Abbreviation, Full Forms, and Terminology.
Name  Description 
ASTM  American society for testing materials 
C/C  Center to center distance 
DL  Development length 
Substructure  Structure which is below the ground level 
Superstructure  Structure which is above ground level 
Elevation  View which we can see when we stand right in front of the structure on any of the sides. 
Plastering  Cement, sand, and water mix applied on brick wall for smooth surface for painting. 
Plinth level  Level on which the actual structure stands on 
Riser  The vertical height of single step 
Tread  Horizontal portion where we put our foot on which going on steps 
Footing  The bottom most part of structure. These are categorized as Isolated footing, combined footing, Raft etc. 
Columns  The vertical members of structure 
Clear cover  Clear distance maintained from concrete face up to face of the reinforcement steel. 
Effective depth  Distance from top of the concrete face upto the CG of reinforcement. 
Singly reinforced section  Section of concrete member with reinforcement at only on tension face. 
Doubly reinforced section  Section of concrete member with reinforcement on both tension and compression side. 
Stirrups  Steel bent in closed shape of either Rectangular of circular shape. 
Cantilever beam  Beam with fixed support on one side and the other end is free. 
Propped cantilever  Beam with fixed support on one side and other end is with pinned support. 
Pedestal  Length of the member is less than 3 times in width 
One way slab  Ratio of length to width is more than 2 its one way slab 
Two way slab  Ratio of length to width is less than or equal to 2 , its two way slab. 
Slender column  Length to width ratio of column is more than 12 , then its slender column 
Plain cement concrete  Cement concrete mix provided on the ground level over which foundations, beams are constructed. 
Pile foundation  The foundation system with Piles i.e cylinder shaped reinforced concrete member. 
Retaining wall  Wall constructed to retain earth 
Scaffolding  Temporary structure, where work needs to be carried out at higher elevations. 
Construction Materials
 Cement: Cement is essentially attained by crushing the gravels comprising lime in addition to clay. Cement is the binder that aids in the attachment of cement, sand alongside with water. Nearly of the actual significant categories of cement.
 Aggregate: Two different type of aggregate are as follows.
 Fine Aggregate
 Fine aggregate is the material which permits finished 4.75 mm sieve then reserved on 0.075 mm sieve
 Example: Sand
 Coarse Aggregate
 Coarse aggregate is the material which retains on 4.75 mm sieve.
 Example: Gravel
 Fine Aggregate
 Concrete: Concrete is attained by mingling cement, aggregate in addition water in accordance with a preferred mix. At this point water to cement proportion shows a significant part.
 Strength of concrete is inversely proportionate to the watercement ratio.
 Concrete is characterized by terminology as M25. Where M is Mix and 25 is the compression strength at the 28 days allowing for concrete cubes of 15 cm cube.
 Concrete has Two setting types.
 Initial Setting time is of 30 min.
 Final Setting time is of 10 hrs.
 The test for setting time is through by means of Vicats apparatus.
 Concrete setting time can be increased or decreased dependent on environmental circumstances by means of admixtures.
 Admixture for increasing the setting time is named retarder then for decreasing the setting time is named accelerator.
Any Structure Typically Consists of Following
 Foundation.
 Columns.
 Beams.
 Slabs.
 Main Walls and partition walls.
 Staircase.
 Flooring.
 Finishes – Plastering and Painting.
 Boundary Wall.
Basic Loads on Structure
 Selfweight of structure i.e slabs, beams, columns, walls, etc.,
 Live Loads due to furniture, equipment, machinery, etc.
 Wind Loads.
 Seismic Loads / Earthquake Loads
 Snow Loads
 Hurricane Loads at some locations
List of Major Indian Codes
Code for Reinforced concrete  IS: 456 
Specifications for steel construction  IS: 800 
Wind Loads on building  IS: 875 
For Seismic Specifications  IS: 1893 
For water retaining structures  IS: 3370 
Usefull Tips for Civil Engineers
Lapping of bars  Diameter of bar is less than 36mm. 
