Friday, March 11, 2011

Qualiy Custom Home Builders

Qualiy Custom Home Builders

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Residental Framing

The framing of a new home or addition is probably one of the most exciting as well as challengeing aspects of building , this the part where the home owner can actually visualize what their new home is going to look like.This is also where if you plan on making any changes, now is the time to do it. The framing of a new home is also one of the most complex, your framer has to know local and state building code as well as how the pieces of the puzzle go together.I'll give you some examples, interior trim-door size openning and what type of trim are you going to use, cabinet-dimensions are critical here you don't want your cabinets to stick out past your wall or go beyond your door openning.These may sound like insignificant issues but in the whole scheme of house framing they are paramount if you want your home to look its best.

The importance of finding a good qualified framer just cannot be over stated.A truly good framer will show up to start work and the first thing he should do is check your foundation to make sure it is square and all your support piers are in place, after verifying all is right he can then begin to work.

This is a picture of foundation being inspected by the framer.

Your framer should now start sorting out your lumber package to not only separate the different types of material but to also cull out any building material that is not fit to use.The framer can now start cutting the blocks for your piers and sill plate.In case you are wandering a sill plate is a treated board that goes beneath your outside bands.You can not attach untreaed lumber to any type of masonary product or concrete. The next step would be to attach your bands and then  install your floor joist making sure you place your double joist and main girders in the correct place.A doube joist goes everywhere you have a bearing wall and girders are placed at critial spacing to give even more support for the entire structure.At this point you have to stop and call for an inpection, usually a city or county official will does this to make sure the framer and mason followed all applicable building codes, if you passed they can continue framing, if not they have to fix any issue that the inspector stated and call for another inspection.

This picture is courtesy of Custom Living.

Now that we have passed our inspecton we can lay the plywood and begin to build our walls, simple so far.There are so many issues on building walls so far as code goes we can not even begin to go over eveything that you need to know to frame correctly here.The basics you need to know are wall heights, spans for window and door opennings,or whether you can conventional lumber or do you need to use engineered lumber for your headers.

This house was built using convential stick frame methods.

The same rules apply for second floor walls as the first floor walls.We now move on to the roof framing, this can vary a lot by the locaion of were you are building.The roof is absolutely the most difficult aspect of framing, especially if you plan on stick framing, that is if you are not going to be using ready to install trusses.Trusses are pre-manufactured rafters that have designed by an engineer and laid out so that even the most novice of framers can do, I personally prefer stick built, but there is a steep learnig curve and years of expeience needed for this type of roof framing.The benefits of stick built rafters are usualy more attic space and appearence,trusses are usually 24" on center ,where stick built is 16" on center so you don't get that wavey look when you look up at roof.

The framing is done, you can now move on to your other trades.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Union County Building Inspection Department

This post is in response to an article in the Union County Weekly, based in Monroe,N.C. titled Questions surround county inspection department. The Union County building inspection department is a great asset for home owners of Union County, the men and women who work there have been over worked and under appreciated for as long as I can remember. These men and women were asked to do the impossible a few years back when construction was booming, I know personally they were expected to perform as many as 35-40 inspections per day, in an eight hour day including driving time. This is an almost impossible task considering the complexity and size of the custom homes being built in the Weddington, Marvin, and Waxhaw communities, as well as all of Union County. Then you add all the new homes being constructed by the production builders, there is just no way possible to catch every little detail. This is where your builder let you down not the inspection department.

At this point I would also like to point out to home owners that it is not the responsibility of the inspection department to make sure your home is being constructed properly, but that of the building contractor. I would like you to ask yourself and your building contractor when you called for an inspection , did either one of you take the time or the responsibility to meet the inspector while they were performing your inspection. The inspector will always take the time to discuss what he/she sees whether it be code or not and make suggestions as to how to correct any mistakes . These are the types of building inspectors I know from Union County. I would also state that I worked with every building inspector in Union County, including the one mentioned in the above referenced article and never did I see him not take his responsibility for insuring the home owner get a structurally sound product.

This post could be referred back to an earlier post about choosing the right contractor. I will place the blame directly where I think it belongs, the prospective home owner and the general contractors who got into the construction industry to make a fast buck. The process of building a new home is complex with all types of variables, each of these variables can increase the cost of constructing a new home, be it the structural cost of using engineered lumber to the weather, these cost sometimes just can’t be calculated, but there must be some mechanism to pass them along to the home owner. I would offer there are a lot of excellent general contractors in Union County, but there are just about as many unqualified and inexperienced ones .

The general contractor has an obligation to the home owner to meet with the qualified sub-contractors on a daily basis to make sure that all applicable codes are being followed and that your new home meets these requirements. I will tell you that in most instances your sub-contractors , i.e. masons, framers , interior trim, and other miscellaneous subs know more about what is going on with your new home than your contractor. The sub-contractors should always be qualified and this means a company or person that has been providing this type of service for years, for example it takes a framer years to learn how to perform his task, and all of your qualified framers will know code as related to structure and will more than likely go above code to insure there will not be any issues.

I am not a general contractor, but a framer in this region and have framed in N.C., S.C., and not once have I ever had a building inspector not taken their job seriously. They have always taken the time to meet with myself whenever doing an inspection and made it a point to discuss any issues or problems and offered their advice as how to correct them. The building inspection department provides a valuable service to their communities and should be appreciated not condemned and insulted because you chose the wrong general contractor and or unqualified sub-contractors. It is time to take responsibility for your own action , not choosing for quality but for price always has a consequence.

I sympathize with your situation but don’t persecute the people who are trying to make sure your new home is a safe product, they are human and make mistakes too.