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Buildings are constructions built out of modules. In the base game, all constructions are considered "fighting platforms" as are Airships and Landships. As the aforementioned constructions, buildings have a dedicated editor which allows players to design and save building templates.
Buildings, due their inherent "stationary" qualities, make good defensive fortifications, as they don't need to spend space, money or sailors in propulsion or lift modules. Also, as a side-effect of their stillness, they have few to no weight limits, enabling a more liberal use of heavy plating, as stone walls or heavy steel armor. Conversely, significantly large buildings can collapse if their lower levels are compromised, so it's still a good idea to spread the defense among multiple buildings.
Curiously enough, presently (v7.0.0) in the campaign and before combat modes, the buildings can be "relocated" with relative ease outside of combat situations. This is probably due their modular self-contained design or the general availability of free hands and time outside of combat. This means that besides the (pretty cheap) cost of flattening a new location, buildings can be placed and moved around practically for free inside the building area of a province.
The comparative cheapness and ease of relocation (inside the same province and outside of combat) of the buildings added to the low cost of building "earthworks" with the terrain allows players to build very effective defensive systems with some proper planning and design.