The editors of this informative volume assert that "The United States today—at a time when more housing is needed than ever—does not exploit existing building technologies to the fullest. The tools are available, but the constraints are an obstacle. The latter can only be overcome by a determined, concerted effort by all elements of the building industry."
The increasing importance of industrialized building, as the demand for housing accelerates and outstrips the capacity of traditional construction methods to provide it, is highlighted by this book, whose very publication should give new impetus to the industrialized building trend. Based on two special summer programs held at M.I.T., it contains contributions from experts in areas ranging from urban politics to systems analysis and materials technology. It offers a strict examination of the underlying principles involved in industrialization and the types of building systems now evolving, particularly in housing. Building by such methods demands the total integration of all subsystems and components into an overall process utilizing industrialized production, transportation, and assembly techniques. The principles uncovered are applied to the development and use of specific systems and techniques both in the United States and abroad. These include monolithic systems (boxes), panels, frames, mobile homes, mechanical units and components, and such special construction techniques as the use of lift slabs and slipforms.
In addition to the developing technology, the book also examines the "morphology of systems and urbanization." Basic policies are proposed which need to be set at a national level if the supply of housing is to keep effectively abreast of local needs. An effort is made to face the problem in its totality and to suggest integrated solutions that recognize such diverse factors as the principles of design, performance standards, the effect of building codes, volume production, building modules, the problems of evaluation, the introduction of innovation, governmental policy, labor, and finally, the necessary organization for production. Examples of existing industrialized systems are discussed in relation to these factors in some detail and are illustrated with numerous photographs.