Book Review: Building Construction Handbook 11th ed

The Building Construction Handbook is a self-professed student guide as well as a practical reference for building designers, contractors and others engaged in the construction industry.

The book is published by Routledge who is a global publisher of academic books, journals & online references. It is currently in it’s 11th edition and the next edition is due to be released on October the 25th. New editions are released to reflect the changes to the building regulations as well as keeping up with new technologies.

Analysing the Content

There are eight parts to this book which takes you through the general construction process of buildings from the legislation and pre-construction work, right through to the superstructure and domestic services. It’s written in a deliberately simplified manner, aimed at which I presume to be its target demographic, students.

I myself used this book extensively during my HND in Construction Management, I own the seventh edition which was released in 2008 which can be found as a free online PDF. When comparing both books it is clear that there are various tweaks, changes and additions but overall it is essentially much the same with many illustrations and descriptions remaining unchanged.

Some of the noticeable updates within this edition include the addition of BIM, a section on stonework, large additions on cladding and flat roofing and the obvious changes in the CDM regulations. Some of the more subtle updates include more detail on items such as; EPC’s, planning applications, site measurement, materials testing, foundations, and thermal insulation.

The simplified writing style, clear and easy to understand illustrations makes this book a must-have for those starting out in the construction industry with little to no experience. Understanding a concept is much easier when you can visualise it which makes this book the perfect book for getting to grips with the basics of construction.

This book does exactly what it sets out to do. Its detailed drawings clearly illustrate the construction of building elements as well as giving the reader a solid grounding on all the aspects relating to construction.

For me, the college environment is where this book thrived. During my time at university however, this book became less of a go-to resource due to the need for complex technical drawings and detailed analysis of specific construction elements.


The Building Construction Handbook has a simple formula that works, one that has not really changed much over the years. If you’re a student at college studying a construction related subject, this book is an excellent starting place and will most likely be your primary resource when understanding the basics of construction. If you own a previous edition I don’t think there is enough within this new edition to entice you into purchasing a new copy.

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