Course: BTEC HND in Construction


The key principle applied in construction technologies have never changed for many years, but the methods as well as the materials which are used to attain the primary principles of construction have evolved consistently to help the industry of construction at large be competitive and offer great quality structures. The fact that there are scarce resources and the continued demands for a more advanced and better structures from clients and other interested parties have driven the industry of construction to offer structures that enhance better environmental and energy performances with better flexibility, while responding to the constant increase in the economic, financial, legal and environmental constraints (Thomas et al, 2013).

The idea of construction technology has been used for long time and the concept has majorly been used for helping in the design as well as ensuring safety in the development and also making the construction more attractive and economical compared to the earlier days of construction. This concept is looked at as the collection of several applications and software, machinery using the innovation techniques and tools which is coupled with modifications as well as using them during the construction phase of the project which is able to enable the improvement within the field of construction that also includes automation as well as semi automated building equipments and tools (CHUDLEY et al. 2012).

This report looks at building services and starts by looking at the primary services which is covered in the first section and the last sections tackles the distribution of other building services as well as means they can be dealt with when constructing a building and used. There shall be illustrations where necessary within the report to help give a clear understanding of the building construction technology.

This report majorly looks at previous and today adopted technologies ideas that are used during construction.

Unit 2: Construction Technology

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Part 1: Primary services
  • Primary service supply
  • Service distribution
  • Service accommodation
  • Part 2: The supply layout for primary services
  • Water system
  • Electricity system
  • Part 3: The components of the superstructure facilitating the primary services
  • Floors
  • Ceiling
  • Walls
  • Part 4: Appraisal of the primary services
  • Suspension components
  • Choice of floor
  • Fixing services within the structure
  • Basic steelwork
  • Basements and plant-rooms
  • Conclusion
  • References

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Question: Illustrate the supply and distribution of a range of building services and how they are accommodated within the building. Describe the supply arrangements for primary services


Part 1: Primary services

Under this section we demonstrate supply composition for the primary uses in a structure. In easy terms the concept of building usages could be referred to as those systems installed in a structure which helps the residents both live and work in this structure or building meet their daily needs or requirements in terms of safety, efficiency, comfort ability and functionality. In this regard the primary services refers to those which are combinations of both key and basic to the normal daily operation of his building which includes drainage, plumbing(consists of a sustainable urban drainage), security, supply of water, lighting and ease of access (Building Services Engineer, 2017).

There are other services which may be considered secondary since the structure can be habitable without them such as the solar panels or geothermal energy supplies, elevators as well as communication arrangement. The uses such as water, gas as well as electricity are usually sourced externally itself before distribution throughout using several available means, in the building (Lee, 2014).

In simple language a building is made of walls and a roof and it is permanently stationary. The main principle of a structure is to offer shelter to its residents. The structure services are mainly to boost the experience for the residents and give conducive environment for its residents to feel comfortable to work and even live, such services within the building can be called building services.

The building services consist of the following according to Lee (2014).
- Water supply which consists of enough plumbing and drainage
- Energy which consists of gas and electricity
- Lighting
- Ventilations and heating
- Elevators where needed
- Communications such as TV, telephone
- Security including alarm system
- Air conditioning
The building services are classified into;
- Building operations
- Supply of electricity
- Mechanical services e.g. drainage, plumbing etc.
All these are important when planning, designing and building a structure.

Primary service supply
- Water supply - Here the supply of water involves the control of water, which also involves the sanitary disposal and waste water evacuation from within the domestic appliances, toilet wastes. Also involves managing the storm water, as well as the excess of water and also the runoff water to the sewer lines (Lee, 2014).

- Gas supply - this will consist of gas as well as constant provision of oxygen as well as nitrogen facilities. Involves proper piping, storage and following pressure rules and provision of the gas to the needed areas. A normal provision of gas to a resident structure can be through a single store of gas with capacities that vary running max to 20kg. The supply system for the gas is usually provided using either the closed ring or loop system. These systems ensure the supplies of the gas are altered in the event there is a disruption in the supply pipeline. The supply pipes are deeply buried underground where they are protected from floods are erosions using the anticorrosive insulation and electrical methods of protection (Lee, 2014).

