In my experience, the most difficult aspect of teaching a course in materials and methods of building construction is that the subject matter is impossibly large and constantly changing. The teacher must find a way of cutting it down to size so it more nearly matches the extent of one's own knowledge and the available teaching time. One also has to find a way to keep up with the changes as they occur.

I wrote Fundamentals of Building Construction with these problems in mind. It focuses on those aspects of construction that seem to me to be most central to the subject, which should be helpful to you in trimming the field to size. It also concentrates a large amount of essential information into a book that a student can be expected to read and learn in the course of one or two academic terms. This allows you to devote more lecture time to particular topics or particular points of view that you feel are important, instead of having to communicate an endless stream of facts that the student could just as well acquire by reading.

Fundamentals of Building Construction is also designed to help you cope with change in the construction field. It is revised every few years, of course, but it also offers you three other means of keeping your knowledge up to date, even up to the minute. One way is via the selected reading lists at the end of each chapter: These contain the names, addresses, and principal publications of the major standard-setting organizations in the construction industry. To update your technical library, all you have to do is contact the relevant organizations, order the most current version of each publication, and note how it has changed since the previous edition. The reading lists are purposely short, so you won't be overwhelmed by the magnitude of this task. The second way of keeping up-to-date is via my semiannual newsletter, Construction Education Update, which is mailed free of charge to instructors who adopt Fundamentals of Building Construction as a text for classroom use. Update offers news of the most important new construction products and changing product standards, as well as ideas for improving your teaching. If you don't receive Construction Education Update already, contact your Wiley representative, or write directly to Wiley at the address given on the order form at the end of this book.

The third way, the one that allows you to stay up-to-the-minute, is to use the World-Wide-Web addresses that are given in this Manual. Many of these websites not only furnish information directly, but also allow you to select and order publications. Because trade associations often move from one location to another, the Web is the most reliable way of finding them and ordering their publications.

Additionally, for those who are not already doing it, I want to recommend a painless, cost-free, even entertaining way of keeping current with construction materials and methods. This is to become a regular user of the free technical data cards in architecture, engineering, and construction journals. Nearly every such journal (probably even the copy in your school library) contains a free data card, and many do not even require a postage stamp. All you have to do is skim the advertisements in the magazine, and the descriptions of new products and literature in the "New Products" section near the back of the magazine, then circle on the card the numbers of those items that look interesting to you, print your name and address, and drop the card in a mailbox. You will receive not only announcements and technical information concerning new products, but also valuable catalogs and even product standards and design handbooks, all without spending a cent. These will arrive on your desk at the rate of one or two a day, encouraging you to take the few minutes required to become familiar with each one. If you then store them in a file whose 24 parts correspond to the chapters of the text, you will have a resource from which you can draw reference and display material as required. If you are handy with a camera and closeup lens, you can also make a lot of slides from these publications that will be useful in your lectures.

This manual is intended to help you with your teaching of construction materials and methods in still other ways. It offers suggestions on formulating lecture schedules and content. It provides additional questions, exercises, and field trips for each of the chapters of Fundamentals of Building Construction, from which you can select for classroom discussions, homework, examinations, and supplementary activities. And it gives information on adapting the text to the Uniform and Standard Building Codes, the two major building codes other than the BOCA National Building Code on which the text is based.

If you're new to teaching materials and methods of construction, welcome! I hope this manual and the text it accompanies will make it easy and pleasant for you to undertake your new job. If you are an experienced instructor in this field, I hope you will find here some new material that you can cut and shape to enhance your own way of teaching.

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