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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