Book Review- Building Construction Metric by W.B. McKay

Book Review- Building Construction Metric by W.B. McKay

W.B.Mckay, a registered architect, a chartered structural engineer and Head of the Department of Building and Structural Engineering at the Manchester University, all these titles hats he proudly holds and truly deserves. And his books and works tell us why.

Building Construction Metric, single handily contemplates and answers everything about the structural and material details that one can have. This book has stood the test of times and is still considered one of the must-have for every architect and construction and structural engineers. The books have many editions and volumes, and each volume covers a different aspect of the building construction. This is a review of Volume 1 (Fifth Edition).

The book explains and details out all the materials and their structural importance. The construction techniques are explained subtly and with clarity. Let’s analyze and understand, the major reasons, of why this book is appreciated and how useful it is to the field-related folks and others:

Bifurcated and Classified:

The contents at the start of the book, very precisely classify the topics, mostly based on the materials. Then it further goes on to give a very brief description of the topics. It gives you the liberty to choose and go to the topic that is your priority.

Profound and Simple:

The language is American English but is definitely easy to understand, and if somewhere the words get difficult, they have been started and explained at the end of the page. This makes it easier for the readers, and even if you are someone who is not related to the field, it still is understandable and profound.

Manufacturing and the Procedure Explained:

In the first few pages of the book, the author has explained the manufacturing process and the procedure of various materials like brick, lime, mortar and cement, etc. It is very rare that books cover these basics; this book is one of them.

Construction-wise Progression:

The book proceeds according to the stages of construction. It progresses page by page and establishes each step of making the building. For example, it explains the manufacturing of the bricks, then their sizes and types, and then laying methods and henceforth. This is one of the major reasons why this book holds an important place amongst many other construction related books.


No construction related book is apt without the sketches or illustrations. In This book, the illustrations are many and detailed. From dimensions to the joinery, the illustrations in the book cover it all. Two-dimensional sketches and three-dimensional sketches in the book make it very simple, even for a layman to understand the details and helps in increasing the knowledge.

Book Review- Building Construction Metric by W.B. McKayBook Review- Building Construction Metric by W.B. McKay


The author of the book has also illustrated and explained the reasons for failures and defects that can come along with any kind of construction technique. It tells you the risks, the pros and the cons of every technique. During construction, it is very necessary that we know of what can go wrong and might be at higher or lower risk to do.


Whether you are an architecture student, or a professional, or someone who deals with the construction and related works regularly, this book helps you improve the professional vocabulary and understand the meaning of various words that are used by professionals and workers alike. The vocabulary of the book helps you evolve and develop a better understanding of the day-to-day construction related terms and their use. For example: In the chapter of doors and windows, it uses words like bracing, paneling, pivoting, etc. which are used by carpenters and workers alike and it becomes easy to deal when you know the terminologies and their meaning.

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written on Wed, 09/06/2017 - 09:44

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