- Electrical supply - the provision of electricity can be given at a national grid. Where it is supplied across structure with the use of a wiring system. The system for supplying power is made of units which develops a high voltage transmission ducts for carrying the power across greater distances providing service to the building. This service also consists of minor stations which links all the parts of the district and provides the services needed for the residents. Once the building is finished the owner is able to connect it to grid using a provision line (Rigby et al, 2005).

The domestic installation of electricity usually gets a single phase provision of electrical power at the electrical board, and provides steady flow of 240volts with the rate of 50hz. The electricity cable is made of four lines, where three carry 240V supply and a fourth works a neutral which is neutralized as safety measure. Every line is tapped separately together with the neutral line to give a single phase supply.

During the installation the client unit is put near the service entry point where it is partitioned to minor circuits. It is recommended to also divide the power and lighting units of circuits to minimize effects in the event of faults (Rigby et al, 2005). Also the external part is used for access to the meter reading found at the outer walls as shown in fig 3 below.

For the power circuits in the domestic installations the rule is a single power circuit for every 1000m square floor area. Within this installation a cooker uses a separate power circuit because it's likely to be higher. The heater also uses separate circuit. It's mostly common to use ring circuit because they are more economical

Service distribution
The water line is distributed throughout the structure both for the kitchen and in the bathroom, for use in washing, bathing and toilets. Departments on high rise entirely depend on elevators and high pressure water supplies. A consumer may use hot water which uses an immersed heart which is connected using a separate power circuit. The building majorly uses a single phase electricity supply from the grid as recommended which is then distributed to the rest of the appliances in the building. There are other commercial ducts like department stores and industrial centers which entirely depend on ventilations, air conditionings and lightings.

Service accommodation
To achieve efficiency, the services need a certain level of ceiling spaces and floor. Complex installation of raised floors and suspended ceilings is therefore important, to enhance safety and comfort. The building is designed to provide enough lighting, comfortable spaces, correct temperatures as well as right air distributions and enough usage of power. This is done to meet high levels of quality as well as dependable systems to ensure securing life. For example to ensure high safety procedures the National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) provides guidelines and procedures for placing and colored labeling for supplies





Marker systems


Recommended depths

HV electricity

Tile, Black or red


Red or black

Yellow with black and red legend



LV electricity

Black or red


Black or red

Yellow with legend







Black legend on PE pipes



Water& grey water


Black with green stripes





Fire fighting


Black with red stripes





Oil pipelines




Several surface markers



Communication lines

Grey, black, white green, purple


Black or light grey





Blue or grey

Blue polymer


Blue or black



Table 1: Recommended coding of colors for underground utility apparatus

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Question: Explain the distribution arrangements for primary services

Part 2: The supply layout for primary services

While constructing structures it is important to prioritize the electricity, water supply, gas, heating, etc. Water, power as well as telecommunications provides primary services. For this report we shall give a case study of Krep mall found in Wrexham, north east Wales Singapore as an example to show how the systems operate.

Water system

The distribution of water requires an elaborate system to attain the supply of water without fail. The kind of system to be used relies on the nature of topography of the place its being installed. Majorly they are gravity systems, pump, and combinations of both gravity and pumped depending on need (Swaffield et al, 2012).

Distribution and storage of cold water - there is both direct and indirect distribution systems that can be used. The direct system is where the water is feed from the main source. With the indirect systems it is feed into rooftop storage then distributed to the floors by gravity (Swaffield et al, 2012).

In the Krep mall example the water is distributed to the mall with the help of gravity and then is supplied to the rest of the building with the use of the combined supply system. Water has been stored in the basement tanks inside the mall. The water is pumped using pumps to rooftop storage on the roof of the mall. From here water is supplied to the rest of the building.

The water distribution from the local treatment facility is taken to the main source through the pipes. The pipes end at the main meter, where the water is fed into a pump (suction) found at the basement then pumped to the rooftop using electrical pumps. A pipe connects the main to a point the pipe passes a boundary between a pavement and private land. A service pipe then feeds from main source to the building distribution system.
Hot water supply system - in this mall, the supply of hot water uses instantaneous hot water system and open vented methods for provision. The system uses various components to offer this service. It has a hot water cylinder, cold water cylinder and open vent pipe connected to a source of power for heating the water. Heating is done directly or indirectly for open vented system (Imwenhao, 2014).

