Building & Construction Resources

Getting Started

The building products, construction, design and services sector is huge. Where do you go for information, when you need to find it fast? Here are some useful website links. Just remember, no one site will answer all your questions, but these will provide you with an introduction:

If something has just happened, and you need to discover what exactly you’ve missed, then turn to Yahoo!® Finance Construction/Building News for industry updates. Should you choose to adopt a more leisurely pace, consult The Blue Book® list of lists for other information sources.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is an excellent gateway to the residential construction sector. Also pay a visit to trade publisher Hanley Wood’s BuilderOnline, a starting point for all of their residential magazines, trade shows and events.

The non-residential construction sector is large and diverse. Contractors have many voices. Among the largest are the Associated General Contractors of America and the American Institute of Constructors. In the design sector, the American Institute of Architects and the American Council of Engineering Companies represent professional firms. Owners are represented by the Building Owners and Managers Association and the Construction Owners Association of America. To discover who the most active firms are in the US non-residential construction sector visit Building Design & Construction magazine’s annual ranking of AE/C firms. To enter a Canadian gateway to the non-residential sector, look at these national and provincial links maintained by the Canadian Construction Association.

Nothing is supposed to happen in the construction industry unless it conforms to a code. To begin your information search in the US visit the International Code Council . For your particular jurisdiction, turn to the Reed Construction Data Building Codes Resource Center. If you are a Canadian, visit the Canadian Codes Centre.

Current construction codes increasingly reference standards and there are a lot of standards development organizations. Search these ones first. ASTM International, Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings currently has jurisdiction over 170 standards. The Canadian Standards Association is Canada’s leading developer of standards and related publications in the field of construction.

Once there is a standard – or maybe even if there isn’t one yet – you want to see the product tested. Test your knowledge of the testers by visiting the ICC Evaluation Service in the US; the Canadian Construction Materials Centre; or the World Federation of Technical Assessment Organizations.

The construction industry has a language and form all its own. In order to decipher it, visit the Construction Specifications Institute and trade publisher R.S. Means.

If it’s the science of building that interests you, then here are three sites to jump from. The appropriately named Building Science Corporation has numerous resources, but be sure and check out “Joe’s Top Ten”. The Building Technologies Program  of the US Department of Energy has lots of information, with perhaps a little slant towards energy use. And between 1960 and 1990 Canada’s Institute for Research in Construction and its predecessor the Division of Building Research published a series of classics called the “Canadian Building Digests”. They are still relevant today and 240 of the 250 subject series can be found on this site.

And finally, if by chance you are still struggling to find what you are looking for, then maybe it’s just a little problem of definition and a trip to the library might help. ILX Construction Training™ provide an online construction glossary.