There has been an interesting discussion running recently on the Backyard Boatbuilding mailing list dealing with the various levels of quality (perceived and actual) between so-called professional builders and home builders. It got started by a gentleman expressing some self-doubt about his building efforts, compared to those of a professional builder.

Quite a few people have jumped in with the opposing viewpoint. The feeling is that an "amateur" can question and learn as he needs to, and is not driven by the lowest bidder, minimum wage costs and fastest/least expensive methods. One writer mentions that "better" can have many meanings, and that "quality" is conformance to specifications.

Remember the dictionary definitions of amateur and professional.

a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons
following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain

Just because somebody is doing a job for pay doesn’t mean they are doing a particularly great job of it, and if you have done it yourself, you know how its made, and where you should watch for problems, and how to repair it if needed. This will not be hidden behind a showroom finish from a home builder’s eyes.


Roger states:

When Dick Rutan and Jeanna Yeager flew their homebuilt aircraft around the world, non-stop, non-refueled; their quality standard during the building was "mission adequate."

I think that may be one of the best goals I’ve seen for my building efforts… "mission adequate".

amateur. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: August 20, 2007).

professional. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: August 20, 2007).