Before getting the builders in to do a single-storey rear extension to my house last year, I bought this book along with some others because I'd never dealt with builders before. The book is good, pleasantly written without being in any way patronising or sickly (which is more than I can say for some other books on the subject), and very low on waffle. I found it very useful for getting a handle on the ideal way of doing things. However, here in the wilds of North London, some of its advice turned out to be a little unrealistic. For example, from what I could tell, no builder in London will embark on a job without a "deposit" of about 20% or more. The book pretty much says that only cowboys will ask for any money up front. Perhaps this is a recent trend though, as I note the FMB contract we used didn't provide for a deposit either. I also got the message from all the contractors I spoke to that expecting a breakdown against a detailed quote was also not going to happen, but the book says you can compare between quotes in this way. However, these are minor quibbles overall. If I learnt one thing from the book that was of extreme value, it's to write up a spec in great detail in order to get a fixed quote. Armed with this spec, a signed contract, and a full plans application to the Council before starting the work, we got a very nice extension built with hardly any fuss at all; on time and even slightly below budget!