Do I Need to be an Expert to Build Things?

expertI’ve always had the opinion that if 2 hands can do something, why not my 2 hands? Everything that is man made on this planet was built by people. An idea was thought of, a plan was put in place, and a task was executed by human beings. Those human beings used their brains and their hands to build everything we see. If they can do it, why can’t you and I do it?

I don’t pretend to be an expert at everything I do. I also understand the theory that in order to become an expert at something, you need to do it for 10,000 hours or more. In general I believe this is a true statement for many things such as doctors, lawyers, engineers just to name a few things. You get where I’m going with this. But do I really need 10,000 hours worth of experience to give my truck an oil change or to mow my lawn? Of course not. There are many things in life that can just get done without reaching expert status.

For me personally, my strong suit in life has always been building things. Whether it’s welding fabrication or building structures (ironwork). I have done a lot of these types of things in my life. I am an ironworker with more than 10,000 hours worth of experience in these types of things. I have never built a house however. But I’ll bet I could. I already have the fundamentals of construction down pat. Building things made of steel uses many of the same principals as building things out of wood. You put materials up in the air and you make them stay up in the air. It’s really that simple when you think about it. Now I realize there is a lot more to building a house than that but, can’t the rest be learned pretty easily? It’s all just fine tuning once you have the knowledge of construction figured out. Building codes can be learned, techniques of working with certain materials can be learned, roofing, siding, vapor barrier principles can all be learned. It’s just a matter of time, effort and how bad you want to learn these things. I would say that in this day and age, with all the information that is available at my fingertips, It’s only up to me to decide if I want to build a house.

Going back to the first paragraph where I mentioned that everything we see has been made by people, another good thing about that, is most of the problems have been worked out. If I want to replace the siding on my house, most of the potential mistakes I could make are well documented. This means all I need to do is follow the teachings and warnings of others so I don’t have to waste time and money making the same mistakes they did. How awesome is that? Even 20 years ago, I think it would have been much harder to replace siding on a house than it is today with the help of the internet. Even if you are not like me and have never done any type of construction projects, I feel that if you are willing and can follow directions, you will be very successful in any project you take on. Take a look at this website for example. I wasn’t born with the knowledge or skills of building a website and getting it to rank in Google. I just decided to do it one day. It probably helps that I have a love for computers and technology but with some time and effort I got it going. Just look at my writing. I have no idea how to write or use punctuation correctly but, here you are reading this article by some non expert.

I should mention that there are certain things I probably will never want to tackle. For me, concrete work is at the top of the list for a couple reasons. One reason is that I have no real desire to experiment with something so permanent and costly. I have poured concrete before but always with the help of people that know how to finish it and work with it. It’s easy for me to fix mistakes while welding or even working with wood but, concrete is pretty permanent. I feel that when it’s all said and done, I would be time and money ahead having some real help for concrete.

Everyone is different and has different views and limitations about any project. This is one good thing about the free market society we live in today. You can always find someone who is an expert at something you’re not. I just wanted to give an alternative thought for looking at certain projects and feeling overwhelmed. We all get overwhelmed from time to time but, if we take a step back and give it another look it might not be as bad as we think. Some people take on projects for the simple fact that they don’t have much money to spend on it. Some do it for a sense of adventure and the satisfaction you get from completing something great. For me, it’s a little bit of both.