My new book is out! Schreyer authors fourth edition of ‘Fundamentals of Residential Construction’.

UMass Press Release:

Alexander Schreyer, director of the building and construction technology (BCT) program, has revised and expanded “Fundamentals of Residential Construction” to produce the fourth edition of the guide to professional construction of single-family and multifamily homes.

Schreyer joins Edward Allen, formerly of MIT, Yale University and the University of Oregon, and Robert Thallon of the University of Oregon, who wrote the book’s previous editions. The new edition, which is being published by John Wiley & Sons, promises to be essential to the process of learning about residential construction, according to the publisher.

“Construction is a slow-changing industry, but it changes, and keeping up with that is really important,” said Schreyer. “It was really exciting to be able to join this book as one of the authors so we can keep pushing the envelope and teach about residential construction. There are lots of people that need to know about it, want to know about it, and want to be builders or build their own house, and this book is really a great resource for them to learn about the details, the materials, the systems, and the basics.”

According to Schreyer, the most significant revisions to this edition include a larger focus on sustainability and energy efficiency, which have been given their own designated section, as well as a chapter on 3D construction modeling and CAD/BIM (computer-aided design/building information modeling) planning tools. The new edition also incorporates interactive supplementary online exercises that readers can use to practice concepts introduced in the book, without having actual construction materials on hand.

“Looking at plans and sections in a book only goes so far. You can always draw things, of course, to think them through a little more, but once you start putting stuff together in 3D, you’ll find out if something doesn’t fit,” Schreyer said.

From siting and foundations to finishing details, the book provides a complete walk-through of professional home construction. Over 1,200 drawings and photographs are included in the textbook’s five sections, which cover the context of residential construction, the materials needed, light wood frame construction, alternative construction systems and multifamily building construction.

Schreyer has taught building materials, structures and digital design for more than 13 years to interdisciplinary audiences on campus and understands how to combine the hands-on components of construction education with science- and research-based knowledge that is behind every step of a house’s construction. His interests span the range of planning and design, with a specialization in mainly heavy-timber type structural systems.

Schreyer has also written “Architectural Design with SketchUp: Component-Based Modeling, Plugins, Rendering, and Scripting,” a book about using the 3D modeling program SketchUp.

Following the latest edition of “Fundamentals of Residential Construction,” he said he is interested in possibly telling the story of the new Design Building on campus, which was built with state-of-the-art wood construction technology. Schreyer was involved in the collaborative planning stages behind the building’s wood structure, alongside the departments of architecture and landscape architecture and regional planning.

Outside the classroom, Schreyer says, his academic interests overlap heavily with what he likes to do on weekends. “A Saturday morning starting with a tape measure is a good Saturday morning,” he says.

You can now buy this book at and many other online and offline booksellers.


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