Just a note about myself to let you know that I haven't just all of a sudden decided that I'm an authority in building the day before yesterday. In fact I chuckle at these guys that boast having 20 years under their belt. To me 20 years is getting there but in order to see just about everything you need at least 30 years. I never stop learning though, there is something new to learn each and every day.
I started in construction in 1974 as a helper/laborer on the re-construction of a 1700's Fur Trading Fort. This was an excellent place to start because we did a whole bunch of hand tool work on the various "true to life" copies of the buildings. It was there that I started my apprenticeship in General Carpentry.
As part of this training there was an extensive College training program which was the equivalent of 2 years of steady College. As apprentices though we had to rush through so we could get back to work and get our required hours in to get Certified. As a result, the College part was compressed into one year, approximately 6 months for basic and 6 months for advanced. The course consisted of theory, math, blueprint reading, and hands-on shop time. You had to pay attention because the instructors wrote it down on the blackboard and if you didn't "get it" you studied like mad on your own time. This was not High School anymore, it was time to buckle down and get it right.
So here it is 2006 and when I think back I realize that life moves fast, before you know it 30 years goes by. I have had the opportunity to learn a vast amount about building things because I was always open to getting in there and just doing it. I never took on the attitude that "I can't". If someone ever told me that I couldn't, I took that as being a challenge and then was off to prove them wrong. As a result I was able to gain a lot of experience in all aspects of building.
Another path I took was starting and running my own Company. This is where you really start to learn. When you're responsible for all aspects of the project including breaking ground, foundation, electrical and plumbing services, heating and ventilation, carpentry and on top of it all knowing how to deal with people, you learn a lot.
I've run backhoes, formed footings and foundations, installed electrical services, wired whole houses, installed septic fields, ground source heat pumps, complete plumbing of houses, and every aspect of carpentry you can think of. This is all hands-on. I don't just mean I stood there and watched someone else do it. In order to learn how it's done you need to get in there and do it.
I know where a plumbing vent is required and I know what a good electrical job looks like because I know what it takes to do the job right. It's not easy to do things right and fast at the same time which is what a good Tradesperson is all about. There must be no wasted motions, and very little pondering going on. If you're professional, you need to make things flow.
I've also travelled and worked in different areas which is also a must if you want a well rounded career. You need to see what others are doing in various parts of the country.
So that's about all the time I have at the moment, I could go on and list every little detail about waht I've done but that would take another page. If you need help with something and I can offer some information based on my experience just
Ask Mark a Question and I'll be happy to try and help.