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Woman Built House From the Ground Up Using Nothing But YouTube Tutorials (digitaltrends.com) 315

schwit1 quotes a report from Digital Trends: In this generation of self-starters and self-made women and men, do-it-yourself isn't just an option, it's a way of life. And if there's not an app for that, chances are there's a YouTube video for it. That was certainly the case for a woman named Cara Brookins, who is living proof that if you're willing to learn, you absolutely can. In 2008, Brookins was in the midst of a family struggle, having left a husband she called "violent and abusive." Looking to make a fresh start for herself, she took the idea of rebuilding quite literally, perhaps using the physical experience of constructing a house as an extension of her emotional and mental journey. Though she had no previous experience in construction or architecture, Brookins found a series of YouTube tutorials on building a home and got to work. Over the course of nine months, Brookins worked tirelessly with the help of her four children to build a new home for themselves. "I had rented this cabin for a Thanksgiving getaway," the mother of four told CBS News. "And driving there, we passed this house that had been ravaged by a tornado. It was this beautiful dream house and it was sort of wide open. You don't often get the opportunity to see the interior workings of a house, but looking at these 2x4s and these nails, it just looked so simple. I thought, "I could put this wall back up if I really tried. Maybe I should just start from scratch.'"
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Woman Built House From the Ground Up Using Nothing But YouTube Tutorials

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  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:38PM (#53771381)

    Stupid headline

    • No time required, either! This YouTube thing must be amazing.
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      Materials?!? As Better Off Dead [wikipedia.org] taught us, all you need to turn a junker into a sleek hot-rod is a little elbow grease!

    • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2017 @09:52AM (#53773379)

      Stupid headline

      No, it's a headline that isn't meant for stupid people.

      You see, language is contextual, you're expected to be smart enough to fill in the gaps by using the context of the sentence. Obviously by mentioning "YouTube Tutorials" we're talking about educational resources, not building material.

      If language did rely on people understanding context it would take ages to explain a simple concept, headlines would look like legal briefs as every possible explanation is covered off to avoid any ambiguity. I don't know about you, but I don't want to live on planet of the lawyers.

      • by synaptik ( 125 ) * on Tuesday January 31, 2017 @02:12PM (#53775487) Homepage
        No, it's a joke that isn't meant for stupid people.

        You see, language is ambiguous; you're expected to be smart enough to realize when someone is exploiting that ambiguity with humorous intent, to evoke mirth in their audience.
        If language wasn't ambiguous, whole swaths of comedy would be eliminated and we'd be stuck with nothing but pedants trying to explain to us how we misinterpreted a headline.
    • Zeroes and ones; can't you read??
  • ok (Score:5, Funny)

    by bigdavex ( 155746 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:40PM (#53771391)

    I bet she used some bricks or wood or something, too.

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:46PM (#53771439)

    I dont know how it works elsewhere but here in Australia there are a number of jobs (electrical work, plumbing, telecom work and others) that you can't legally do unless you have the right license.

    • by Sarlok ( 144969 ) on Monday January 30, 2017 @11:56PM (#53771509)
      That depends on state and city laws. In a lot of places a homeowner is allowed to do any work themselves on their own home. So I could do electrical and plumbing work on my own house (and in fact I have), but I could not do electrical work on someone else's house or a commercial building without being a licensed electrician.
      • Just out of interest, what happens if you sell your house?

        • by Sarlok ( 144969 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2017 @12:05AM (#53771549)
          I get paid and the new owner takes possession. I have to disclose and problems with the house in a seller's disclosure, but no special notification is required for any work I have done myself. It's common for buyers to hire a professional home inspector that will make sure everything works and look for signs of potential problems, including going in the attic (or crawl space if there was one) to look at utilities. They'll spot things that may not be up to current code and let the buyer know.
        • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2017 @12:22AM (#53771637)

          Just out of interest, what happens if you sell your house?

          In every jurisdiction I know of, this type of new construction requires several government inspections to make sure it is up to code. They inspect the drains and rebar before you pour concrete. They inspect the plumbing and wiring before you put up drywall. Etc. I have seen plenty of professional contractors fail these inspections for pretty obvious deficiencies. So it is likely that her work is at least as good as theirs. What she lacks in knowledge she makes up in actually-giving-a-shit, since it is her own house.

