[UPDATE: I created this site on the Ning network, per the commenter's suggestion - and it can be found here: http://webuilddane.ning.com/ - please be sure to sign in and share what you know about the trials, tribulations, rewards and excitement of building a new home or adding onto an existing home! ]
WeBuildDane.org or the ‘WeBuild Network’ is an idea for a web 2.0, social networking site I’ve been mulling over for some time now, that would function something like craiglist, but be simply dedicated to sharing information about building and designing homes on a county or region-specific basis. I thought I would share the idea on this blog in hopes that someone might want to help build it, fund it, share some ideas about how it could be more effective, or just tell me why I should give up on it altogether!
I drafted a very crude version of how it might work, posted here: http://crescendodesign.com/old%20files/webuildprelim.html
Having worked in the residential construction and design industry for several years now, I have witnessed a tremendous disconnect and frustration on behalf of people who have knowledge of residential construction, matched only by an equal frustration found in people who want to build, but have no idea where to start. The magnitude of knowledge related to home design and construction is ultimately a moving target, and incredibly vast; with material prices and best practices changing every day. As a matter of practicality, the magnitude of information, both time-tested and hot off the press, is far far too vast for any single company to fully comprehend and employ in daily practice.
Another reason a network like this might be beneficial is that the knowledge you find in books or online resources is generally not region-specific. This becomes critically important when trying to learn about strategies and materials available in your county. A construction practice or material might be commonplace or widely available in one county, but scarce or non-existent just 100 miles away in another county. However idealistic or impractical this might seem, building a county-specific resource would be helpful in bringing the right information to the right people at the right time.
Plus, one common and universal characteristic I’ve seen is that people who recently built a home are, for the most part, eager and willing to share everything they learned. Many of them already write blogs, or publish stories of their process – good or bad. They are often incredibly proud of their new home, and are willing to share that knowledge – primarily because they remember what they had to go through, and don’t want others to have to go through the same tribulations if they can help them avoid it. This site would give people a centralized place to share knowledge.
Ideally a username/password log-in would augment the site, and perhaps even a reputation index for contributors, or a means of rating the quality of posts, etc. Maybe even a twitter-style ‘micro-post’ line where people can just post very short blurbs of some material they found at some store, etc. Maybe people could create Project Pages, where they gather pictures, questions, observations, and resources related to their project – and share their project with others in hopes that they might know of ways to improve their process and connect them to appropriate resources.
If the WeBuildDane.org site did become a useful resource, it could then branch into other counties and communities – and connect them all to the same backbone – the WeBuild network – with individual counties accessed from the main site.
So that’s the idea, now can WeBuild it? Does anyone have any thoughts about how to get this built or funded? I had hoped to slowly build and fund the project with bootstrap funding as time and money permits, starting very simple then building functionality over time. But that will realistically take years, and I don’t think a single company like Crescendo Design should ‘own’ a public, community portal like this, anyway.
Is there any way we can jump-start this? Please email me if you have ideas, or add your comments to this post. jbrouchoud (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!