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According to The Play Co, set up by designer Rupert Oliver, the use of play in buildings has undergone an 83 per cent year-on-year growth. Play, it says, is becoming central to the design of such diverse projects as shopping malls, pubs, restaurants, hotels, fast-food chains, supermarkets, airports and leisure centres. The Play Co's own publication defines the market in terms of the brewing sector, fast-food venues, in-store catering/shopping malls, service areas, leisure complexes, and commercial 'pay 'n' play' centres which it says have become a significant industry in their own right. It goes on to deal with the building and design implications, both from the point of view of statutory requirements, and with checklists for design and layout. These mostly seem obvious when once read, but include points which could easily be ignored - for instance the need to avoid blind corners which can be a major cause of collision accidents. There are also some typical plans and concept visuals. The company very much puts its own spin on things, but the publication could still be useful for those planning to get involved in this field. To get a copy, call The Play Co on 01978 264141.


Portland stone is a popular building material but one that needs to be specified and detailed correctly to achieve the best results. Albion Stone Quarries has addressed this problem by producing a technical manual, available either as hard copy or on cd. It comprises: a list of relevant standards; detailed information on cladding, building components, flooring and paving; and guidance on site practice and maintenance. Issues addressed include fixings, movement joints and flooring details. Copies of the publication are available from Albion Stone, tel 01737 224322.


It takes two parties to design a decent building, so here is a book you might like to invest in as a present for potential clients. Frank Salisbury, himself in practice, aimed to provide a reference book that could assist both client and architect at the important and formative stage of the brief, when both parties start to co-operate on a new project. The book sets out the essential activities and inter-relationships involving the client organisation and the design team as they progress through each phase of the job. It guides the client through seeking out and appraising a site, studying the feasibility of all ideas and proposals, and showing clearly how to work with architects and specialist consultants. The tasks to be performed by both client and architects, as well as consultants, are set out, together with the appropriate way of working together until the building design drawings are completed. Briefing Your Architect costs £14.99 from Butterworth Heinemann.


The Arbitration Act 1996 has introduced radical new concepts designed to promote fair, expeditious and economical resolution of disputes. All those concerned with disputes in the construction industry need to be aware of the provisions of the Act. A fourth edition of Douglas A Stephenson's Arbitration Practice in Construction has been published to take these changes into account. It goes through each stage of an arbitration, explaining in practical terms the benefits available under the new Act. The full text of the 1996 Act is included, as are more than 20 specimen arbitration documents. The book costs £28.50 from Blackwell Science.

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