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Understanding Architectural Details

Residential Construction ebook

UAD Residential Cover1

New Edition updated in line with latest Building Regulation updates

What is included?

Understanding Architectural Details – Residential, is dedicated to residential construction. The book is packed full of over 120 construction details in 2D, and 120 construction details in 3D.   We look at the principles behind construction detailing, and delve deep into each area of the building to make sure you have a full understanding of construction design.

The Key Principles

  • Functional Requirements
  • Detailing Principles
  • Materials


  • strip foundations
  • pad foundations
  • pile foundations
  • raft foundations

Masonry Construction

  • ground bearing floors
  • suspended floors
  • walls (including cladding options)
  • roofs (flat and pitched)
  • doors and windows

Timber Frame Construction

  • ground bearing floors
  • suspended floors
  • walls (including cladding options)
  • roofs (flat and pitched)
  • doors and windows

Steel Frame Construction

  • floors
  • walls
  • roofs

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS)

  • floors
  • walls (with cladding options)
  • doors and windows
  • roofs

Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF)

  • floors
  • walls
  • doors and windows
  • roofs

Green Roof Construction

  • intensive
  • extensive

New to the 4th Edition

All the details have been updated in line with the new Building Regulations changes issued in June 2022, along with the addition of new details. The introductory text and diagrams have been completely updated and renewed. A huge update to this key resource for any student or architect!

Download over 120 2d CAD files and over 120 3D SketchUp models!

How this book will help you

  • Gain a better understanding of residential construction
  • Understand the principles of construction detailing
  • Understand the functional requirements of a building in relation to the building regulations
  • Learn about the different materials available and their benefits
  • Improve your technical ability
  • Increase your skill set to make you more employable
  • Save a huge amount of time searching for details, over 120 details in one place
  • Edit and develop the cad files into your own detail library
  • Explore the 3d sketchup files to improve your understanding of the construction
Not sure if the books are right for you? Please feel free to download a sample so you can get a closer look.

Download a Sample

Get a free sample of the Residential book to get a better idea of what is included

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    Who is it for?

    students | graduates | professionals | tutors | professors

    This book is really useful to quite a few different people.
    Students looking to increase their knowledge of construction.
    Graduates use the book to take out into the workplace and use as a reference.
    Professionals use the book as a reference book and foundation for their construction libraries.
    The book is also highly recommended by many tutors, lecturers and professors who teach construction at colleges and universities around the globe.

    Hi, I’m Emma…

    This is why I wrote the book

    In the past I have spent hours searching for details, trying to find an example of a detail so that I can understand the construction a bit better. When I was at university I was really frustrated with how difficult it was to improve my construction knowledge. There just doesn’t seem to be much clear and concise information readily available on commercial and industrial construction. When you do find what you are looking for it is often difficult to digest. That is why I knew what a valuable resource this book would be for both architecture students and professionals.  

    After writing several successful construction books (Commercial, Residential US, Passivhaus, Loft Conversions and more), I know that this new edition of the Residential construction book really fills the gap I have experienced both as a student and professional.

    The Understanding Architectural Details books are featured in

    Exactly what you need

    Architect James Rich describes how the book has helped him.
    I don’t think I have ever seen such a comprehensive resource and clear cut explanation for architectural details!
    I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing your future work, the 3d models are top notch and critical in spatially understanding the construction methods.
    Alex - Architectural Technologist

    Understanding Architectural Details, Emma Walshaw’s series of books and downloads are a valuable resource for students and professionals alike. She has really filled a hole in the market, particularly with the CAD and 3D downloads which offer standard construction build-ups that can be clearly understood.
    Michael - Architecture Student

    I have to say it is a really great resource and reference guide, and is very well put together. The sections at the front of the book (Functional Requirements) is particularly useful, and has joined the small collection of architectural and construction guides/handbooks that I refer to when I need my memory jogged or details/specifications clarified.
    All of the drawings and details are well put together, clear and concise. Again a great reference.
    Matt - Architect

    I found this book to be very thorough and concise. The text and images are very well presented and the 2-D scaled dwg drawings, and the 3-D rendered SketchUp.skp drawings are especially informative. The fact that they are based on UK construction methods and standards is all the more valuable. The books not only deal with residential construction details, but also commercial and basement construction. These books and downloads have been long overdue. I would highly recommend them.
    Pat - Architect

    I have found the residential book extremely useful , I was recommended it by a tutor for a module I was doing and this was just before I started work in practice so it gave me a head start for my new job getting to see all similar details from your book in real life situations. Thank you!

    3rd Year Student

    Congratulations on an excellent publication. Both they and the text are invaluable as a guide and reference source for student, self practitioners and experienced detailer alike. With every change in regs details once relied upon are outdated and it is very helpful to have a source of known-to-be-compliant details indexed for easy retrieval and therefore easily found and consistent.

    The graphic standard is, especially for the 3D generated images, exemplary and the dwgs are clear and uncluttered. Being able to manipulate, rotate, zoom, copy and deconstruct these models will be a valuable teaching aid that any office could use for its student and junior employees.

    As a former Technical Design Director of a major housing practice now turned teacher I can thoroughly recommend all First in Architecture’s publications. The return in investment in terms of time saved and the sense of security in knowing that these details are reliable and to current standards will be noticed resulting in hours of increasing sleep in a matter of days.


    Former Architect now architectural technology and drawing tutor. Edinburgh

    How will I receive the book?
    Upon payment you will be sent an email which contains a download link for the book. You can then download the book (and associated files if you have purchased bundle 2 or 3) onto your computer.
    Please be sure to keep an eye on your spam or junk folder.
    Can I buy the book for a university library?
    Yes! The books are available to colleges, universities or institutions but as hard copies only. You can find out more here.
    The series is also available as an online subscription so students can gain access to the books 24/7. To discuss in more detail, please email me directly.
    Can I get a hard copy of the book?
    Yes there are hard copies available, but they are quite expensive due to one off printing costs. If you are interested follow this link: Understanding Architectural Details hard copy
    What happens if I lose the pdf after purchase?
    After you have downloaded your purchase, it is your responsibility to carry out any backups to ensure that your book is safe. If you lose the pdf, buy a new computer, or your computer crashes, we are not always able to replace your copy.
    What is the format of the book?
    The book is in pdf format. You can view it easily on your computer, or on a tablet if you have an appropriate pdf viewer.
    What version of CAD and SketchUp are the files?
    The CAD files are saved in AutoCAD 2010, and the Sketchup files are saved in SKP 2015.
    Can I pay by card?
    You can pay by both PayPal and card. Start the check out procedure, if you wish to pay by card, fill out your details and click proceed to shipping, you will be asked for your payment details after this.
    Have we missed something, or do you have a question? Please, drop us an email and we would be happy to help: