Buildings That Are Not Square

It has only been within the last fifty years that circular, octagonal or decagonal style sanctuaries have gained in popularity. As any architect or construction estimator knows, any building that is not a square or rectangle will be more expensive to build and furnish.

Here is a simple way to understand why this is true. The basic shape used in construction is the rectangle. Plywood, flake board and drywall all use 4’ x 8’ sheets as their standard size. Cement blocks and clay bricks both use rectangles of various dimensions as their standard shape. Carpeting comes in 12 foot wide rolls and is normally cut into long rectangle strips called runs. Roofing paper and roofing shingles are rectangular in shape. Floor tile uses 8” x 8” or 12” x 12” squares as standard sizes.

If a building can be constructed from whole sheets or units of these building materials, rather than the workman having to cut each sheet to form an unusual shape, the project will save in both in labor and material cost.

Example: If a room is to be constructed measuring 12’ X 15’ by 8 feet high, with two windows measuring 3’ x 4’ on the rear wall and one standard size door, the contractor will need to use 13 sheets of standard size drywall a to create 180 square foot interior. However, if the structure were a 12 foot octagon by 8feet high, with the same two windows and standard door, the contractor would need to use 24 sheets of standard size drywall to create 96 square feet of interior space.

Stephen Ferrandi is the Director of KLNB Religious Properties, a real estate firm serving religioius clients in Maryland, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He is one of the top experts in land development in the region. Mr. Ferrandi frequently contributes real estate related articles to both print and online publications.