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The Housebuilder's Bible: An Insider's Guide to the Construction Jungle, 5th Edition [Paperback]

Mark Brinkley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)

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Paperback 17.00  
Paperback, 4 July 2002 --  

Book Description

4 July 2002
A unique title that combines cost information with guidance and comment in the fast growing selfbuild arena. Now in its 5th edition, the Housebuilders Bible is fully up to date on recent building reg changes for the UK mark This is one of those books that has become a cult hit despite the publishing and bookselling trades. Self published because no publisher was originally interested in the concept, sold via mail order because bookshops don't like to deal with one man and a dog publishers, it first appeared in 1994 with a print run of just a few hundred. The print run on this edition (the 5th) is over 20,000 and it regularly appears in Amazon's top 100 titles. So who is buying it and why? The majority of purchasers are drawn from Britain's growing army of selfbuilders, people building new homes or renovating existing ones, who appreciate the frank and at times brutal appraisal of their efforts. However there is also a large number of architects, surveyors and builders who sing its praises. The information in the book is detailed and infomative yet the presentation is succint and often witty. If you just want to find out how the British build houses, this is a fascinating read. If you want to actually build one yourself, then frankly you'd be nuts not to have read this book from cover to cover. It's 240 pages are packed with information on all aspects of homebuilding and renovating including 60 tables which detail current construction costs on everything from drains to hanging curtains. Even if the only tools you ever lift are your chequebook and your credit card, you will stil

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ovolo Books Limited; 5th Revised edition edition (4 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0952485249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0952485247
  • Product Dimensions: 29.4 x 21 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 633,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Brinkley, b 1953, is best-known as the author of the Housebuilder's Bible, a project he has been working on since 1993. Prior to that he worked as a builder and developer, and the book is based around his experiences and observations. He also writes regular columns in Homebuilding & Renovating magazine, and maintains a blog -- House 2.0 -- on housing matters. Or you can follow his sporadic Twitter feed @slopingsite

He went to Trinity College, Cambridge in the 1970s and then worked in a variety of alternative jobs and activities. He began building in 1980 when he carried out an eco-renovation on his first house, and went on to work on a number of projects, including building his own home in 1992. The project gave him the impetus to start analysing and writing about the building process and he has spent the past twenty years studying the way we build homes in Britain.

He lives in Cambridge and, when he is not writing or researching, he spends time pottering about, walking the country tracks, playing a little golf from time to time, and worrying about climate change, to very little effect. He plays guitar rather badly and has a soft spot for checked shirts and country music, suspecting he may have been a hillbilly in a former life. "That's quite enough gratuitous detail. If you want to know more about me and my work, visit my website at"

Product Description

About the Author

Mark Brinkley, b 1953, is a full time writer and lecturer on housebuilding topics. Previously he built houses for a living for 15 years until he began writing about the process in 1994. He writes regular columns for Homebuilding & Renovating magazine and in 2002 he won the Halifax Laing Homes award for Consumer Title Journalist of the

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
244 of 244 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best self-build book I have read 30 Jan 2007
I have been interested in building my own house for at least 20 years and in that time I have read many books and countless magazine articles on the subject. Initially, most of the stuff I could find was american - often inspiring and very much geared to hands on do-it-yorself types but so far removed from the reality of building in bureaucratic Britain as to be almost useless. I have read books recently, written in this country, of a much more sober sort. They are often written by architects and, although many contain excellent advice on planning and contracts and garantees, there is often surprisingly little about the actual building process.

Mark Brinkley's book is different. It is immediately clear that this is written by a man who really knows about house building, both as a professional and a self-builder. He explains simply how houses are built, what choices there are to be made and what follows from them. Even better he explains why bulders, developers and the various subcontractors behave the way they do.

Building is not rocket science but there are many things that need to come together for it to work. Even if you don't intend to lift so much as a shovel in the process of your house build, you need to know the information in this book. It is clearly presented and easy to follow and cuts through the spin that various intrest groups put 'facts' and figures leaving you in a good position to make informed decisions.

