A little learning is perhaps a dangerous thing, although for owners of buildings it may help avoid poor professionals and unnecessary expenditure.
Owners of old buildings, who want to arm themselves with some basic information, usually hope to find asingle, authoritative, jargon-free book.
There have been some competent attempts at this in the past, several still worthy reads after recent updating. But ideas move on, even in the care of old buildings, and a fresh contribution for the 21st century has been keenly awaited.
Fortunately, conservation architect Janet Collings’s new book does not disappoint. Collings covers the building fundamentals of roofs, walls and floors in all their forms. She provides advice on how to approach alterations and extensions in ways that will help respect the building and (where necessary) satisfy the council consercation officer.
She also offers useful information on maintenance, health and safety issues, and on the treatment of gardens and grounds. Some readers may skip the appendix on lime-based materials, but it is no bad thing to include detailed information on this essential ingredient of old building construction and repair. The book concludes with helpful references and contacts, including website addresses.
The quality of some photographs is a slight disappointment. But for owners whose free shelf space will allow only a single reference book on how to look after their building, this is the one to buy.