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Reading Practice. Read the text divided into parts

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Read the text divided into parts. Find answers to the questions which come before each of the coming passages.




1. What does the construction of a house start with?

Houses are built of wood, brick, stone and concrete. A lot of houses are built of prefabricated blocks (prefabs). All the parts of such houses are produced on an industrial scale in factories and assembled on the spot. The building process takes place under the supervision of foremen and engineers. The structure is put up by bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, plumbers, painters, lock­smiths, glass-cutters, etc. In the construction of a house the first step is to make a careful survey of the site and to examine the soil in order to find its bearing power. Next, the building lines are staked out. After this, the foundations are built. The excavation is dug for the basement and then followed by the actual building of the foundation walls below ground level. Then the foundation work is finished by providing anchor­ing sills. That is the case of a wooden building.

2. What work is the designer responsible for when building a house?

In the case of a brick structure, the building of the walls may be directly proceeded with. Foundations are to keep the floors and walls from contact with the soil, to act against the action of the frost and to prevent from settlement. The part upon which the stability of the structure depends is the frame­work. It carries the loads which are imposed on it. To do this work prop­erly and safely the floors, walls, roofs and other parts of the construc­tion must be correctly designed and proportioned. The designer deter­mines the size of the walls, the floor joists, the beams, the girders and the parts which make up the framework. He also decides how they are to be spaced and arranged.

3. What is a lintel and where is it used?

The building of a wall consists in laying down courses of bricks and bonding them together with mortar. The instrument used by the bricklayer is called a trowel. In order to shape the brick to the necessary size or to chip it, the brick chisel and the hammer are used. Walls are constructed to enclose areas and to support the weight of floors and roofs. The walls may be solid and hollow. Be­sides brick, stone, concrete and other natural and artificial materials are used for the construction of walls. When doors or windows are to be made, a lintel is usually inserted in the wall above the opening. The entrance leading into the house from the street is called the front door, from the yard — the back door. The sashes are placed in position only later and so, of course, are the window panes. The panes are fastened in with the help of glazier's putty. Walls may be either covered with wall-paper or only plastered. In both cases, lathwork is first made which is subsequently covered with plaster. The chief instruments used by the plasterer are the trowel and the float.

4. How are floor boards laid?

Storeys are separated by several suc­cessive layers: the firestop joists and rough flooring. The regular flooring is placed upon the rough floor, being supported by stringers and girders. The staircase leads to the upper floors. The staircase consists of stairs (steps). When we ascend or descend from step to step we hold on to the banisters (handrails). The steps between two landings are called a flight of stairs. Floor boards are laid in several different ways. Of these the more usual are: plain jointed, when the boards are simply laid side by side, a nail is being driven in through the boards into each joist. Tongued and grooved, one board can first be nailed and the other board, upon being slipped into it, will be kept down by the form of the joint. Thus the nails are prevented from appearing on the surface of the floor.

5. What materials are usually used for covering the roof of the building?

The whole structure is crowned by the roof which covers the building and protects it from exposure to the weather. It ties the walls and gives strength to the structure. A complete roof consists of covering, sheathing, rafters, purlins (стропильные поперечины) and roof trusses. The covering is the outer or weather-resisting coating of the roof. The materials mostly used for the covering are shingles, slate (шифер), tiles and iron. The sheathing is the layer of boards or other material to which the covering is attached. The rafters are the inclined beams which support the sheathing. The purlins support the rafters. The roof trusses are the frames which support the roof and trans­mit its weight to the walls or columns of a building. The wall-plates are plates which are laid on top of the wall to distribute the weight transmitted by the trusses. The ridge is the highest horizontal line of the roof.

6. Who are the elements of internal infrastructure fixed by ?

After the building of the house proper is completed there will be need to make a number of connections. The plumber fixes all the baths, water pipes and the sanitary fittings of drains and lavatories in the places marked for them in the plan drawn by the architect. The electri­cian runs electric wires and makes connections all through the house from the cellars under ground to the attics under the roof.


Read text 4. Houses and Homes

a) Read the text without a dictionary. Guess the meaning of the unknown words that you may come across.

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