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The books listed as Recommended Reading are what Owner Builder Services considers "best of kind" for designing and building a residential construction project.

Reader Our focus is to advocate for the consumer in the Design/Build process by providing home building references which will empower owners to make decisions and solve problems related to home building and design when working with architects, trade contractors, suppliers, and building officials.

We urge you to visit your local library to check out a book first, then decide if it's right for you and to what extent you can put the book to use before making a purchase.

Builders Booksource If you're visiting the Berkley community just outside San Francisco, take a walk down the hill from campus to the 4th Street neighborhood where you'll find the very fine Builders Booksource owned and operated by George and Sally Kiskaddon. You can also visit their excellent online store!

Some books may not be currently available through a retailer and your local library may be the only source.

Other multi-volume sets will be cost prohibitive to purchase so the reference section of your library will be the only choice.

Latest book on my nightstand is by George Ehrenhaft titled, The Builder's Secret: Learning the Art of Living Through the Craft of Building. One reviewer commented: "In the world of building and how-to books, an occasional and rare thing happens: a book appears that goes beyond the hardware and advice and offers a deeper insight into what really motivates people to build, fix, and create things, and begins a conversation about what such endeavors mean to ordinary people who are drawn to and realize "do-it-yourself" lives." This is why I've placed it on my Recommend Reading list.

Decision Making Process

Birnberg, Howard. Project Management for Small Design Firms.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1992. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

McNulty, Alfred. Management of Small Construction Projects.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Diller, Stephen. How to Succeed with Your Own Construction Business.
Carlsbad: Craftsman Books, 1991.

Lewis, J. Fundamentals of Project Management.
New York: American Management Association, 1995.

Schliefer, Thomas. Construction Contractors' Survival Guide.
New York: Wiley & Sons, 1990.

Design/Build Matrix

Connel, John. Homing Instinct.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999.

Benzel, K. The Room in Context.
New York: McGraw Hill, 1997.

Case, Linda. Design/Build for Remodelers, Custom Builders, and Architects.
D.C.: Home Builder Press, 1992.

Home from Nowhere
Click here to visit site

"Home from Nowhere" with Guest James Howard Kunstler

Tom interviews James Kunstler, author of Geography of Nowhere and Home from Nowhere. Mr. Kunstler introduces us to the "new urbanist" movement, decrying what he calls our "national automobile slum." He doesn't mince words criticizing our deteriorating environment and slacking cultural heritage, but he also presents us with examples where neo-traditionalist architecture and new urbanist planning have made a decisive difference.

 Visit Down Home Radio for the entire audio archive

Building Green

Pearson, David. The Natural House Book.
New York: Simon & Schuster/Fireside, 1989. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Woods, Charles et al. Designing Your Natural House.
New York: Van Nostrand, 1992. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Hermannsson, John. Green Building Resource Guide.
Newtown: Tauton Press, 1997.

Chappell, Steve. Alternative Building Sourcebook.
Brownfield: Fox Maple Press, 1998.

Contract Documents

Collier, Keith. Managing Construction: The Contractual Viewpoint.
Albany: Delmar, 1994.

Cushman, Robert et al. Construction Management Form Book.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Acret, James. Simplified Guide to Construction Law.
Los Angeles: Building News, 1997.

Acret, James. National Construction Law Manual.
Carlsbad: Craftsman, 1996.


McHugh, Robert. Working Drawing Handbook.
New York: Van Nostrand, 1982. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Myrvang, June et al. Home Design Handbook.
New York: Holt, 1992.

Susanks, S. The Not So Big House.
Newtown: Tauton Press, 1998.

Thallon, R. Graphic Guide to Frame Construction.
Newtown: Tauton Press, 1995.

Ramsey/Sleeper. Architectural Graphic Standards.
New York: Wiley & Sons, 1994.


Ching, Francis. Building Construction Illustrated.
New York: Van Nostrand, 1991. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Rosen, Harold. Construction Specifications Writing.
New York: Wiley, 1974. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Olin/Schmidt/Lewis. Construction Principles, Materials, and Methods.
New York: Wiley & Sons, 1997.

Stitt, Fred. Construction Specs.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999.


Hageman, Jack. Contractor's Guide to the Building Code.
4th ed. Carlsbad: Craftsman, 1993.

