So I am retired from my 4 decade construction career ( I have been a Building Contractor all of my adult life ), & I recently had lunch with an Architect Friend I have known since the early 90s. During this lunch, I told him very late in my career, I found an massive appreciation for the designers of our world. An Appreciation I never had for decades, an appreciation I was blind to, as my side of the fence ( building ) is focused more as an overviewer of design during the building phase of a project & getting the Consultants to rectify their errors of plenty. It is difficult to appreciate “The Design” when you are responsible for finding the pitfalls ahead of time & getting them diplomatically rectified. If you have ever worked in the Construction Industry, you fully understand the foregoing, and if you have no experience at all you might be puzzled & like Whhaaattt 🤷♂️.
Regardless; as a builder, I now realize “Design” is extremely important.
DIY DESIGN / BUILD - NEWBIE & EXPERIENCED:
If you are a newbie to DIY Design / Build, as I was in 2018, you have a steep learning curve & an education to take in. To confuse the process, you have to “believe” in information that you acquire. You should consider the source of the information, & your own relatable education & work experience ( your own strengths & weaknesses ).
The majority of what we glean from the internet are opinions ,,, not truths. Sometimes these opinions are presented with a commercial bias for profit. It is best to consider the source. The best way to parse thru the ocean of opinions to vet out a design is critical thought & digging for further information. I have faith in several Members on “The Forum” to provide good ( opinions ) & information & ideas. As I joined The Forum in mid 2019, I have some experience with these Members & appreciate & value their input ,,, there are many I value for their individual strengths & experience.
My First Van build was done during late 2018 & continued on into 2019. I floundered around due to lack of experience & believing in the wrong things “for me”. Second Van Build (early 2022), not so much floundering & a much better & more efficient design & everything I learned during the First Build ( the good, the bad, & the ugly ), was relied upon for the Second Build.
If I build a Third Van, I would hope it would be better than the first two builds.
There is no replacement for Knowledge & Experience - None.
If you are a Newbie, & you find yourself “spinning” with information overload & not knowing what to do, I would think this is a normal feeling. If you consider your design/build journey a self taught education “via internet teachers / mentors” & understand there are no perfect builds, hopefully you can enjoy the journey.
The First Van Design / Build you perform will be the hardest one you do & the one you learn the most from.
Further, depending upon your comfort level & ability & tools know there is always the option to hire out the labour for parts of the build you are not comfortable with performing yourself. Or hiring a Professional that is willing to work along side you & teach you. Acquiring Knowledge or Getting An Education is never free ,,, School of Hard Knocks or Otherwise.
Simplicity vs Complexity & The Newbie:
The Forever Van 🙄; I Suppose if I had the mindset I wanted to build my forever van then I would want it done right & once. The fact is these vans get old & mile out. The chance of a Newbie being able to design/build out a perfect complicated van the first time is zero. The more complicated you make it, the harder it will be to build it.
Simple is way easier for a first van than complicated ,,, especially when you lack knowledge & have to learn a lot.
I have seen it with inexperienced DIY Airplane Builders, when they get involved in complexed aircraft builds with little experience. Many times these builds are never finished & although heartbreaking that never flown build could have been the savior of the builder’s life.
You should build what you want, but if you have very limited knowledge, ability, or resources IMO it is best to build simple / basic to suit your needs.
These are my opinions, but I started This Thread to hear from the rest of you & your thoughts / opinions.