About Jeff

Jeff Howell is a bricklayer by trade. He has worked for 15 years in the construction industry, and then went into teaching. He ended up as a lecturer in construction technology at South Bank University, London, and carried out research into dampness in buildings funded by the British government.

Whilst lecturing, He started writing for magazines and newspapers. Jeff wrote the “Doctor on the House” column for the Independent on Sunday for two years, and then switched to the Sunday Telegraph. He is now a full-time freelance writer and broadcaster on building.

“On the Level” was the title of  Jeff’s weekly building column in the Sunday Telegraph, London. The column is a mixture of observations on buildings, the building industry, DIY tips, and consumer-related building issues.

What is this website about?

Since writing for the newspapers, Jeff has had thousands of letters from readers – ordinary tenants and homeowners – who are worried about looking after their homes. This website will give some pointers about the best way to care for buildings, without getting ripped off by salesmen and cowboy builders.

A major problem of the 21st century commercial world is that whilst there are still skilled builders who are prepared to carry out traditional craft practices to repair buildings, there are many more salesmen offering “quick fix” instant repair products. These are almost always a waste of money, and can create many more problems than they solve. Typical examples are shown in the posts.

People fall prey to these scams because they are marketed cleverly, and the traditional building industry is not geared-up to marketing itself in the same aggressive way. I would like to help ordinary people understand how their homes work, and stop them falling into the clutches of the salesmen.