Home Extensions

Home Extensions: 5 absolutely essential books

So, you are actually considering building that house extension (or home extensions, should you have more than one house and business is thriving). With the support materials that exist nowadays, the free advice you can find online and the specialised publications and websites, we’d encourage you to go for it. Or you can save yourself the substantial headache and hire specialists.

Also see 5 Building Regulations Books you should read before building anything.

Now whether you want to build a home extension for personal reasons because your family has grown bigger, or it’s strictly a business investment, here are 5 absolutely essential books for home extension builders, home owners, architects, students and other professionals.

  1. Housebuilders Bible, 11th Ed (2015),by Mark Brinkley

The Housebuilder’s Bible

The Housebuilders Bible (new, updated edition as of April 2015) is based on the author’s experiences as a builder and developer. Mark lives in Cambridge, he’s a regular blog publisher and researcher in the industry.

AMAZON Waterstones


Needless to say that it’s not titled the bible of the housebuilder for nothing, the material has come a long way from its first editions and it now has a steady fan base comprised of professionals from various industries; it’s also considered an important book that comes with strong recommendations for the occasional builder as well as for the more seasoned house builders that now take more and more jobs through the online platforms like My Builder and others (which unfortunately we can’t recommend as much – we’ll do another post about that soon.)


Intrigued by the bold – and I have to say I thought foolishly brave – title, I decided to read the bible and appropriately enough, it proved revelatory. Mark has managed to dissect and analyse the housebuilding process in a way quite unlike anything I have ever read, or have read since, examining each key decision and the factors that influence cost, quality and build speed.

Michael Holmes


Book excerpt

The average new house is constructed entirely by builders, takes about 6-8 months to complete and costs about £90 per sq. ft. […] It is built to standards that meet – and do not exceed – the current building regulations. If you want to maximise the financial return on your new house […] it pays to be dead simple.


  1. Home Extension Manual: The Step-by-step Guide to Planning, Building and Managing a Project, 2nd Ed (2011)by Ian Rock

home extension manual

Ian Alistair Rock is an experienced chartered surveyor and freelance writer who has contributed articles to The Observer, Build It, Move or Improve and numerous other publications. He has designed and managed home extension projects since the late 1980s.  Alongside his other books for Haynes, which include Victorian House Manual1930s House Manual and Loft Conversion manual, Ian now shares his extension-building experiences the good, the bad and the downright scary!

AMAZON Waterstones



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 of what it is like to build your house. This new edition (8 Jan 2015) includes all the updated relevant information on planning and building regulations in the UK, with consideration to environmental issues and options for micro-generation, areas that have suffered changes recently.

Book excerpt

Although there’s a fairly good chance that your plot will turn out to be perfectly sound for development, it’s just too expensive a risk to assume all is fine down below. The official figures make alarming reading, 440.000 UK homes are on ground that’s liable for subsidence and around 100.000 on sites at risk from landslip. That’s not counting the ones potentially at risk from flooding, radon gas and wind damage.

Ian Rock


  1. Renovating for Profit (2008) by Michael Holmes

renovating for profit

Michael, one of the UK’s leading residential property experts, is the Editor-in-Chief of three leading specialist home interest titles, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living and Real Homes, which together constitute 8% of the UK home interest market.

AMAZON Waterstones


If you are considering going into property development or renovating a house for the first time, get this book. It covers everything from choosing the right property, buying at the right price, marketing your property, to finance and tax etc.

This book, by bricks-and-mortar expert Michael Holmes, will show you how to maximise the value of your investment and will reveal the kind of home improvements that make economic sense.

Authoritative and detailed text covers all major aspects of home improvement, including conservatories, loft and basement conversions, double-glazing, central heating, kitchens and bathrooms. With sound advice and clear, comprehensive charts and tables, it adds up to an indispensable handbook for any homeowner who is thinking of building on to, extending, altering or selling their property.

For anyone that wants to read a specific area (like interiors, for example) the book is nicely separated into chapters, so you can find what you need easily.


  1. Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home by Julie Carlson

Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home

Julie is the Editor-in-Chief of Remodelista,  a creative website for interior design and home remodelling, and she has helped create the ultimate remodelling resource guide.

Remodelista has a singular and clearly defined aesthetic: classic pieces trump designs that are trendy and transient, and well-edited spaces take precedence over cluttered environments.

As well as the beautiful photographs, there are inspirational ideas for everyone and a section that shows you how and where to source products and put those creative ideas into practice. All in all, the content is well structured, and the book is a pleasure to handle.

AMAZON Waterstones



This well-ordered, well-photographed book is packed with great ideas. It includes detailed descriptions of a dozen cool houses, with ideas on how to steal this look. There are thorough chapters on bathrooms and kitchens. . ..  Carlson, editor-in-chief of the website, used the book to highlight remodelling, redecorating, and organizing, as well as budgeting. 

Dallas Morning News


Book excerpt


Look around you. If you’re at home, chances are you see room for improvement. You’re not alone […], we’ve all become curators of our domains. The personal and the meaningful rule the roost. With this democratisation of design, however, the possibilities (and the choices) are endless. Literally. The average kitchen remodel requires 2.500 decisions. And therein lies the hitch. Whether you’re a professional or a novice, and whether you live in a closet or a château, the question remains: exactly how do you track down what you love and can afford, and how do you corral it with confidence at home?



  1. Home Extensions: The Complete Handbook by Paul Hymers ,4th Ed (2015)

Home extensions: the complete handbook

Paul Hymers is a corporate building engineer who works as a Building Control Officer for his local council in Kent. He checks and approves plans and monitors work in progress.

Written as a result of the discovery that the problems encountered and mistakes made in building extensions are largely due to a lack of information available to the general public and to many builders, the author has written this highly informative, easy-access book that launched its 4th edition on October 2015.

AMAZON Waterstones


The book is perfect for anyone who wants to manage a home extension project. There is invaluable advice on all the major aspects of getting work done on time, safely and cost effectively. It also deals with legal aspects (in plain English) that will ensure that if anything goes wrong, you and your money are protected.

Don’t buy this book if you are looking for information on how to build it yourself (see DIY architecture books for home extensions and renovations). This book is designed to give you enough information about the work you are employing builders to do so that they don’t rip you off with shoddy or dangerous work. All in all, this is an excellent book with gems of vital information on each page.