Many books have been published upon Building Construction, and many others, mostly of an historical character, upon the Planning of Buildings, but none, so far as I am aware, in which planning and construction, which go hand in hand in practice, are treated correlatively. Yet in their severance there is material loss. In building work it is essential that that which is planned should be capable of being constructed, and at the same time it is necessary that the construction should be suited to the plan.

A book which accepts this statement as its primary axiom is necessarily a large book, covering an enormous amount of ground, and its preparation is a task which it would be beyond the capacity of one man to accomplish within any reasonable time. Yet writing this Introduction, contrary to custom, when the work has scarcely been commenced, I am hopeful of producing such a book within two years, with the assistance of a staff of writers and draughtsmen whom I have selected from personal knowledge of their capabilities rather than from their existing reputation, and with the co-operation of other architects who may be kind enough to allow me to illustrate their designs.

In scheme, the book is intended to appear in Six Volumes, each divided into three parts which shall more or less relate to one another. Thus the First Volume, to which this is attached, deals with General Office Practice and Draughtsmanship in the first part, the Planning of Cottages and Country Houses in the second part, and with ordinary Constructional Details in the third part.

The Second Volume will have its first part devoted to Town Houses of all descriptions, its second to Specification Writing and Quantity Surveying, and its third part to Domestic Finishings and Fittings. In the same way the Third Volume will deal in its first part with the plans of Schools and Hospitals, its second and third parts being devoted to the consideration of Heating, Ventilating, and Lighting, and to Professional Practice in such matters as Light and Air Cases, Dilapidations, etc.

The same idea will be further developed in the later Volumes, of which the first parts will be devoted to the plans of public buildings, such as Municipal Offices, Baths, and Libraries, to Warehouses, Ecclesiastical Buildings, and miscellaneous special buildings respectively, and the second parts to some special branch of construction naturally relating to such buildings; while special sections will be added upon Colonial architecture and building construction as practised in Canada, South Africa, and Australia.

In the first parts of all the Volumes an endeavour will be made to select for illustration typical examples of the best modern English work, arranging them, so far as may be possible, in a sequence which shall be comprehensible. Perhaps in no country and in no age has life been so complex as it is in England at the present day; certainly nowhere else and at no other period of the world's history have the complex needs of a complex life been so admirably met in the buildings. The science of planning, like most other sciences, has been developed very highly during the last hundred years, and is still developing. As a general rule this development has been unconscious at first, and has gradually become conscious and systematised as certain architects have become specialists upon some one or other class of building, and have impressed certain ruling principles to which they have been devoted upon their contemporaries. Thus different recognised systems or schools of planning have arisen, especially for large and more important buildings. These it is hoped to illustrate in turn, describing and comparing them so far as may be possible, in the hope that further development may result on scientific and well considered lines.

As planning has developed, so has construction not lagged behind. Where at one time rules and precedent sufficed, reasons and principles are demanded now. The introduction of new materials, the development of new forms of plan, the gradual elucidation of the scientific principles underlying the construction of a healthy and convenient building, have all tended to the evolution of new methods of construction. Without omitting that which is stereotyped by custom - beginning, in fact, with the veriest elements of construction - an effort will be made to foster the consideration of principles, and so enable the constructor to meet each new demand upon his skill in a logical manner, not binding him in fetters to that only which he has done before, but training him to think out each problem by itself. With this view, in addition to illustrating ordinary cases, more difficult problems and occasionally alternative solutions of the same problem will be given and discussed.

Model Specifications will be added to some of the Volumes, specially prepared in accordance with one or other of the illustrated plans. They are not intended necessarily to be followed in detail, but are given as general guides to the practice of specification writing, either for simple or for complicated work.