Derived from an article on GURPS Pre-industrial Architecture by Matt Riggsby, converted from the "death by detail" GURPS measurements. :)
Unlike GURPS (which narrowed it all down to the square yard or cubic yard, including window and door spots, these rules are provided as an easy means to get a thumbnail cost and time for construction. The GM is free to add a "fudge factor" to account for other stuff.
Construction/Engineering Task Modifier Tables
|Site Quality Labor Modifier||#E|
|Wide Open and Level||.75|
|Some brush, gentle slope||1|
|Ruins or Demolished Structures||2|
|Congested Urban Area||2.5|
|Equipment Quality Labor Multiplier||#E|
|Everything they want and then some||.7|
|The supervisors Wish List||.8|
|State of the art||.9|
|Foreman read catalogues and sighed||1.2|
|Little mechanical assistance*||2.5|
|No mechanical assistance*||3.5|
|Mostly "field expedient" tools||5|
*Mechanical assistance includes things like winches, cranes, or animal power, when required for the task at hand.
|Environmental Conditions Labor Multiplier||#E|
|Very Cold, with protective gear||2|
|Very Hot, with protective gear||2.5|
|Crew Quality Labor Multiplier||#E|
|Elite Military Engineers||.4|
|Top Notch professionals||.8|
|Unskilled laborers with good leaders||1.2|
|High spirited amateurs||1.5|
|Spoiled and lazy union||2|
Thatching is made from reeds, grasses, or long leaves bound or woven together to form larger and more durable bundles or mats. Thatch tends to replace dried earth in buildings in wet regions and is used for roofing in all but the coldest climates. It is cheap and easy to find and produce in appropriate climates but it is a poor structural material because it will support no weight. Rather, it must be attached to a wooden framework. Thatch is the preferred roofing material for domestic architecture, since it is cheaper and easier to install than other materials.
Wood is probably the most versatile of building materials, stronger and more durable than thatch and earth, lighter and easier to work than brick and stone.
There are two kinds of earthen materials: piled earth and hard earth. Piled earth is simply dirt dug out of the ground heaped up in a mound or wall. Piled earth is good for improvised fortifications but little else. Hard earth, including rammed earth, sun-dried mud brick, and wattle-and-daub (dried mud over reeds or grass) is the preferred material for many small buildings at low cultural levels. However, both forms require frequent maintenance in wet environments. In very wet environments, such as swamps and anywhere with regular heavy rains, earthen materials are almost impossible to use.
Brick (distinct from mud brick) is made from a mud and straw mixture baked at a high temperature, turning it into a hard ceramic which is far more resistant to the elements. Brick, in the form of flat ceramic roofing tiles or brick arches and vaults, may be used as a roofing material.
Strong and durable, stone is the preferred material for public buildings and fortifications. While it is mostly seen as a wall material, stone may be used as a roofing material, usually in the form of sheets of slate, gypsum, or other rock with sharp cleavage planes.
With barbarian cultures, the only "mortar" available was wet clay, which could be used to smooth surfaces and hold mud bricks together more firmly. For more advanced cultures however, limestone and other calcareous minerals could be heated to yield powdered lime, the basic ingredient of plasters and mortars.
Materials are rarely found where they are needed, so transport is an important consideration, and can often be costly. The labor necessary to move materials around on the building site is included in the building labor figures, but additional labor may be necessary to get the materials there.
Transport by water is far more efficient than transport by land. Prices will, of course, vary wildly, but long-distance shipment of materials over sea can cost as little as 0.3BB per ton per strategic hex if the builder intends to fill the entire hold of a ship. Poor weather, piracy, and duties can increase this somewhat. Shipment by boat or raft up rivers and canals is also relatively inexpensive, with the price increasing to perhaps three or four times that.
Shipment by land is the most expensive. Moving materials by oxcart will cost in the neighborhood of 5BB to 8BB per ton per strategic hex, which can increase tremendously if the cart has to travel over poor roads or through bad weather.
