What’s the difference between structural work and finishing work?

In the context of a construction, we speak of structural work and finishing work to evoke the various works to be carried out there. If these two terms are quite distinct, the nuance is often blurred for the uninitiated. Indeed, the shell concerns the work that contributes to the structural stability of the house, while the finishing work brings together the tasks that contribute to making the dwelling habitable. Let’s take a look to see it more clearly.

What is the shell in a building?

The structural work includes all the work that concerns the structure of a construction and which aims to put this building out of water and out of air and to stabilize it against the natural elements. It is thus about essential adjustments which attach to the structural elements of the building, points concerned by the insurance damage work and the ten-year guarantee. Accordingly, a wide range of works are listed.

The earthwork

The earthwork corresponds to the work of leveling the ground in order to accommodate the construction platform, as well as the digging of the various connecting trenches (water, electricity, gas, telephone, sanitation, etc.).

Earthwork is also a good way to know the nature of the soil and its hydrology if no preliminary study has been undertaken before construction.

The foundations

The foundations, whether shallow, semi-deep or deep, aim to ensure the stability of the construction by anchoring it in the ground.

The base

Often confused with the foundations, the base is actually the seat of the construction, that is to say the part that rests between the foundations and the ground of the ground floor of the building. It is on the base that the walls rest.

The elevation of the walls

The walls of the construction are among the shell. They can be made of several materials, such as cinder block, cellular concrete, brick, wood, stone, etc.

The frame and the roof

These two cover elements are associated, but are to be dissociated within the framework of the structural work.

  • The framework contributes to ensuring the stability of the constructed structure. It solidifies the entire construction and is intended to receive the roof. A distinction is made between the traditional framework and the farmhouse.
  • The roof rests directly on the frame and covers the house from various weather conditions to provide thermal insulation, but also sound insulation. The roof participates directly in the good sealing of the construction.


Sanitation is the device for evacuating waste water. It can be collective and thus connected to mains drainage, or individual and then connected to a private sanitation system (septic tank, treatment plant, etc.).

Exterior carpentry

Exterior joinery concerns doors, windows, door frames and frames. These are indeed the last elements that allow the construction to be placed in a water-free and air-free state.

What is the finishing work in a building?

The second work refers to the works carried out inside the building and which contribute to making it habitable. These works are generally grouped under the term of finishes, with other more decorative tasks. All the points that contribute to making the dwelling habitable are included in the framework of the ten-year guarantee and the work damage insurance.

Thermal insulation and sound insulation

The thermal and sound insulation directly contributes to the comfort of the occupants of the building. Without insulation, it is not possible to reside there. In addition, insulation plays a vital role in reducing energy consumption and energy bills.

The exterior coating

The exterior cladding of the house or building determines its style and directly contributes to its insulation and protection. If plaster is the most common, this exterior coating can be made of wood, PVC, aluminum, zinc or stone.

Interior partitions

Interior partitions, in plaster, or cellular concrete, in plasterboard, in brick, in steel or in wood, make it possible to delimit spaces and rooms. These partitions can be solid, semi-load-bearing, glazed or slatted.

Interior carpentry

Like the exterior carpentry of the structural work, the interior carpentry is part of the finishing work. This includes interior doors and their frames (handles, etc.), as well as friezes and plinths.


Without stairs, impossible to access certain parts of the construction. These therefore participate in the finishing work to make the accommodation habitable. Stairs can take many forms according to needs and desires (straight, spiral, winding, etc.).


Plumbing is essential to make a dwelling habitable. It includes central heating, sanitary plumbing, piping and the water meter.


Like plumbing, electricity is essential for housing. It contributes directly to the comfort of its occupants and must comply with NF C15-100 standards.


Ventilation is essential for the proper functioning of the construction in order to allow constant renewal and sanitation of the air, in order to avoid humidity and the development of mold and bacteria causing, over time, respiratory problems.

Heating and air conditioning

Heating and air conditioning are important points for the comfort of rooms throughout the year.

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