For a book that contains so much information and insight, it is very easy to read and even entertaining in places and on top of that it really gives you a feel for what it is like to build your own house. I am 60% through the process of building my own house and still refer to this book often - if you only buy one book on self-build this should be it.
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120 of 121 people found the following review helpful
This is probably the first book purchase that any SelfBuilder should make. I speak form experience - I bought the last 2 versions of it.
This title may mislead you to think this is a practical book, it isn't. However it is an excellent book, it has tables which allow you to work out the material and labour costs for just about every individual task involved with building a house. Rates are given in PC sums or as square or cubic metre rates.

I have prepared the detailed costings for my build using Marks tables, and it brings out many things which might have slipped by in my calculations. The cost per lightfitting to the charge per linear metre for scaffolding.

There is a fair amount of background detail to various stages of the build and to who does what and how to organise things. With plenty of examples of the various methods of achieving the results i.e. drylining costs and plastering costs are detailed.

It does take some getting used to, you need to look at the front example build find the relevant chapter and look at the breakdown and then find the relevant table to see the full breakdown of material & labour costs.

A very good book and a must if you want to know what you should expect to pay.

I now have the 98/99 version and the book although not greatly changed remains an indispensable item for those who are Selfbuilding rather than just taking a turnkey package from a company.

Still a little lean on timber frame details, but at least some new data in this version.

I can honestly recommend this book for anyone interested in carrying out a Selfbuild.
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122 of 124 people found the following review helpful
By SimonL
If you're attempting a full house build or just extending or renovating, read this book.
It provides practical and objective information about all aspects of house building; it is easily understood by the lay person, without any 'dumbing down', and a useful reference for beginners and professionals alike.
It clearly lays out all the options and costs for each stage of building, allowing you to make informed decisions on how to proceed.
Whether self-building or employing builders, don't consider embarking on any building project without reading it first.
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127 of 130 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
It's very simple - do not attempt to start planning the self-build or major renovation of anything more than a broom cupboard under the stairs (and it's probably worth the cover price for even that!) until you have bought this book and read it from cover to cover at least twice. I have half a dozen other "home building" books and this is the one I always go back to. Not for nothing is it called the Housebuliders "Bible".
It doesn't set out to tell you how to project manage building a house. HOWEVER, it's written in such a way that I learnt enough from an earlier edition of this book to do exactly that. It DOES tell you how much it might all end up costing and how to keep control over the costs when you are project managing - or more importantly - someone else is project managing the work.
By dissecting each part of the build process from planning all the way through to putting up curtains it gives you an excellent idea of what's involved when you build a house and as I've said controlling the single most important issue which is cost - and trust me on this - controlling costs IS the number one issue you will face.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The amount of info in the book is amazing
Published 3 days ago by Trevor Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very Good
Published 10 days ago by M J Cole
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
excellent if your thinking of self build
Published 24 days ago by james neil
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality, good price
A very well written book, covers the essentials, Excellent quality, good price, brilliant condition for second hand.
Published 1 month ago by d hadlum
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good information but I would double the costs quoted.
Published 1 month ago by Georgiana Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Exactly what we wanted
Published 1 month ago by Susan Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in-depth look at all aspects of building houses
Excellent in-depth look at all aspects of building houses. I run a construction company and found it very useful, with up-to-date figures on many elements of work.
Published 1 month ago by Will Hallett
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal
Very detailed book and will be great for when we start building as a reference. It was recommended to us by a lecturer so I feel quite confident in its guidance.
Published 2 months ago by miss v groom
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful Information
We're about to start our first self build and this has everything you could need to know in it. Excellent!
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Cheryl D. Whitby
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect
Great book perfect for all tips on building your own home. Highly recommended good value and prompt delivery just what I wanted
Published 3 months ago by Mrs L kempley
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