Circular column  Use Minimum 6 longitudinal bars 
Thickness of slab  Minimum is 0.125m 
PH value of water  More than 6 should be used for building purposes. 
Compressive strength of Bricks  3.5 N /mm^{2} 
Dead Load of structure  Selfweight of Structure 
Moisture content  Sand that haves more than 5% must not be used for Concrete mix. 
DPC  Thickness should not be less than 2.5cm 
RMC (Ready Mix concrete) 

Height of floor  3 m or 10 ft 
Cantilever Beam  One end is fixed support and the other end is free. 
Simply supported beam  It has Minimum of two supports 
PCC  It is Used on members when the tensile forces are not acting on it. 
Weight of firstclass clay brick and crushing strength  3.85 Kg and 10.5MN/m^{2} 
Impermeability of concrete  It is the concrete that resists the entry of water or moisture into it. 
Curing Period of RCC  28 days 
Minimum sill level height  44 inches 
Ties  Transverse reinforcement providing in columns 
Stirrups  Transverse reinforcement providing in Beams 
The thermal expansion coefficient of concrete and steel  12×10−6/°C 
Number of Bricks necessary for 1m^{3} of Brick masonary  550 bricks 
Specific gravity of Cement
Specific gravity of brick Specific gravity of sand 
3.16g/cm^{3}
2g/cm^{3} 2g/cm^{3} 
Standard Size of Brick  19 cm x 9 cm x 9 cm 
Slope or Pitch of the stair  25 degrees to 40 degrees 
Rise in stairs  150mm to 200mm 
Tread in staircase  250mm to 300mm 
Hook length  More than 9 * diameter of bar 
Unit weight of PCC
Unit weight of RCC Unit weight of STEEL 
24KN/m^{3}
25 KN/m^{3} 7850Kg/m^{3} 
Volume of 50 kg cement bag  1.3cft 
TMT bars  Thermo Mechanically treated bars 
Length of each bar from factory  12m 
Concrete Basic Knowledge
 The concrete must not be thrown as of a height of more than 1m.
 Cube test is passed out for every 30 m^{3}practise of concrete.
 A head mason must labour 2530 m^{3}throughtout a day.
 In manufacturing, the rate analysis for the work of labours is considered in Man Hours.
 Theodolite least count is 20 Secs while Compass Least count is 30 mins.
 Cement more than 3 months old cannot be used for construction.
 Calculation of extra water in the concrete mix to rise setting time primes to arrangement the Cracks or honeycomb in hardened concrete.
 Vibration in freshly made concrete is completed to eliminate the air foams in a concrete mix.
 The concrete can be raised to an extreme height of 50 musing Concrete Pumps.
 Stirrups in Beams and Ties in Column are on condition that to grip the shear force and to save longitudinal bars in location.
 The Major aim for by means of steel as reinforcement is owing to thermal expansion.
 M20 grade of concrete is normally used in the construction of a slab.
 Floor area engaged by 50 kg of Cement bag is 0.3 m^{2 }and elevation of 0.18 m.
 According to IS 456: 2000, Maximum diameter of bar used in the slab would not surpass 1/8^{th} of the entire thickness of the slab.
Test of Building Materials
Civil engineers need to ensure correct information of various tests of building materials.
 Soil Test.
 Core Cutter Test.
 Compaction Test of Soil.
 Sand Replacement Test.
 Triaxial Test.
 Consolidation Test.
 Concrete Test.
 Slump Test.
 Compression Test.
 Split Tensile Test.
 Soundness.
 Bitumen Test.
 Ductility Test
 Softening Point Test
 Gravity Test.
 Penetration Test.