Kardon, R. Code Check.
Newtown: Tauton, 1995.

Hageman, J. Contractor's Index to the 1997 UBC.
Carlsbad: Craftsman, 1998.

Kone, L. Land Development.
D.C.: Home Builder Press, 1996.

Budget Estimates

Gerstel, David. Builder's Guide to Running a Successful Construction Company.
Newton: Tauton, 1991.

Jackson, W.P. Estimating Home Building Costs.
Carlsbad: Craftsman 1981.

Thomas, P. Estimating Tables for Home Building.
Carlsbad: Craftsman, 1989.

Householder/Mouton. Estimating for Home Builders.
D.C.: Home Builder Press, 1991.

Cost Analysis

R.S. Means Company. Means Residential Cost Data.
Kingston: Construction Consultants, 1996.

Thomas, Paul. Contractor's Field Guide.
Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1995.

Thomsett, M. Builder's Guide to Accounting.
Carlsbad: Craftsman, 1996.

Jones, Jack. Handbook of Construction Contracting.
Carlsbad: Craftsman, 1987.


Cook, Paul. Bidding for the General Contractor.
Kingston: Means, 1985.

McConville, John. Managing Construction Purchasing.
Kingston: Means, 1993.

Edwards, S. Dangerous Clients: How to Protect Yourself.
San Francisco: Miller Freeman, 1998.

Jaffe/Merz. Warranties and Disclaimers for Remodelers.
D.C.: Home Builder Press, 1998.

Trade Contractors

Cole, Leslie. Construction Superintending.
Carlsbad: Craftsman, 1987. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Jahn, Bart. Cost-Saving Techniques for Housing Construction.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995.

Fredley/Schaufelberger. Contracts with the Trades.
D.C.: Home Builder Press, 1998.

Residential & Light Commercial Construction Standards
Kingston: Means, 1999.


Sweet's General Building and Renovation Catalog File.
New York: Sweet's Group, 1996.
(Goto the Reference Section of your local library)

Thomas Register of American Manufacturers.
New York: Thomas Publishing Company, 1995.
(Goto the Reference Section of your local library)

Architect's First Source.
Kingston: Means, 1992.


Cleland, David et al. Project Management Handbook.
New York: Van Nostrand, 1988. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Petrucci, Luigina et al. Residential Contracting.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995.

Love, Tom. Bar Chart Scheduling for Residential Construction.
D.C.: Home Builder Press, 1997.

Rogers, L. Basic Construction Management: The Superintendent's Job.
D.C.: Home Builder Press, 1999.


Department of Labor and Industries. Safety Standards for Construction Work. Olympia: Washington State, 1994
(Contact your State Agency governing Safety Standards)

Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Safety & Health Standards for Construction. Washington D.C., 1994.
(Goto the Reference Section of your local library)

Civitello, Andrew. Construction Safety and Loss Control Program Manual.
Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 1997.

Kennedy, George. Construction Foreman's Safety Handbook.
Albany: Delmar, 1996.

Quality Control

Leger, Eugene. Complete Building Construction.
New York: Macmillan, 1993.

Slama, Murray et al. Construction Inspection Manual.
Los Angles: Building News, 1994. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Bliss/Masterson. Troubleshooting Guide to Residential Construction.
Richmond: Builderburg, 1997.

Hrin, T. Daily Field Guide: A Logbook for Home Builders.
D.C.: Home Builder Press, 1997.

Punch List

Fredriksson, Don. The Complete House Inspection Book.
New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1988. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Hoffman, George. How to Inspect A House.
New York: Addison-Wesley, 1992. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

Haasl/Kuchinsky. Production Checklist for Builders and Superintendents.
D.C.: Home Builder Press, 1997.

Scutella, R. The Home Buyer's Checklist.
New York: Tab Books, 1993.

Traister, J. Home Inspection Handbook.
Carlsbad: Craftsman, 1997.


Koberg, Don and Bagnall, Jim. The All New Universal Traveler.
Los Altos: Kaufman, 1981. OUT OF STOCK - Try your local library

O'Brien,J. Construction Change Orders.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998.

And, just in case you're looking for the correct architecture or construction word choice or definition, you can visit WWWebster Dictionary and Thesaurus.

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