1Introduction

The aim of this introductory chapter is to highlight some of the factors that determine how buildings are constructed and also to provide some context to the chapters that follow. Related issues are dealt with in the introduction to Barry’s Advanced Construction of Buildings. A brief overview of the building process and the function and performance of buildings leads into a discussion about responding to climate change. This is followed by a description of the general principles of construction, concluding with some comments on legislation, sources of information and making informed choices.

1.1 The construction process

In simple terms, the process of design and construction starts with a want or need. This may relate to, for example, a new building, or extension, repair and/or alteration of an existing structure. These wants and needs are translated into a set of requirements, a written ‘brief’ that informs the design team. The design team will develop a conceptual design and increase the level of detail to such an extent that a constructor can interpret written and drawn instructions to realise a physical artefact. The constructor will bring together appropriate resources – people, materials and machinery – to realise the design safely and within the agreed parameters of time, cost and quality. This process, or more correctly this series of interlinked processes, involves a large number of people working towards a common goal. This requires a collaborative ...

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