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One of the many reasons for writing this book was the need to introduce students to a level of detail which they would gain only with practical experience on site or in workshops. The accusation that the text includes too much ‘trade’ material could be levelled, but bearing in mind that many of the students who might use this text will be potential builders, quantity surveyors and building surveyors, then the inclusion of the trade material is very necessary.
One of the primary functions of certainly the builders and quantity surveyors is the need to be able to assess the cost of any building operation. Unless they understand the processes to be gone through it is impossible for these professionals to give an accurate cost. They don’t have to be able to physically do the work but they must know exactly what is involved. So this text is for the ‘early learner’ who has no background in the construction industry. It is not intended to be an all embracing text; the physical size of the book could not allow that. So the author has been quite selective in what has been included, the reasoning behind the selection being the need to introduce the early learner to sufficient information to allow a general appreciation of the more common techniques used in domestic construction today.
Emphasis has been given to technical terms and terminology by having them printed in bold on at least the first occasion they are used. Where these terms are generally confined to one part of the UK, some alternative forms are given as well. References to Building Regulations should be understood to mean all the Regulations which are used in England, Wales and Scotland at the time of writing. References to particular Regulations will have the suffixes (England and Wales) or (Scotland) appended.
Where the reference is to earlier editions of any particular Regulations, the date will be given, e.g. (1981). A word about the drawings scattered through the text. None is to scale although, in the majority of instances, all component parts and components shown in any one drawing are in the correct proportion, with the exception of thin layers or membranes such as damp proof courses, felts, etc. which are exaggerated in thickness, following the convention in architectural drawing practice. Appendix J shows some of the conventional symbols used. The reader should get to know these; they are common currency when drawn information has to be read.
For the student who has recently left school there may be confusion, for the teaching of the use of centimetres in schools does not match up with the agreement by the construction industry to use only SI (Syst`eme International) units where only the millimetre, metre and kilometre are used to measure length. On architectural drawings dimensions are given only in millimetres and levels in metres to two places of decimals. Students will be expected to produce drawings in this manner during their courses. Following the convention on drawings etc., no mention of the unit of measurement will be made in the text when these are in millimetres.
Any dimension given simply as a number must be assumed to be in millimetres. Any other measurements will have the unit of measurement following the number, e.g. 14.30 m meaning metres; 10 600 kN meaning kilonewtons and so on. There are already hundreds of books on building construction or on just one aspect of it, be it a trade, material or technique(s). There must be many more technical papers and leaflets and books produced by various organisations with an interest in the industry.
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