Watts bucks digital trend with the return of the Pocket Handbook to hard copy


The 29th Edition of the construction industry bible, the Watts Pocket Handbook, will be available in hard copy this year for the first time since 2012.

First published in 1983, Watts Pocket Handbook provided a host of comprehensive technical information and legal guidance on a wide range of property and construction issues and soon became a familiar sight on desks across the UK used across almost all disciplines. Following the trend for digital publishing, the handbook moved online in 2013 and the hard copy version discontinued.

It became clear, however, that many clients and consultants missed the ability to quickly refer to the handbook in the course of a meeting and conversation and invariably find the advice or information they were looking for. Following many requests, Watts teamed up with publisher Routledge, which has a specialist construction division and the Watts Pocket Handbook in hard copy was reborn.

As with the previous 28 editions, the current handbook covers a broad range of topics, from insurance and contracts and procurement to building defects, materials and sustainability. The content is primarily sourced from experts within Watts, supplemented by specialist information from external advisors.

Speaking about the relaunch, handbook editor and Watts Technical Director, Trevor Rushton said:

“It seemed entirely logical in 2013 to follow the digital revolution and take the pocket handbook online which allowed us to include more illustrations and a greater depth of information. What we didn’t foresee was the great affection that our readers had for the hard copy and we have had very many calling for its return. We pride ourselves on listening and so we have responded. We hope the industry likes the new edition.”

The inspiration for the first Watts Pocket Handbook was Hurst’s Handbook for Surveyors published in 1837. Trevor found a copy during an office move from premises that had been occupied by surveyors since 1840 and the firm recognised that a relatively brief, easily digestible guide to common problems and issues would still be useful to practitioners across the modern property and construction industry.

Managing Director of Watts, Ian Ford commented: “We set great store by the expert advice we at Watts provide and it’s extremely pleasing to be able to share some of that knowledge to the benefit of our industry and ultimately our clients.

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