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Building Construction: Principles, Materials, and Systems

Building Construction: Principles, Materials, and SystemsPhysical Product

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For one or two semester courses in Construction Methods and Materials and Design courses in Architecture. This book’s unique two-part organization provides an unparalleled exploration of building construction.By first focusing on basic principles (Part One), it sets the groundwork for the presentation of materials and methods of construction (Part Two). Part One emphasizes basic principles common to the performance of most materials; Part Two deals primarily with specific materials and assemblies. This organization fosters a real understanding of general concepts and develops skills that will sustain over time. Written by an author team with decades of professional and academic experience in architecture, building construction, engineering, training and teaching this outstanding new product emphasizes a visual approach to learning. It includes more than 1,400 original illustrations and an extra large trim size (9” x 12”) that provides an open and inviting layout that students are sure to appreciate.


Organization and Approach

  • A unique organization creates an unparalleled exploration of building construction—principles of construction are covered in Part 1, and materials and systems of construction are covered in Part 2—providing students with a balanced learning approach.
  • A focus on principles in Part 1 emphasizes the basic principles common to the performance of most building materials. By doing this in the classroom, the authors have experienced that they can preclude or reduce repetition when progressing from one material or system to another later on in the course. This focus also encourages critical thinking and informed decision-making related to building materials and methods of construction. These principles will sustain over time even as materials and systems/assemblies are bound to change.  
  • The logical organization in Part 2 presents the materials and systems in an order based on the extent of their use in the working world. 
  • Extensive cross-referencing allows for quick and thorough referencing from Part 2 (Materials and Systems) to the underlying principles in Part 1(Principles of Construction). This gives instructors and students maximum flexibility and the ability to start with Part 2 if they preferred. This may be particularly appealing for a one semester course.

 Content, Illustrations, and Pedagogy

  • Hundreds of original photographs and drawings have been developed specifically for this text—clearly illustrating difficult concepts and ideas.
  • An extra large trim size of 9” x 12” allows for an open and inviting layout so students can learn easily and effortlessly. 
  • Numerous examples with solutions prepare students for exams and real-world applications. 
  • Principles in Practice sections demonstrate practical applications of key concepts and reinforce the fundamentals that will sustain over time.
  • A chapter on “Sustainable Construction” and the Focus on Sustainability boxes highlighted throughout the text address contemporary “green” issues that face the construction industry today.
  • Practice Quizzes are integratedwithin each chapter allowing readers to test their comprehension before moving on to additional concepts.
  • Expand Your Knowledge boxes offer readers the opportunity to learn more about a relevant topic being discussed in the main body of the text.
  • Margin Notesinclude additional information and help clarify selected topics.
  • End of chapter Key Terms, Review Questions, Selected Websites and suggestions for Further Reading make studying for exams or doing additional research a breeze.

 Author Team and Development Process

  •  A uniquely qualified author team builds on the professional experience of an architect, engineer, construction site manager and academic.
  • A team of expert technical reviewers participated in an unparalleled review process—one where field experts reviewed raw manuscript for technical and conceptual accuracy. 
  • Another team of experienced educators contributed exhaustive insights during the development process—insights and suggestions that were later incorporated into the book.

The authors have combined their diverse professional and educational backgrounds to produce a resource that presents the complexity of building construction in an accessible volume. It clearly provides the basics of building science as applied to the art of transforming materials and systems into constructible buildings. The book appropriately addresses each of the primary building assemblies - foundations, walls, floors, ceilings, and roofs - and how they join, seal and integrate with other components. The performance of building enclosures and systems is reviewed in detail, which enhances the reader's understanding of the comprehensive, integrated nature of the building design and construction process. Almost all building materials and systems have been covered in depth. The book is unique among other books on the subject because it is joining efforts of three authors, two of whom are engaged full time in academia, and the third who has an extensive background in the profession. KEY TOPICS: Offers a new approach to construction principles, materials and methods. Divided into two parts to illustrate current and traditional practices of construction: Part I 10 chapters deal primarily with the principles of building materials' and building assemblies' performance; Part II 25 chapters deal primarily with specific materials and assemblies.  This book will serve as an indispensable reference for practitioners of architecture, engineering and construction.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents 



1.      An Overview of the Building Delivery Process

2.      Governmental Constraints on Construction

3.      Loads on Buildings

4.      Load Resistance–The Structural Properties of Materials

5.      Thermal Properties of Materials

6.      Air Leakage and Water Vapor Control

7.      Fire-Related Properties

8.      Acoustical Properties of Materials

9.      Principles of Joints and Sealants (Expansion and Contraction Control)

10.  Principles of Sustainable Construction



11.  Materials for Wood Construction–I (Lumber)

12.  Materials for Wood Construction–II (Manufactured Wood Products, Fasteners and Connectors)

13.  Wood Light Frame Construction–I

14.  Wood Light Frame Construction–II

15.  Structural Insulated Panel System

16.  The Material Steel and Structural Steel Construction

17.  Light-Gauge Steel Construction

18.  Lime, Portland Cement and Concrete

19.  Concrete Construction–I (Formwork Reinforcement and Slabs-on-Ground)

20.  Concrete Construction–II (Site-Cast and Precast Concrete Framing Systems)

21.  Soils; Foundation and basement Construction

22.  Masonry Materials–I ( Mortar and Brick)

23.  Masonry Materials–II ( Concrete Masonry Units, Natural Stone and Glass Masonry Units)

24.  Masonry and Concrete Bearing Wall Construction

25.  Rainwater Infiltration Control in Exterior Walls

26.  Exterior Wall Cladding–I (Masonry, Precast Concrete, GFRC and Prefabricated Masonry)

27.  Exterior Wall Cladding–II (Stucco, EIFS, Natural Stone and Insulated Metal Panels)

28.  Transparent Materials ( Glass and Light-Transmitting Plastics)

29.  Windows and Doors

30.  Glass-Aluminum Wall Systems

31.  Roofing–I ( Low-Slope Roofs)

32.  Roofing–II (Steep Roofs)

33.  Stairs

34.  Floors Coverings

35.  Ceilings


APPENDIX A — SI System and U.S. System of Units

APPENDIX B — Preliminary Sizing of Structural Members




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