Blueprint Reading Construction Drawings for the Building Trades by Sam A. Kubba
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Blueprint Reading Construction Drawings for the Building Trades by Sam A. Kubba

The ancient Egyptians and Babylonians drew them on papyrus and clay tablets; the Greeks drew them on linen cloths, carved them on wood, marble tablets, and stone. Michelangelo drew them on parchment paper with exceptional detail for his masterpieces. Important since ancient times, this tool is now called a blueprint.

The blueprint as we know it today, which is essentially the cyanotype process, also known as the old monochrome photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print, was developed by British astronomer and photographer Sir John Herschel in 1842. Combined with new technologies, the blueprint has evolved through the years and is now produced in electronic format and printed on white paper. Whatever it is called, or printed on, or however it is processed, the blueprint basically has one function and message: make it as shown.

Now the question is, does it contain enough correct information to make it as shown, and do the people who will implement it have sufficient qualifications to interpret the blueprint and to make it as shown? Therefore, the burden is on both the producers and the interpreters of the blueprint. In his book, Blueprint Reading: Construction Drawings for the Building Trades, Sam Kubba addresses a century-old problem—producing and understanding the message that the blueprint contains.

Blueprint producers are primarily the people with professional education and experience and are certified in their related fields in almost every industry. Implementers are the people who transform the information into reality. As much as the qualifications of the producer are essential, the executer is also an indispensable component—as one designs, the other applies, and the two become one creation.

As Kubba explains in some detail—mainly for the building trades and the construction industry—there is ongoing concern with improving this process from inception to completion of the creation. It is to the advantage of everyone involved in this process, including generations of people who will benefit from the end product, that ideas are understood, transformed, and applied properly. Otherwise, substandard transformation and application will produce dissatisfied users of the building.

Education, training, a systematic approach, communication, coordination, understanding, and trade knowledge are the key elements to convert ideas into reality. This book addresses these issues and guides the reader on a successful path of implementation. A book of this scope would have been extremely difficult without the assistance and support of numerous individuals—friends, colleagues, architects/engineers, and contractors—who contributed greatly to the formation and crystallization of my thoughts and insights on many of the topics and issues discussed herein.

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