Few people intentionally consider durability when designing a home, but rather rely on experience and market acceptance to make design decisions. This approach to design works best in a stable housing market where architectural preferences and material choices do not change or change very slowly. The housing market, however, tends to be dynamic rather than stable and new materials and preferences influence the market continuously, sometimes in dramatic ways. This dynamic condition also places a responsibility on designers and builders to properly apply their experiences, which are often based on older construction methods and materials, to new materials and design conditions. As a result, it is important to understand why certain practices have been effective (or ineffective) in the past so that they can be properly interpreted and considered in the design a nd construction of modern homes.
This manual titled Durability by Design: A Guide for Residential Builders and Designers is intended to raise the awareness and understanding of building durability as a design consideration in housing. The Guide covers basic concepts of durability and presents recommended practices ¡ª including numerous construction details and design data ¡ª for matters such as moisture management, ultraviolet (UV) protection, insects, decay, corrosion, and natural hazards. Some attention is also given to matters that may be considered serviceability issues related to normal wear-and-tear, aesthetics, or functions not immediately as sociated with durability.
The contents of this Guide will help to preserve and promote "tried-and-true" practices and concepts related to housing durability, and present them in a manner that can be used to cost-effectively design the durable homes of the future.
Lawrence L. Thompson
General Deputy Assistant Secretary for
Policy Development and Research