Design Aids are Instrumental in Constructing Concrete Buildings

Slightly more than half of all low-rise buildings in the United States are constructed from concrete. Designers select concrete for one-, two-, and three-story stores, restaurants, schools, hospitals, commercial warehouses, terminals, and industrial buildings because of its durability and ease of construction. In addition, concrete is often the most economical choice: load-bearing concrete exterior walls serve not only to enclose the buildings and keep out the elements, but also carry roof and wind loads, eliminating the need to erect separate cladding and structural systems.

While steel construction can be advantageous in regions of the country where local market conditions and traditions favor it, concrete is the most cost-effective choice throughout much of the South and West regions with strong masonry traditions. Concrete is often used in low-rise construction in Florida, where the material's ability to weather hurricanes and tornadoes, and its resistance to insects, are valued. Builders in California select concrete for its fire resistance.

See the linked topics for a rundown of concrete design aids.