' block is built one floor at a time, and its frame must support all of them, plus wind-loads, plus cladding that will endure such wind-loads. Are you in a 'seismic' zone ??

    The development was built in parallel, with several properties at similar stages at any time. Being low, only 2~3 floors, construction was lighter, access easier. And, they are 'walk-up', so no elevators or complex fire suppression / containment required.

    Given 'Western' housing towers are rarely 'elbow to elbow' as in many Asian cities, there's not much saving in 'footprint'...

    Getting the pro/con balance right is non-trivial.
  17. Oct 29, 2017 #16


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    @Nik_2213, perhaps you didn't notice it but the OP is no longer with us.
  18. Oct 29, 2017 #17
    Sorry, I'm tired, and the strike-through is easy to over-look at my three 1600*900 displays' resolution.
    Will try harder...
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