A building material is a material for erecting structures and buildings. The oldest building materials used by mankind are natural stone, clay and wood.
Building materials are referred to as building products in the legal naming and are regulated in Germany, for example, in the Building Products Directive (BPR). The REACH regulation and the German Chemicals Act differentiate between preparations and products for which the corresponding guidelines and regulations must be observed.
Many building materials are not used as raw materials, the raw materials are mostly processed or refined. Among other things, clay bricks are produced from clay, which are easier and more economical to process than the original material. Limestone is also a material used in cement production. This in turn is part of the concrete as a building material.
Building materials are always used depending on the state of technology in a culture. In architecture, new building materials can often open up unimagined possibilities. The architectural style of modernism was z. B. only realized through the developments in glass technology.
Each building material allows for a different way of building construction. For example, skeleton structures are mainly built with steel, while stones are mainly used in solid construction. Building materials science deals with the characteristics of building materials and their testing. Building materials are sold in the building materials trade, which includes wholesale and retail trade. Building materials are fundamentally divided into organic and inorganic, with inorganic building materials being predominantly used today.