        • by beuges ( 613130 )

          Here in South Africa, part of the documentation required when effecting a property transfer is an Electrical Compliance Certificate, and not every electrician is licensed to issue them. The purpose is to cover this exact situation, where the homeowner installed their own connections which may not be up to code. If the property has an electric fence, that requires a separate certificate as well. And an etymological certificate is required to ensure that the purchaser isn't receiving a home filled with wood b

      • by Scoth ( 879800 )

        It can also depend on whether what you're doing is considered repair or installation/upgrading. I replaced my own hot water heater last year and my ex-wife and her grandmother spent a lot of time being worried about permits and such. Basically as long as I was replacing like for like it was considered repair and I didn't need anything special. If I was going to upgrades, say convert to a tankless water heater, I'd have had to pursue more.

        There are also methods in place in some places to have your work inspe

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Same in the US although home owners are typically exempt from a lot of things, the paperwork alone would cost 3 out of the 9 months the article says it took with plenty of weeks in between construction where you have to wait for an inspector to come before proceeding to the next (unless you're a professional and know your schedule in advance, you have to schedule them when you actually finished a portion or risk having to pay for a second visit).

      And that's if you do everything correct the first time around,

      • by Highdude702 ( 4456913 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2017 @12:20AM (#53771629)

        Same in the US although home owners are typically exempt from a lot of things, the paperwork alone would cost 3 out of the 9 months the article says it took with plenty of weeks in between construction where you have to wait for an inspector to come before proceeding to the next (unless you're a professional and know your schedule in advance, you have to schedule them when you actually finished a portion or risk having to pay for a second visit).

        Ok so i actually am a licensed electrician. And to tell you the truth when you do Owner-Builder it is 100% identical to if you were a contractor. You pull a building permit(normally valid for 180 days, but you can get extensions. I have seen projects span almost 10 years) With that permit is a fee, That fee includes initial inspection of all facets of the permit. You only have to repay on a Fail. You have that 180 days to get all work done(there is a certain order) But as i said you can get extensions. And when you call your inspection in normally if youre before 4pm that day it will be handled the next business day. There is no "plenty of weeks in between construction where you have to wait for an inspector"

        • Ok so i actually am a licensed electrician.

          Have you witnessed the horror that is (damn near) unregulated marine electrical?
          The shit you see sometimes...

          • Actually when i was 19 i worked at Callville Bay here in nevada as their electrician, and the connections i saw just sitting under water were scary to say the least.. I never swam by the docks again...
        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          Ok so i actually am a licensed electrician. And to tell you the truth when you do Owner-Builder it is 100% identical to if you were a contractor.

          Procedural wise they might be the same... But I've seen so many nightmares caused by owner-builders or owner-renovators because they didn't know what they were doing. I was a general dogsbody (labourer) on building sites when I was young (good money for unskilled labour in Oz back in those days) and the sheer extent that some people screwed up, what would be a 1 or 2 day job turned into a week or more because you'd have to un-fuck what the owner had done, then do it properly. It took more time to get things

        • Depends on the jurisdiction. Some major cities that are understaffed you literally have to wait for weeks for an inspection which is very literally why many people don't pull permits in those areas. Generally happens in poor cities with one or two building inspectors for 100,000 people.

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      I wonder also about structural integrity in general. Its one thing to frame a basement wall but load bearing walls are another matter.
    • Different parts of the US have different laws, but where I live you can do anything you want, except for running natural gas lines, as long as you have the right permits (basically you tell them what you are going to do, pay some money for the permit, and let them inspect it when it is all done).

    • In the US, you need a license to offer attorney services for hire, but you can represent yourself, acting as your own attorney. In most states, you need a license to have people pay you as a locksmith, but you can fiddle with your own lock all day if you choose. You need a license to be hired as an electrician, but you can replace a light switch in your own house.

      New construction and certain types of remodeling require that the city inspector check your work - whether you're a professional or not.

      Does Aus

      • by jonwil ( 467024 )

        Here in Oz you will get in trouble if you do unlicensed electrical work on your own home. The big box hardware stores all have big signs in the electrical department clearly saying "no DIY" and warning people not to do the work if they dont have the license.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          Here in Oz you will get in trouble if you do unlicensed electrical work on your own home. The big box hardware stores all have big signs in the electrical department clearly saying "no DIY" and warning people not to do the work if they dont have the license.

