The smock mill is a later development of the tower mill where the tower is replaced by a wooden framework, called the "smock." The smock is commonly of octagonal plan, though examples with more, or fewer, sides exist. The smock is thatched, boarded or covered by other materials like slate, sheet metal or tar paper. The lighter construction in comparison to tower mills make smock mills practical as drainage mills as these often had to be built in areas with unstable subsoil. Having originated as a drainage mill, smock mills are also used for a variety of purposes. When used in a built-up area it is often placed on a masonry base to raise it above the surrounding buildings.