The approach to the series is a departure from the traditional 'educational' or 'training' style of presentation where information is abstracted or idealized. These videos are designed for no-nonsense understanding of the process as it goes on in the real world. It is further unique in that the sequence of titles follows the same contemporary home from the time of first laying out the site, through each step of design and construction, all the way to completion and moving-in day.
The style is documentary, recorded as it happened in the field with broadcast-grade equipment. The contractors are experienced licensed professionals; the events are edited as they occurred in real time but condensed to roughly half-hour episodes and organized by trade areas. A spoken narrative accompanies the on-site video: it explains the hows and whys of what is going on, including references as they occur to the pertinent building codes and trade practices.
Where background is required to understand a process or a trade, introductions and explanations are presented in a way that assumes no prior knowledge. Individual areas such as plumbing, wiring, and HVAC are provided with introductory segments that start from 'scratch' and develop the subject to a basic level of understanding. In this way the 'sets'--groups of titles covering each individual area -- can be used stand-alone to cover the subject generically.
Where concepts are not obvious or difficult to visualize, colorful graphics and animations are used to explain terms, depict processes and show how things interact. When taken as a whole, the series represents detailed coverage of the entire residential building process--virtually all the practical information needed to build a contemporary home.
Because the programs are intended for use in supervised educational settings such as vocational schools and high schools with vocational programs, the technical content is up-to-date and given in depth. But code accuracy does not mean that the subjects cannot be treated with a sense of humor about working in the real world. This aspect is one that helps hold the interest of student and lay audiences alike. As a result, these videos are successfully used in adult education and trade apprenticeship programs nationwide, and by the National Home Builders Institute.
These programs work because nothing is taken for granted: it is an informed approach to what you need to know, presented in a style that you can easily understand and enjoy watching.
"I found them to be
extremely helpful in elucidating the essential, step by step process
of residential construction. They are very valuable as teaching
tools and will supplement the more conventional classroom techniques...Most
importantly, they are clear and systematic...extremely effective
and useful." Kenneth Schwartz, Chair, Department of Architecture
University of Virginia