          Add me to the chorus of the people who say that's crazy. I get that's a bunch of dumb people out there who will screw this up, But why should we not be able to do fun stuff because there's dumb people in the world?

    • by ChoGGi ( 522069 )

      In Toronto and Calgary, and I imagine other cities in Canada; you can legally do that work on your own house. You can't do it as a contractor on a house you don't live in.
      I worked for a guy that renovated his own house (stripped it down to the walls, left just enough to keep it as a reno instead of a new house) in the evenings and weekends. Other than needing a structural engineer for blueprints, he did it all himself.

    • The only plumbing I do, is the stuff that requires cutting/joining copper pipe or stuff inside the walls. Anything with a threaded fitting, I do myself. It really isn't that hard.

    • I dont know how it works elsewhere but here in Australia there are a number of jobs (electrical work, plumbing, telecom work and others) that you can't legally do unless you have the right license.

      Also called regulatory capture - monopolies enshrined by law. Take HVAC for example - pretty impossible to purchase a unit without a license due to the laws against the use of CFCs - despite the fact that new units don't use Freon, but other gases. No reason not to allow someone without a license to install it,

      • Well, here in California where everyone likes to cry about regulatory overreach of the CARB, it's completely legal for the homeowner to go forth and buy a heat pump, and install it themselves. You can even buy one with quick disconnects so that you can make all of the connections yourself. The only place you'll need a licensed professional involved is when it comes time to connect your electrical circuit to the panel. It's perfectly legal to do everything else yourself. And frankly, the penalty for doing th

    • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
      I am finishing my basement now for a house we had built almost 3 years ago. I have done everything down there, framing, plumbing, electrical with the exception of hooking up the sub panel electric box to the main breaker box. I had an electrician do that part and also verify my electrical work.

      I think I'm technically suppose to have a builder's permit (like $20 from the local courthouse) which would have an inspector come out and approve the work before I put the sheet rock up.. but since it's not visi
    • I'm sure it varies by locale, but where I'm at specifically that only applies to people doing business in those fields. The owner of the property can do whatever they are comfortable with so long as it will pass inspection.

    • Building codes in the U.S. vary by jurisdiction (State, County, City). In many places, a homeowner is allowed to do his own work (given that the proper permits are bought), subject to inspection by local authorities upon completion.

    • I dont know how it works elsewhere but here in Australia there are a number of jobs (electrical work, plumbing, telecom work and others) that you can't legally do unless you have the right license.

      For the electrical you can certainly do that yourself in the US with proper inspections / permits. Electrical work is not all that difficult to do properly. The utility companies usually require that you pay one of their employees to hook up the electrical mains and run the final xxx feet from the main line to your breaker. The rest you could do yourself if you demonstrate a proper understanding of the codes associated with that work. The rules are usually similar as far as who can do the work for sewer

    • I dont know how it works elsewhere but here in Australia there are a number of jobs (electrical work, plumbing, telecom work and others) that you can't legally do unless you have the right license.

      At least in my neck of the woods in the Northeast US, you can do the job yourself, but you have to have it inspected. I do my own electrical work, and the difference is obvious who did what to the inspector. Probably most people should leave that to the pros, but just because the pro is licensed doesn't mean you'll get pretty work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I definitely have had a "violent and abusive" husband and I have 'nothing' too. But I am unable to build a house. I am not really sure which part I am missing. May be I need more sob stories to fasten the planks?

  • by Mr Foobar ( 11230 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2017 @01:48AM (#53772017) Homepage

    So /. is now getting article submissions off of Reddit these days? Sad...

  • I have pictures of my dad building my parents house. Not single handed and of course not the part that needs heavy machines, but the brick walls were build by him and his friends.(and help from his dad, who was the actual crafty guy)

    • Most of the work on my parents' house was done by themselves, only the stuff requiring heavy machinery and brickwork, stuff like underfloor plumbing and the like, was done by professionals.

      It really isn't that hard, if you think about what you're doing and don't rush into it.

  • The article talks about them doing it in 9 months then about where Youtube was at 9 years ago.

    As someone in the middle of their own self taught renovation project I'm interested in the details of the build. Unfortunately I can't find anything beyond photos of her posing in the finished house and adverts for her associated book.

  • https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/dow... [usda.gov]

    Yup. Quite handy. You can get a hard copy from Amazon:
    https://www.amazon.com/Wood-Fr... [amazon.com]

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