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The structural components of a building constructed above the ground level constitute the superstructure. The basic components of a building’s superstructure are columns, beams, slab and wall. These components safely transfer the dead loads, live loads and other loads to the substructure (foundation and plinth) which further distributes it to the underlying earth.

Mentioned below are the basic components a building’s superstructure :

  1. Roof
  2. Parapet
  3. Lintels
  4. Slab
  5. Beams
  6. Columns
  7. Walls
  8. Floor
  9. Stair

The functions and components of some of the important superstructure elements are explained briefly in this article.

1. Roof

Roof is the exterior and the uppermost part of any building structure. This structure is a covering that is provided to protect the building from rain, snow, wind, sun and other adverse effects.

A roof deck and roof cover form the two main parts of a roof structure. The structural component that supports the roof cover is called a roof deck. This can be either constructed flat or sloped in the form of truss, shell, dome or flat slab based on the type of building the structure. The roof cover is laid over the roof deck. The roof cover can be either tiles, slates, shingles, corrugated sheets, asbestos cement or thatch coverings.

2. Parapet

Parapet is a short wall barrier that is constructed at the edge of a terrace roof, balcony or walkway as a means of protection. This can be constructed by means of steel, aluminum, reinforced concrete or glass.

Read More: Parapet – Types and Uses

3. Lintels

A lintel is a type of beam structure constructed above all the wall openings to support the load coming over it and transfer safely to the side walls. The width of the lintel is the same as that of wall width and it ends into the masonry wall.

Read More: Lintel Types and Features

4. Slabs

Slabs are horizontal structural elements that serve the purpose of floor, roofs or ceilings. These are flat surfaces with top and bottom face parallel to each other.

Slabs are supported mainly by columns, beams, walls or the ground. The depth of the slab is very small when compared to its depth.

Read More: Concrete Slab Construction

5. Beams

A beam is a horizontal structural element with a specific depth and width running with a span. It withstands vertical loads, bending moments and shear forces.

The loads coming on the beams are transferred to the beam endpoints where it is supported. This is then transferred to the columns or the beam supporting structural elements.

6. Columns

The column is a vertical structural element that carries compressive loads. This is one of the critical structural element in any building structure whose failure can result in progressive collapse.

The column transfers loads from the slab or the beam to the foundation below.

Read More: What is slab, beams and Columns?

7. Walls

Walls are vertical surfaces constructed in continuance that divide the enclosed spaced. Walls can be constructed either by means of masonry or by means of concrete. Walls take up the load from the beams, the slabs or the roof above.

8. Floor

The floor is defined as a finished horizontal surface of a building or a room where people walk. Any floor has two main components- sub-floor and floor cover. The sub-floor is constructed to support the imposed loads coming over it. This component imparts strength and stability for the floor structure. A floor cover or flooring is a suitable floor finish provided in the form of tiles, granite, marbles, concrete, etc.

9. Stair

A stair is a series of steps or flight that is constructed to move from one floor to another in a building structure. A staircase is a room or an enclosure where the stair is constructed. The space occupied by the stair is called as a stairway. There are different types of stairs like continuous stairs, straight stairs, turning stairs etc.

Also Read: Types of Stairs Used in Building Structure

About Neenu ArjunVerified

Neenu is a Civil and Structural Engineer and has experience in Design of Concrete and Steel Structures. She is an Author, Editor and Partner at theconstructor.org.