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Materials for Architects & Builders, Third Edition Arthur Lyons, Butterworth-Heinemann, £27.99 Update of a good basic text, which covers 17 categories of materials ranging from bricks and blocks to new chapters on energy-saving and recycled materials. Intended primarily for students, chapter-by-chapter bibliographies include useful reference texts and the relevant British Standards, but surprisingly no web addresses.

Good Practice Guide: Starting a Practice Simon Foxell, RIBA, 2006, £15.00 The start of a new year is always a good moment to challenge oneself with new horizons. Foxell's book provides an overview of what to consider if you want to start out on your own. Though much is common-sense, useful checklists cover all the basics and more.

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