The direct heating water is heated from the heat source directly with an immersion heater. The indirect heating is done where main heating and hot water is separated and heating is done using heat exchanger

Electricity system
The high demand on energy these days requires that buildings have enough energy and mostly electricity. Therefore it is important to have an effective system in place which is safe and elaborate to distribute electricity from the mains to the structures where it is needed.

At the start this electricity goes through a step-up station where it is increased using a step-up transformer then it is transported using high voltage lines. It then goes through a step down transformer at a substation before it is transported to consumers (Rigby et al, 2005).

There different kinds of consumers such as commercial, industrial and residential who each gets a different voltage.
There are many methods for supplying the electricity once it's in the building. With the Krep mall in Singapore, the figure below is used to illustrate the routes taken.

The substation is linked to the cable transmitting electricity. Within the Krep mall, we have dual mains with high voltage coming from the TNB substation with 11kV. Then it goes to consumer room found near to the TNB room which decreases the voltage.

The consumer room uses a transformer which steps down the voltages from 11kV to about 412v that is enough for usage.

There are switchboards are used for the management of electricity distribution from a transformer by seeing that the intake voltage keeps at 412v-/+1%, it trips if the level is more. Then electricity passes up to the distribution board used for controlling certain levels of individual sections within the building supply of power (Rigby et al, 2005).

The Krep mall also has generators rooms that's has generators, exhaust and fuel systems. A tank of diesel that's full is able to provide a structure's electricity need for 26 hours. Also the mall is situated near the transformer to reduce distance for the current flow in turn decreasing voltage drop.

Question: Demonstrate the elements of the superstructure used to facilitate the primary services

Part 3: The components of the superstructure facilitating the primary services

A superstructure is the part of the building which is found on the ground and mostly it's supported by the substructure below it. It is in this superstructure where all the activities occur for example such as a house. In this case therefore the superstructure enables the functionality of building services and enhances structure functionality which enables comfort to the residents. The key services given in the buildings are water, electricity and drainages (Thomas et al, 2013).


The floors consist of important feature in enabling provision of building services because it is possible to integrate some systems within floors. The structure of the floor is made of beams and slabs. The used beams are normally linked in key places to maximize usage of the building. Structural floors can have a direct finish installed or screed or raised floors to provide for a space when supplying electricity and communication lines. Composite floors are used to enhance integration of services within the floor structure. They are made of steel decking normally lifted on the steelwork in bulk and placed into position manually. Checking is usually placed after steelwork has been raised (BRYAN, 2010).

Generally, installations of building services within a floor can be designed as laying of trunk by using elevated floors and fire break systems, electricity lines which run inside the slabs and trunks for electricity together with air ducts which run throughout the raised floors and going round the fore-walls for structures in which vibrations are perceptible.

Very key services are normally built on a ceiling. The most normal one is the light services. The lighting elements are installed on a ceiling because they can lighten a bigger area at that position (BRYAN, 2010). Also other systems are aerations fitted on a ceiling because they are able to attain maximum capacity.


The super structures consists of walls which also have a crucial role in constructing because apart from providing partitions they are used as load bearing elements. Also they provide good site for installation of building services, because the service networks are mostly laid within the walls e.g. electricity supply. The service networks are mostly placed inside behind the walls. (Thomas et al, 2013).

This is important because it helps to reduce potential hazards and help enhance building aesthetics. Other services installed within the walls are the drainages and plumbing systems (Swaffield et al, 2012). Regular water pipes can be installed within or onto the walls. The HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems can also be installed on walls. Together the integrated services form key fundamental services of a building for comfortable living.

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Question: Appraise how the distribution of the primary services impact on the overall design of the building

Part 4: Appraisal of the primary services

Generally, major purposes for primary services in a building is to provide a safe and comfortable sorroundings for its residents, and this can be achieved by ensuring warmth, lighting, electricity, sanitation, transport, drainage, cooling, security, fire control, water and noise control. This provides a successful indoor environment (Thomas et al, 2013).

The need for high levels of environment control within buildings as well as providing primary services has continued to be high and so does the complexity in methodologies as well as available tools to supply these services within and around the building. Also there is an increased need for conserving the resources, as well as managing pollution and these must also be considered when designing building services (Lee 2014).

