What does Columns Mean?

Definition of Columns in Construction
Columns are vertical support members within a structure. These points of structural contact, commonly support the ends of beams, or joists that sit on the top of the column. Columns transfer the load, from the top of the column, to its bearing point on a footing, foundation wall, pier or another column. There are various types of columns consisting of wood, concrete, steel , polymers, etc. Normally the column is longer than wide and consists of a material that is very strong in compression. Columns are loaded vertically, and normally do not have any lateral loading placed on them.

Common column failures occur due to a loading situation that is inconsistent with the vertical loading vector. Lateral loads could be applied to the columns due to wind, tornadoes, earthquakes, or other situations, that are foreign to the design of the column, and causes stresses that the column was not designed to withstand. In most cases lateral ( from the side ) stresses will cause failures in the columns, and eventual collapse of the structure, if the conditions are severe enough. It is quite uncommon for a column to fail, due to too much vertical compression, this is highly unlikely and would only occur if the load had been severely increased by a shift in loading that was never anticipated, or the column had deteriorated for any reason. Column failures are normally extreme and the resultant transfer of forces on the remaining structure due to a column failure can produce additional failures throughout the structure.