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Understanding Construction Drawings, 7th Edition

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This proven, uniquely practical text provides your students with a thorough guide to reading, understanding, and working with construction drawings. Now updated to reflect the 2015 International Building Code® and 2015 International Residential Code®, the Seventh Edition includes accurate, up-to-date information on current materials, practices, and standards to prepare students for career success in modern building trades. The text is designed from start to finish for real-world relevance, with topics organized by actual construction processes, realistic construction drawings integrated into chapter content, hundreds of practical questions and activities, and full-size residential and commercial construction prints. The author covers fundamental concepts including views, lines, basic dimensioning, and symbols, as well as more advanced principles and practices such as orienting and cross-referencing drawings, interpreting complex drawings, and working with commercial construction elements like structural steel, masonry, and reinforced concrete. In addition to updates related to 2015 codes, the text features an all-new unit covering multi-building developments, fire code and sound control measures, and seismic considerations, with new drawings for a four-story, two-family building in an urban, seismic-sensitive area.


  • The text follows a logical sequence that reflects real-world processes and industry standards, presenting essential concepts and practices before showing how they are used in developing construction drawings and constructing buildings.
  • Construction prints are integrated into chapter content, providing real-world examples to illustrate key concepts and techniques while helping students appreciate the professional relevance of what they are learning.
  • More than 600 questions throughout the text encourage students to study building plans and construction drawings in detail and consider key aspects from numerous perspectives, enabling them to hone key skills across a wide range of projects.
  • Virtual walk-throughs help students visualize applications of key concepts and relate drawings to actual buildings, making it easier to connect chapter material to real-world applications.
  • The text includes several full-size construction prints for students to consult while completing assignments and reviewing chapter content, allowing them to gain familiarity with the kinds of construction drawings they will encounter as working professionals.
  • A special section on construction math provides step-by-step instructions to help students understand and apply essential math concepts they will need to succeed in building trades.

What's New

  • The Sixth Edition has been thoroughly updated to reflect the 2012 International Building Code® and 2012 International Residential Code®, as well as current building materials and techniques students are likely to encounter as they begin their careers.
  • New and updated photos, sketches, and illustrations—including completely revised, more contemporary plans for the Two-Unit Apartment and Lake House—offer enhanced visual appeal and more closely reflect the kinds of drawings and concepts employed by today’s construction professionals.
  • Based on extensive time spent on active construction jobsites, the author has updated and enhanced the text sequence and organization to better reflect real-world processes, from planning and developing drawings to using them through all phases of a building project.
  • A new feature highlights information on environmental considerations such as energy efficiency, sustainable materials, and "green" building practices, emphasizing the growing importance of these concepts in the modern construction industry.
  • New material and learning tools in the Sixth Edition include a dedicated unit on specifications, and activities focused on practical applications of key chapter material.

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