Joint work yes, paid work -caution
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 12:53:29 -0600
Lynn wrote:
> > If there is not a clear advantage in having insiders do the
> paid work on
> > a project, a really clear advantage, like it would cost half as
> much, or
> > avoid a long education process to bring someone up to speed, then my
> > advice is to use non-community members, and steer clear of the
> pitfalls.
> > You have to live together for a long time!

Rob wrote:
At Sharingwood, the membership did about 70% of the construction work to
build our commonhouse. We all pitched in to help in varies ways with no
expectations put on any one person. It was a great experience. In
particular I fondly remember the day we had 11 people on the roof laying 
roofing, 9 of which had never done any roofing before. We all became very
empowered that day, and it was one of many highlights of my life here.

Working together physically to create something together that you will use
is an important glue. We also built our playground ourselves. When you let
others do that stuff for you, I think you lose something important.

Lynn responds:
Rob missed my point. My caution is on the subject of paying one or two 
members hundreds or thousands of dollars for a particular task. The 
Sharingwood common house project sounds like it was volunteer work, or if 
compensated, that everyone had an equal opportunity to participate. 
I agree with all Rob said about the value of work parties and such. We in 
fact have 4400 hours of volunteer work pledged towards our common house 
construction (rough estimates gathered so we had some idea if it would 
allow us to trim the budget), and look forward to this as a great 
community-enhancing opportunity. 

And we may end up paying some community members for specific work beyond 
their volunteer work, but with the cautions noted. 

One unrelated point: Given that the first  5 households did years of 
intensive work self-developing our project, before others bought in, we 
acknowledged that with a "pioneer discount" on the lot prices, when we 
set the lot prices, of about a thousand dollars per year worked on the 
project. A token, in terms of the thousands of hours involved, but it 
felt appropriate to both old and new members. Someday that will show up 
as increased capital gains on resale, but that didn't bother us. 
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