Fallout 4: A Guide to Base Building – Salvaging Materials, Placing Items, Resources and More

Among Fallout 4's new features for the franchise is base building. It's a part of the game that is introduced early on in the adventure, and immediately comes off as overwhelming.

Offering you the ability to build settlements and raise a population of people, base building is a game of its own. You'll have to worry about providing resources for your people, electricity for items that require power, and even salvaging materials to build facilities.

It's a lot to take in, and Fallout 4 only goes so far to ease you into being a leader of dozens of people. To help you get a good start, below you'll find a written introduction to each of the major elements of base building, as well as a video guide.



Hold V while in a settlement to bring up the Workshop menu. While in this mode you can interact with objects, scrap items, and build new ones. A wide range of items split into various categories are available in the menu on the bottom which can be navigated using the arrow keys. By visiting the Workshop item in your settlement (a workbench) you can store items by press R.

Placing Objects

Navigate to an item using the arrow keys. The menu will tell you how many materials (and any power requirements it might have) on the menu to the right. If you have the requires materials, position the item in the spot where you want it to be placed in your settlement and then press E. You can reposition items within the Workshop by walking up to them with the Workshop menu open and pressing E. Using left and right click rotation is possible.


All junk items in the game world can be scrapped for materials. In addition to junk laying around in a newly acquired settlement, you should loot items including vacuums, toy cars, circuit boards, and more before bringing them to your settlement. Then, navigate to the items on your Pip-boy inventory menu and press R to drop them in your settlement. From there, you can switch into the Workshop menu and press R while highlighting the item to salvage it for materials. If you're in dire need of a particular material, visit one of the vendors around the game world and look their their inventory for an item that can be salvaged into the material you need. Note that you can't salvage aid, ammo, as well as some miscellaneous items.


While in the Workshop menu you can view your resources on the top panel. You will need to increase your water, food, and bed supply as your population grows. These items each have their own section in the Workshop menu.


Some items in the Workshop will require Power to operate. In order to provide power, place one of the several generators on your settlement. Then, tap the spacebar while highlighting the generator and drag the power line to the object that requires power. You can utilize conduits and other items to route power. It's worth noting that various items require different amounts of power, so make sure you are providing enough to an object.


Your settlements will be attacked by raiders from time-to-time. You'll want to secure your entry points with turrets, guard posts, and traps. Note that some turrets and traps require Power. You will be alerted when an attack begins, so you can teleport in from your Pip-boy map menu and assist your settlement.


The best way to increase happiness to to ensure that you have enough resources for your settlement. In addition, placing decorations and keeping things tidy helps. If you are in need of a major Happiness boost, think about investing in some Shops.


If you have placed two points in Local leader (requires 6 Charisma) you will have access to several Shops in the Workshop. What these do is provide perpetuity income over time in addition to increasing the happiness of the people in that settlement.


As you secure more settlements around the map you'll gather a greater population among your settlements. In addition to this, you can place a Recruitment Radio Beacon, which requires 1 Power, within a settlement to attract more people.

For a video guide of all the things discussed above, look below: