Allan Staines – author of several Australian home improvement building and renovation manuals – has released a new title The Australian House Building Manual.

The book is aimed at a wide audience but will be of particular interest to those involved in building education and apprentice training or owner-builders architects designers and contractors seeking to re-familiarise themselves with the essential details of building construction will also find this comprehensive book helpful.

The Australian House Building Manual divides residential construction into four main types – brick veneer timber or steel frame cavity brick and concrete block. Each method is described in step-by-step detail with illustrations.

The focus is not simply on the general aspects of wall construction but follows through with explanations and illustrations of the building process from the bottom up. It covers concrete footings/slab floors timber floors and sub floors wall framing roof construction finishing and miscellaneous issues.

The book relies heavily on cross-sectional drawings in fact every page has more than one. The text serves mainly to highlight particular details in the drawings.

Tables are employed to display information such as spacing of piers bracing stair tread spans and other construction requirements where the types or dimensions of materials employed are interdependant on other elements.

Tongue and groove flooring door window and cladding installation wall frame assembly levelling and bracing several forms of roof construction and most aspects of interior detailing – including building staircases – are just some of the specific issues detailed with step-by-step instructions.

Every effort seems to have been made at the time of publication to reflect current BCA and Australian Standards. To his credit the author does point out that regulations do change and the latest releases from relevant departments should be consulted for up-to-date specifications if any doubt exists.

Miscellaneous subjects covered include termite control arches in brickwork suspended concrete patios waterproof retaining walls estimating quantities waterproofing and installing shower recesses and bathtubs as well as drawing and detailing a typical house plan.

All round it’s quite a hefty package. The Australian House Building Manual is packed with information and makes every effort to present a decent range of variations possible for many of the subjects covered.

The book relies heavily on the instructive value of drawings and is an excellent visual reference. If readers expect to digest all the information in the book from cover to cover they might feel a bit overwhelmed but thankfully the table of contents provides a comprehensive and handy guide to the wide range of subjects covered.

Illustrations: Black & White

Units of Measurement: Metric


  • Typical Construction Methods
  • The 4 Main Building Systems
  • The Timber or Steel Frame House
  • Some Common Timber Framing Details
  • Timber Wall Framing 2-Storey Construction
  • Brick Veneer Construction
  • Brick Veneer Footing & Slab Edge Details
  • Brick Veneer Ties
  • Brick Veneer Soffits & Joinery
  • Brick Veneer with Brick Gables
  • Brick Veneer with Timber Floor
  • Designing Single Leaf Brick Veneer Base Walls
  • Cavity Brick Double Brick Construction
  • Cavity Brick Footings & Slab Edge Details
  • Joining Partitions into Cavity Walls
  • Roof Tie Down
  • Cavity Brick & Timber Floor
  • Installing Joinery into Cavity Brick
  • Cavity Brick with Dissimilar Internal Leaves
  • Concrete Block Construction
  • Blocklaying & Grouting
  • Block Masonry Wall Heights & Lintels

Concrete Footings/SIab Floors

  • Siting the House
  • Cut &Fill Sites & Slab Floors
  • Setting out Profile Hurdles
  • Footing Preparation
  • Column or Stump Sub-Floors
  • Pier & Beam Footings
  • Concrete Slab Floors

Timber Floors & Sub Floors

  • Single Leaf Brick Bases
  • Laying Bearers
  • Beams & Installation
  • Floor Joist Construction
  • Platform Floor Construction
  • Fitted Floors or cut-in floors
  • Using Hi beam Joists
  • Stairwell Trimmer Joists/Cantilevered Joists
  • Marking & Setting Out Joist Positions
  • Laying Floor Joists
  • Solid Blocking & Herringbone Strutting
  • Sheet Flooring
  • T & G Flooring
  • Compressed Sheet Wet Area Flooring

Wall Framing

  • Wall Plates
  • Stud & Jack Stud Lengths
  • Stud Positioning
  • Corner & Double Studs
  • Cutting Studs
  • Lintels
  • Wall Frame Assembly & Noggings
  • Bracing & Squaring Frames
  • Erecting Frames
  • Plumbing the Frame
  • Straightening Top Plates
  • Typical Tie Down Methods
  • Notching Trenching & Drilling Studs

Roof Construction

  • Prefabricated Roof Trusses/Truss Types
  • Erecting Roof Trusses
  • Gable Construction
  • Dutch Gables
  • Hip Roofs
  • Roofs with Valleys
  • Cathedral Ceilings
  • Near Flat Roofs
  • Diagonal Roof Bracing
  • Roof Truss Fixing
  • Flashings


  • Weatherboard Sidings
  • Installing Aluminium Windows
  • Installing Aluminium Sliding Patio Doors
  • Interior & Exterior Door Installation
  • Door Handles Latchsets & Locksets
  • Garage Doors
  • Ceiling Framing
  • Plasterboard Lining
  • Staircase Construction
  • Constructing Exterior Timber Stairs
  • Concrete Stair Construction
  • Handrailing
  • Architraves & Skirting
  • Bath & Shower Recess Installation


  • Termite Control
  • Clay Brick & Masonry Block Modules
  • Arches in Brickwork
  • Suspended Concrete Patios
  • How to Build & Waterproof Retaining Walls
  • Safety on the Job
  • Estimating Quantities
  • Typical House Plan Examples….

Buy Now – The Australian House Building Manual