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Ruth Slavid

'It will never work, ' the builder told me sadly. 'The client will have problems within 18 months, and then they will blame me.' He was talking about a new building, beautiful in concept and where the architect had made substantial use of timber. The problem, he said, was that the architect had not understood the material and was treating it in a way that would make it prey to damp - to swelling, distortion and, possibly, even to rot.

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