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When you think about active learning for the residential Design/Build process, what language do you use to describe your experience?

General Contracting?
Vocational Education?
Technical Education?
The Builder's Secret
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"Builder's Secret" with Guest George Ehrenhaft

Tom interviews George Ehrenhaft, writer, educator and ownerbuilder. Mr. Ehrenhaft suggests that we can learn the art of living through the craft of building, providing insight into the creation of his most recent book. He speaks candidly about the lives of folks who inspired him to write about the ownerbuilder experience.

 Visit Down Home Radio for the entire audio archive

Remember: A label can be a libel.

Whatever word label you use to describe active learning during the Design/Build process, be careful your word choice doesn't compromise your understanding of home architecture and construction.

The point is to avoid the constraints of "labeling" by allowing yourself to remain open to the full range of concepts and facts and thoroughly engage the spectrum of information provided by the variety of professionals with whom you come into contact.

Each construction professional - Construction Manager, Architect, Engineer, Contractor, Supplier, Manufacturer, Inspector, Realtor, Lender - comes to the Design/Build process with specialized information from years of education, training and experience. Intellectually embrace them all !!!

Wisdom imparted by each professional becomes an important, vital piece of the entire Design/Build puzzle.

By recognizing the natural connections which actually exist among the professions, you accept the roles of the various players, the contributions each make, and utilize the complex information base provided by the specialty of each profession.

However, to really get a grip on the Design/Build process, you must contend with the simultaneous interaction of ideas and events.

There comes a time when you leave the comfort of a local library, your office, or the kitchen table and begin to relate ideas to actual events.

A sensible, rational approach to the sequence of events is a good start but a more realistic and reliable track allows for the interdependent and unpredictable nature of the Design/Build process.

You discover your endeavor to plan, organize and control a residential construction project is both an art and a science.

Although your preparations are decisive and rational, there's a chaotic side to the experience which demands you remain a creative problem solver.

Your attempt to give careful consideration to all aspects of designing and building a home will only remove part of the uncertainty.

In reality, a modest number of possible Design/Build solutions will be considered, and there's no way of telling whether your solution choices are the best because so many other possibilities may go unexamined.

These "unexamined possibilities" will become the surprises, the challenges, which test your character and ingenuity.

A vision for active learning integrates the residential Design/Build process with the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitude which prepare individuals for collaborating with professionals and getting the most out of what they offer.

Major changes in the marketplace - technology, specialization, and participatory styles of management - are having a major impact on how individuals interact with one another and become positively involved in the residential Design/Build process.

Nothing will replace your ability to think critically and analyze the unique circumstances surrounding your project.

But, most important to active learning is your capacity to let artistic and scientific energies combine to become the creative force of your residential Design/Build experience.

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