Given the primary services it is important to have a keen analysis of the loads to have an economic layout to help meet efficiency and limits of the budget. The initial design proposals must ensure ease of access for maintenance as well as replacements throughout the lifetime of the structure.

Modern structure designs demands that there should be labyrinths of ducts as well as pipes, done together with cabling all together to provide the primary services. All these requirements must be safely supported to ensure no damages done to the service or the building itself. Some components like the steel checking, beams and slabs are mostly used to give mechanical support and electricity service to the structure. The method in use depends on the needs of each installation e.g. the position of fixing, overall loads and positions for suspended items (Lee 2014).

In a lot of cases, designing buildings and constructions, the failure or success of such projects relies upon the design of interfaces and design of specific columns, beams and building services.
The variety of building services mostly suspended includes;
- Cable trays
- Ductwork
- Bus-bars
- Piping
- Ceiling grids
- Fan coil
- Decorative objects
Once the design configurations are chosen, the designer should calculate the loads for every fixing to see there is fitting tough elements are given and seen by the structure engineer this to make sure loads are not surpassed (Beer, 2012).

Suspension components
Mostly used suspension components are rigid commonly a threaded rod. This offers resistance to forces of compression and ensuring rigidity. Also wire ropes can be used in place of threaded rods. However they offer little resistance to compression loads. A lot of threaded rods used have specifications for certain applications which provides for better freedoms during installations. While some use wire ropes, they are used with specific designs and loads could be overstressed if the installations are not done properly. It's is important to be keen to the kinds of load which may be used for suspension systems (Lee, 2014).

Choice of floor
With the use of supporting systems which tighten the underside of the steel floor decking that offers engineers with a certain level of choice depending on the area of service installations with no need for extra costs, and this is possible only if the right floor type is selected. It is important for clients to include service engineers throughout the decision making process.

Fixing services within the structure
The many types of buildings offers the services engineers with many options when it to supporting mechanical or electrical services. Choosing the right attachment depends upon factors such as type of floor, structure layout frame, weight and size of service supported and location in the structure. It is therefore important for engineers to understand the real loads for the elements as well as the state in which they operate. This can be done by obtaining the safe working limits or loads from their suppliers' details of the maximum load capacity for specific systems and elements (Lee 2014).

Basic steelwork

It is possible to have services that are supported directly with the main building beams via use of clamps linked to the bottom or a rope passing through a section. There are various clamps for linking flanges. Minor services such as cabling can be transported on top of lower beam flange connected using clips.

Basements and plant-rooms
There are hidden places of the structure which are just as demanding, especially when dealing with penetrating fabrics to pass electrical or plumping services. It needs enough water proofing.

There are various case studies that show how supply of structure services to design of structures is done.
For example at the galleries of Hepworth it offers maximum lighting, which is developed by Arup lighting, created by Hepworth Wakefield which is one of the biggest purpose build galleries globally. How this is taken had two objectives; to preserve gallery's exhibition sites which are temporary and also to have the sculptures presented in maximum lighting. They were able to create a method for assessing how a given geometry reacts to daylight. If the reaction was more than needed reducing shading systems were placed to regulate the light. Windows were used in the galleries to have visual connection to help visitors to the surrounding landscape, and viewing inside activity simultaneously.


The primary services to a building are drainage, water, gas and electricity. Together all these services offer an environment for comfort safety and warmth for the building residents. Every building differs from one another and so do the design engineers, but all agree on all the major elements that contribute to the building to being termed as safe and comfortable.
There are so many modern tools, methods and techniques applied during the design and construction of structures and all this work in order to ensure a structure has proper standards and quality when creating primary services for buildings. There are regulations standards put forward by the regulating bodies which helps in guiding engineers the types of materials and elements to use when designing building services and such regulations may vary from region to region, that's why it is important for design engineers to understand regional regulations regarding building services and make designs which fit.


  • What are some key terms used in construction technology?
  • What are some other commonly used terms?
  • What are some resources to learn more about construction technology terminology?
  • What are substructures and superstructures?
  • What are the different types of civil engineering technologies used in buildings?
  • How do these technologies impact building design and construction?
  • What are building services?
  • How are building services supplied and distributed?
  • How are building services accommodated within the building?

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