Useful Books

Managing Home Alteration and Extension Projects

This book is aimed at anyone who is considering making alterations or extending their home. Based on the stages that professional designers actually go through to run a project, it gives detailed advice on each step of the design and construction process, with information on the key facts and regulations. It is ideal for those who wish to understand and manage the process and check that their designers and builders are performing to standard. It is also useful for builders and designers which are new to the domestic market.

Topics covered include:

  • Surveying the existing house
  • Preparing a brief and creating a design
  • Making a planning application
  • Dealing with the Building Regulations
  • Preparing and issuing tenders to builders
  • Preparing for a project to commence and eventual completion
  • Your legal rights and contract law
  • Issues to consider if you are managing the building site, including health and safety advice

The book is illustrated with over a hundred photographs, diagrams and architect’s drawings as well as numerous checklists and ‘watch points’ that provide concise, relevant information and can be used directly when running a building project. Real life potential problems such as controlling the budget and finding the right builder are described, along with guidance on how to avoid the risks and tackle the common glitches. All the information is based on the actual documents and guidance used in the office of Julian Owen Associates Architects.

Read sample pages from the book here – Managing a Home Alteration Project Sample Pages.

To purchase a copy click HERE

Self Build By Julian Owen

Get the brand new book ‘Self Build’ written by Julian Owen MBE. Your step-by-step guide to designing and building your own stylish, tailor-made home. This books covers a step-by-step guide from the initial project concept to completion with a complete comprehensive coverage.

“This book has been brilliantly conceived to convince the would-be home builder that a high quality self build is perfectly within their reach. I am very pleased to be able to recommend this important new addition to the literature for all those self builders who believe that good design can unlock the potential of great living.” – Michael Holmes, Editor Homebuilding and Renovating magazine.

Self Build: Design and build your own home has been written by Julian Owen, an architect by profession and a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.  Julian has been helping people to design, build and improve their homes for years. He has written numerous magazine articles and is a regular speaker at seminars on the subject of improving, designing and constructing new homes.

To get a quick insight into the book please open some of the sample PDFs. You can order the book by clicking on the “buy now” button, or by downloading the PDF order form, filling it in and sending it off.

Self Build Sample Pages



Kit and Modern Timber Frame HomesBy Julian Owen

Timber frame is one of the world’s oldest and most versatile building materials. Its use in the UK is expected to increase dramatically as a result of government requirements for the use of sustainable or ‘green’ building methods. Kit and Modern Timber Framed Houses is an excellent starting point for self builders, house owners, architects and builders who are looking for design ideas and hard information on timber frame construction.

This book will be useful and stimulating to anyone who has an interest in the design, fabrication and construction of houses built from timber kits. As well as some stunning photography, it contains a wealth of solid practical information about the nature of timber as building material and how to build with it. After a brief historical introduction, the key types of timber structure are covered, including oak frame, structural insulated panels, log home and open and closed panel systems. Detailed construction drawings are included along with a commentary explaining the concepts and how to avoid problems. There is advice on how to get local authority approvals such as planning and building regulations with examples of how to complete the relevant forms and submit applications.

Choosing the right architect and kit supplier are important decisions and detailed information is provided on this process, as well as plenty of hints and tips on the right way to approach the professionals. The process of preparing and completing construction of a kit is described and some typical examples of kits being built are illustrated.

These pages will not show you how to construct a timber house yourself in great detail, but it will help you to decide whether it is right for your project, guide you through the steps that you should take and assist you in understanding the key issues as you follow the progress of a professionally-built timber frame house.

Click here to download sample pages in PDF format



Home Extension Design by Julian Owen, published by the Royal Institute of British Architects

If you are thinking of improving your home but want the real story of how to be successful, this richly illustrated book is for you.

It distills all the practical information needed to run a project from dream to reality, highlighting the pitfalls along the way and suggesting ways to avoid them. Peppered with inspirational case studies and giving indications of costs and timescales, “Home Extension Design” demystifies both the building process and all the surrounding issues to do with design, sustainability, budgeting, planning, regulations and the use of building contracts.

The comprehensive guidance includes chapters on making the best of what you’ve got, designing the changes to your home, types of house alteration projects (including extensions, loft conversions and basements), submitting applications to the local authority, and getting the building work done.

This book has been carefully crafted to offer friendly, jargon-free guidance full of hints, tips and watchpoints to answer all your home extension questions.

Type of house alteration
Getting started
Appraising the property
Designing the changes to your home
Submitting applications to the Local Authority
Getting the building work done

Home Extension Design sample pages



The Complete Loft Conversion Book by Julian Owen

Loft conversions are one of the most popular types of home alteration and, as this book shows, they can be an enormously useful and stylish addition to a house. If you have not been involved in a building project before, “The Complete Loft Conversion Book” guides you through the entire process with chapters arranged so that they follow the sequence of events in a real project.

From the Author

Having reviewed all the loft conversion books available in the UK before writing this one, I came to the conclusion that they are either aimed at the building trade and are too technical or too superficial for a homeowner who wants a clear understanding of the whole process, from conception to completion. In light of this, I have tried to include as much information about how to plan and design a project as possible, as well as preparing plenty of detailed construction drawings which explain how the roof structure has to be altered, all in a style that is accessible to both professionals and homeowners. As an architect carrying out this sort of work and with the help of some specialist loft conversion companies, I have been able to draw on a library of excellent photographs of work in progress on site, as well as feature completed projects for design inspiration. I have created some accurate three dimensional drawings that illustrate how to plan, locate and design the staircase for some of the typical house plan types (this is often the trickiest design problem). In short I have included all the information that I think is necessary to design and project manage a loft conversion. I have also included a fair number of construction drawings to help the DIY enthusiast get started or help those who will use a builder to understand how it will be put together.

Loft Book Sample Pages


Conservatories – A Complete Guide By Julian Owen

There are plenty of glossy brochures, booklets and other publications on Conservatories available from manufacturers and suppliers, but well-informed, genuinely independent advice is in short supply. ‘Conservatories: A Complete Guide’ aims to redress the balance and save readers time and money by presenting clear, practical advice on how to manage a project successfully. It also includes advice on how to deal with salesmen and avoid the ‘cowboys’.

This step-by-step guide explains how to make the right choices from the start. The first part of the book explains the benefits of introducing a conservatory to your home, how to draw up a comprehensive brief is covered, supplemented with checklists and suggestions on the questions that you should ask yourself. The design section is packed with photographs, ideas and illustrations of successful projects. Key to the success of the project is the choice of a professional team to help you.  Each option is covered, with helpful hints on the questions that you should ask to weed out the cowboys from the professionals.

The different options available to build from are described and the relative benefits analysed. The construction process is outlined in sufficient detail to arm every customer with the knowledge to check that the conservatory is being correctly built and give a DIY enthusiast the confidence to build for themselves. Finally, once you have completed the construction, should you wish to furnish and decorate your completed conservatory above the ordinary, this book contains some great ideas to add the ‘wow’ factor.



Recommended Reading

We have put together a list of books that we feel will provide helpful information to people considering a building project. There are also links to the reviews on these books on Amazon.

Click here to go to Book Review page