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Henry Dean "henrydean" (Auckland New Zealand)

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Grand Designs Handbook: The Blueprint for Building Your Dream Home
Grand Designs Handbook: The Blueprint for Building Your Dream Home
by Kevin McCloud
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Thought-Provoking Presentation, 16 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
While some have their own opinions on Kevin McCloud and his views on building, we all really know what to expect in his approach to building a new house.

Bought because we are at that point of building a new "grand design" for ourselves, it has lived up to its promise. Interesting that the other book I bought at the same time ("The Passivhaus Handbook") mentioned this title as useful for thinking through choosing an architect.

Having many designs I recognise from past "Grand Designs" being referenced is useful. At least most of us are well acquainted with the struggles and development of many of these projects.

With the lion's share of the book devoted to the "Dreaming" part of building a new house, with the initial part devoted to general thoughts on housing, and the final part to the doing of it, it could seems a little unbalanced. But as Kevin mentions this is the part we do not get to see on "Grand Designs". By the time his team are involved in filming people are at the doing stage. And the dreaming to ensure we really get the house we not only want, but also will love and that will serve us well and enhance our lives for years to come seems super important for any project. It certainly brought home to me the value of seeking out the essence of what I really want for my new house rather than just specific elements that I would have in a "Must Have" list. In other words more the way I want it to make me feel and interact with us in the future. It has lead to some re-evaluations of the size of what we really will need for the future.

By covering urban, suburban, rural and redevelopment-type projects in this section Kevin has offered suggestions and obviously opinions on what he considers important and relevant in each of these areas. It is not prescriptive really. Just thought provoking.

Reinforcing his ideas about having a really well developed team from all aspects from design to costings to construction, Kevin is really just re-iterating what he shares in "Grand Designs". But anyone who has watched these programmes will be well aware of the challenges any number of the aspiring home builders have encountered by not employing any number of such essential professionals.

A book to cover fully and then delve back into for the specifics we need and will be needing at different points in our new development.


The Passivhaus Handbook: A practical guide to constructing and retrofitting buildings for ultra-low energy performance (Sustainable Building)
The Passivhaus Handbook: A practical guide to constructing and retrofitting buildings for ultra-low energy performance (Sustainable Building)
by Janet Cotterell and Adam Dadeby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.32

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect For Getting Your Teeth Into Passivhaus, 16 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Seriously considering building a passivhaus drove the decision to purchase this book. If it had been available on Kindle I would have bought that version. Having this sort of hard copy though is useful. The essential aspects to achieve a passivhaus are well covered after an initial helpful introduction. Footnotes and links to essential parts and references for Passivhaus were useful for research beyond the basic book. Having been written by a couple of enthusiasts who have been intimately involved in introducing the style to the UK really helps. Their experiences are valuable as well as knowledge as to how provision of the various essential elements are changing. The final chapter with a number of people's experiences with their own passivhaus building in new build and retrofit was very helpful to put it all in context.

The initial full read through gives a thorough base to build further knowledge upon. Then being able to delve into specific areas as they become relevant will be invaluable.

Could not think of a better book to cover this subject. Well thought out. Well written. Useful illustrations. Excellent tables and specific interest segments.


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