What is Substructure and Superstructure in Building?

At Haggar, our belief is that all building projects should start with strong foundations and delivered with sustainability at the forefront. The key components of any building construction will be its substructure and superstructure. Everything ground level and below is the substructure: everything above ground is the superstructure. This article will explore both in more detail.


The substructure provides the support to the superstructure transferring any loads to the soil; this includes the foundations. The specification will be dependent on the building’s intended use and the recommendations of a structural engineer based on design plans from an architect. Beams, columns and foundations require careful consideration to avoid a collapse. General cement or reinforced cement concrete form much of the substructure with stones, bricks or further concrete applied until the base meets the plinth level. Lastly, the application of a damp proofing course to limit moisture penetrating the building in the future.


The superstructure is the construction above ground level that endures the ‘live load’ and provides the basis for the building’s use. This can be any number of floors, from a bungalow to a larger complex of flats or office block. Components will include columns, beams, windows, doors, flooring, roofing, finishes and anything else. As the superstructure is much larger than the substructure, parts are therefore lengthier. 

Differences between a substructure and superstructure


Part of the building built below ground level

Portion of the building built above ground level

Managing and transferring the load from the superstructure to the soil below 

Designed to serve the building’s purpose

Includes the foundations and plinth

Includes walls, columns, beams, roofing etc.

Advances in technology have improved the processes in modern years. It is obviously essential that the construction of any building requires a carefully planned substructure and superstructure for not only safety but longevity especially with climate change. For this reason, there is strict legislation in place for building works to start and proceed at various stages. 

Do you need some advice?

At Haggar, we pride ourselves on delivering smart, sustainable solutions for our clients’ construction projects, giving each project the time and focus it deserves and ensuring the highest quality outcomes. We are a family-run business with a huge amount of experience in the construction industry, working on large and small scale projects, but always with the highest level of commitment and professionalism. 
We look to add value to your project with our expert knowledge, forward-thinking approach and transparent service. If you’re looking for a hands-on team to help you with the utilities for your construction project, please do not hesitate to get in touch and one of our friendly team will be happy to help.

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