To the student
This textbook is designed to guide you through what you need to know about residential construction in the Irish context.
There are three sections that explore the main areas of knowledge in a logical sequence. The chapters are sequenced to provide you with a gradual buildup of knowledge and understanding. Each chapter contains learning activities that are designed to encourage you to ‘think outside the classroom’ and explore your own home from a new perspective.
When you have completed your study of this textbook you should have gained a detailed understanding of why (and how) homes are designed to provide a comfortable indoor environment without consuming fossil fuels and emitting carbon dioxide.
To the teacher
This textbook provides a new approach to the teaching of Construction Studies. It responds to the changes seen in the subject since the publication of Construction Studies Today in 2006. At that time the construction boom was in full swing and our main focus as teachers was in keeping up to date with the many new systems and products that the industry was adopting. The focus now is on building energy efficient homes. This is evident in the way the industry is moving and in the way leaving certificate Construction Studies is being assessed.
The content is structured into three main areas with a particular emphasis on design. This focus on design is deliberate. If Construction Studies is to remain a valuable part of the curriculum, the role of design in the creation of homes must be made clear. A home must be designed to respond to its site, to meet the needs of the occupants and to provide a comfortable indoor environment while minimising energy consumption and carbon emissions.
The European Union Directive (2010/31/EU) on the energy performance of buildings will change the way homes are built in Ireland in the short term – the way we teach this subject must respond. In this textbook you will find the knowledge that your students require to enter this new period of construction history with confidence.
One final point, as a professional it is your duty to ensure that the material you teach in class is technically correct and up to date. You should carefully check that the book you are using meets these standards. You can read between those lines for yourself.
Postscript: please get in touch with me if you would like to talk about our subject or share any ideas you have. I am always looking for new projects to work on; particularly those that aim to raise the quality and relevance of Construction Studies.