The costs of the following materials are based on the cost of labor to produce them, given the rates of production in Matt's GURPS document. All quantities have been pro-rated and simplified for ease of use. All prices assume materials are on the owner's land -- if the raw materials are on another's land increase costs by 50-100%, not including transportation costs.
sf=square feet, cf=cubic feet
|Pine Lumber||100sf||7BB||140#||9h||1/2" thick|
|Oak Lumber||100sf||8BB||180#||10h||1/2" thick|
|Mud Brick||50cf||4BB||4,800#||5h||200 blocks|
|Fired Brick||50cf*||18BB||6,000#||10h||1500 bricks|
|*includes cost of firewood needed to fire the material|
The costs of the following structures are based on the labor costs, plus the above material costs. All structures below are 10'x10' in size. Stone and brick structures include an additional 10% of foundation.
For the times below, the second number includes the time to produce/gather the construction materials, if not done beforehand.
|Wood Frame||15BB||9h/14h||Uses 50sf of soft wood|
|Thatched Frame||2CC||12h/20h||4" thick|
|Pine-faced Frame||35BB||10h/33h||4" thick|
|Oak-faced Frame||4CC||10h/35h||4" thick|
|Mud Brick Wall||15BB||6h/11h||6" thick, 1 story limit|
|Mortared Brick Wall||5CC||17h/27h||6" thick|
|Unmortared Rubble*||75BB||25h/50h||18" thick, 2 story limit|
|Unmortared Ashlar||1SC||15h/130h||6" thick, 4 story limit|
|Mortared Rubble||25BB||8h/25h||6" thick|
|Mortared Ashlar||11CC||19h/135h||6" thick|
|Ground Clearing, open||4BB||10h||1,000 sf|
|", rough||4BB||10h||500 sf|
|", forested||4BB||10h||100 sf|
|*Price and time for 1 story -- QUADRUPLE time and cost for two stories and DOUBLE thickness.|
For roofs take the ground area of the building and add 50% to determine the actual area. This applies to thatched or wooden roofs. For Mortared brick (clay shingles) or mortared ashlar, use HALF the determined area.
For ground floors, use wood frame as noted, fired brick at 1/3 cost and time, or mortared stone at 1/6th cost and time. Upper-level floors use wood frame, fired brick or mortared stone as noted.
These costs are all base, no frills costs -- time (and labor costs) will increase with any decoration or higher quality materials.
EXAMPLE - A peasant house, a 15x20 pine wood faced frame with thatched roof and wooden first and second floors (upper floor is considered 1/2 a story).
|Walls||15x15 (end) x2, + 15x20 (side) x2 = 1050 sf = 10.5 panels.|
|Floors||15x20, x2 = 600sf = 6 panels|
|Roof||15x20, +50% = 450sf = 4.5 panels|
Total framed wood is 16.5 panels, or 577BB (58CC). Time is 165 hours.
Total framed thatch is 4.5 panels, or 9CC. Time is 54 hours.
This house will cost 67CC to construct if built with materials on the owner's land, or from 1GC to 13SC to construct if materials need to be brought in. Total time is 219 man hours (10h per day, this is about 22 man days). If you have to cut and prepare your own materials, the time is 635 man hours, or 64 days.
EXAMPLE - A Noble manor, 50' by 30' by 2 story, of mortared ashlar walls and roof. inner walls are oak-faced frame (guessed with two running the width of the house, 1 running the length.
|Walls||30x20x2 (ends) + 50x20x2 (sides) = 3200sf = 32 panels MA|
|Roof||50x30 x 0.5 = 750sf = 7.5 panels MA|
|Internal walls||30x10x2x2 + 50x10x2 = 2200sf = 22 panels FW.|
|ground floor||50x30/6 = 250sf = 2.5 MA|
|second floor||50x30 = 1500sf = 15 panels framed wood|
The manor will cost 462CC (stone) + 148CC (wood) = 610CC, or 61SC. This is a base price and probably should be multiplied by a few times for decoration. Time to create this manor is 1168 man hours (117 man days) if the materials are already available, 6965 hours (697 man days) from scratch.