Document your house

Building a user guide/manual for the house

Published on 
2 min, 284 words

Categories: life

We have manuals and guides for the software we use. We have a manual for the car we drive. Why not the house?

The obvious answer to this is that every house is different. A set of houses may be built the same but they diverge once people start to live in them. The book How Buildings Learn does a great job of showing how buildings change over time with their usage. It also relates very closely to how software evolves.

This question is asked in the article Writing Documentation for Your House. The author goes on to suggest things you might like to capture, such as:

  • When was this carpet installed?
  • How do I turn off the water mains?
  • What’s the model of my dishwasher again? I need the user manual.
  • Why is the water pressure so high?
  • What company is in charge of my sewage?
  • What electrical circuits are in the house?
  • Are there networking cable runs?
  • What colour exactly is this paint?

I think this a brilliant idea. It is something that can be built up over time. I regularly have to look up the model of a device or consult a user manual. I have to trawl through a bunch of documents to find my water company account number. It would take some time to populate but it is the sort of document that could be built over time - a bit like an FAQ.

Maybe I should start one ...


Writing Documentation for Your House

How Buildings Learn