Concrete Slump Value for Various Concrete Constructions
Concrete Mixes 
Slump range in mm 
Columns and Retaining walls 
75150 mm 
Beams and Slabs 
50100 mm 
Cement Concrete Pavements 
2030 mm 
Decks of bridge 
3075 mm 
Vibrated Concrete 
1225 mm 
Huge Mass constructions 
2550 mm 
Grades of Concrete:
Grades of Concrete 
Prpostion 
M5 
1:5:10 
M7.5 
1:4:8 
M10 
1:3:6 
M15 
1:2:4 
M20 
1:1.5:3 
M25 
1:1:2 
Clear Cover to Main Reinforcement:
Footing  50 mm 
Top Raft Foundation  50 mm 
Bottom/ Sides Raft Foundation  75 mm 
Strap Beam  50 mm 
Grade Slab  20 mm 
Column  40 mm 
Shear Wall  25 mm 
Beams  25 mm 
Slabs  15 mm 
Flat Slabs  20 mm 
Staircase  15 mm 
Retaining Wall  20 – 25 mm 
Water Retaining Structures  20 – 30 mm 
Unit Weight of Different Materials
Concrete  25 kN/m^{3} 
Brick  19 kN/m^{3} 
Steel  7850 Kg/m^{3} 
Water  1000 Lt/m^{3} 
Cement  1440 Kg/m^{3} 
Development Length
Compression  38 diameter 
Tension  47 and 60 diameter 
Unit Conversation
1 Cent  435.60 ft^{2} 
1 Meter  3.2808 ft 
1 M2  10.76 ft^{2} 
1 Feet  0.3048 m 
1 KN  100 Kg 
1 kN  1000 N 
1 Ton 1000Kg  10,000 N = 10 kN 
1 kG  9.81 N 
1 Gallon  3.78 Litres 
1 Hectare  2.471 acre 
1 Acre  4046.82 m^{2} 
FAQ: Comprehensive Glossary and Reference Guide for Civil Engineering Terms, Materials, Codes, and Standards
What does ASTM stand for?
ASTM stands for the American Society for Testing Materials.
What is the difference between a substructure and a superstructure?
 Substructure: Structure below the ground level.
 Superstructure: Structure above the ground level.
What is the significance of the term “Plinth level” in construction?
The plinth level is the level on which the actual structure stands.
What is the purpose of stirrups in beams and ties in columns?
Stirrups in beams and ties in columns are provided to handle shear force and keep longitudinal bars in place.
How is concrete characterized and what does M25 signify?
Concrete is characterized by its mix and compression strength. M25 signifies a mix with a compression strength of 25 MPa at 28 days.
What is the minimum thickness for plastering a wall?
Plastering involves applying a mix of cement, sand, and water on a brick wall for a smooth surface for painting, with no specific minimum thickness stated here.
What is the development length in compression and tension for reinforcement bars?
 Compression: 38 times the diameter of the bar.
 Tension: 47 to 60 times the diameter of the bar.
What are the standard sizes for a brick?
The standard size for a brick is 19 cm x 9 cm x 9 cm.
What is the PH value of water that should be used for building purposes?
The PH value of water should be more than 6 for building purposes.
What is Ready Mix Concrete (RMC) and when is it used?
Ready Mix Concrete is made at a factory and transported to the site. It is used where there is a lack of space for mixing concrete or where a huge amount of concrete is required.
What is the maximum permissible height for throwing concrete?
Concrete must not be thrown from a height of more than 1 meter.
What are the main components of a typical structure?
A typical structure consists of:
 Foundation
 Columns
 Beams
 Slabs
 Main walls and partition walls
 Staircase
 Flooring
 Finishes (plastering and painting)
 Boundary wall
What is the unit weight of steel?
The unit weight of steel is 7850 Kg/m³.
What is the specific gravity of cement?
The specific gravity of cement is 3.16 g/cm³.
What are the main types of loads considered in structural design?
Main types of loads include:
 Selfweight of the structure
 Live loads (furniture, equipment, machinery)
 Wind loads
 Seismic loads/earthquake loads
 Snow loads
 Hurricane loads (in some locations)
What is the least count for a theodolite and a compass?
 Theodolite: 20 seconds
 Compass: 30 minutes
How many bricks are needed for 1m³ of brick masonry?
550 bricks are needed for 1m³ of brick masonry.
What are the major Indian codes for construction standards?
 Reinforced concrete: IS: 456
 Steel construction: IS: 800
 Wind loads on buildings: IS: 875
 Seismic specifications: IS: 1893
 Water retaining structures: IS: 3370