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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As mentioned in some other posts, we recently started a custom home for a very particular builder. He started out as a framer years ago and actually worked for the company that we mainly rivaled. Just not at that time though. Soon after though he set out to build for some architect buddy of his and positioned himself in that niche of catering to high end architects. Some where in there he began his own design build firm. He has been in business for twenty years now and has figured out a system that works well for him. Lately he has gotten so busy that he needs help. Enter us

Why did i include his history? Because although some of his methods are unorthodox, from what i have seen so far, he builds some of the best, smartest homes around. Pick up any builders magazine and you will find countless articles on building science and energy efficiency and the list goes on. The reality though, at least around here for the most part, is that the general market for new home construction does not possess the budget necessary to build to the latest and highest standard. If they do have adequate funding, they aren't educated on whats important but rather sold on some fancy over priced gadget with a huge mark up so the builder achieves maximum profit. This is where he differs. He educates his clients and often enters into an almost courtship like relationship with them for sometimes a few years before making final arrangements. Most importantly, he retains his integrity to the process and follows through on the construction.

So here are some of the framing details that i have picked up on so far. Most are subtle, but still a big difference for a rough bunch of framers that are used to doing it pretty much the same way no matter what builder it is.

First off, when framing bearing walls in the basement, we set the walls with a treated plate on top of "soap" blocks so as to avoid burying three sets of treated plates in the concrete. We just snap lines, glue the blocks down, and then set the walls on top. Then run a few 10" titen bolts down through to the footing to hold everything secure. Along with the bolts in the basement bearing walls, we hammer drill our own anchor bolt through the mud sill after joist are rolled. There are no anchors poured into the foundation directly. We go every 4' and one on each side of the seams.

When it come to sheathing walls, we run the sheets horizontally as opposed to vertically which is industry standard around here. ( i know many of you do it this way but not around here). Also on the joints going up the house, we leave a gap in the sheathing for compression. Just slide your carpenters pencil in and thats the gap. This is done at all vertical transitions. Rim sheathing to foundation, wall to rim and so on. I found this interesting because normally we lap our sheathing down to tie into the floor system for uplift and shear prevention. The houses he builds usually contain heavy loading on the exterior to the point that he is more worried about the sheathing buckling and windows jacking up. This is one of the things he has discovered throughout the years of servicing his own homes. To address the uplift issue we are using Simpson coil stock strapping at every eight feet to tie every thing together.

I also mentioned in earlier posts that we will be letting in 2x4 shear blocking in the exterior walls and interior walls to prevent bowed studs.

Another interesting aspect to this build is there is an integrated whirlpool in the building. The entire shell around it is built out of pressure treated materials. More on that later.
Enough is enough, here is what we have so far

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Should be a fun one.
I got a little chuckle out of your little blurb on the builder. Reminds me of a story of my own.
We deal with a particular architect who is.. lets just say a religious reader of fine homebuilding. I go through the plans and i am able to pick out details from the latest articles. The thing that gets me is that, with alot of areas in the house, there is so much detail.. that it is not only a waste of time and money, but in certain cases may be almost detrimental to the building. An example of this is.. basement slab on grade in Toronto here, no radon concerns.. Gravel, landscape fabric (for water and radon :rolleyes: WTF)... 2 layers of eps foam taped plus a 6 mil vapor barrier.

Makes no difference to me, i still build it, but its always funny to see what he has brewing.
I appreciate his quest for building excellence, i too am all about doing things the best way, and using new and improved products.. But for **** sakes before you go out wasting the clients money do your homework a bit more. Just because its "green" doesn't mean its the best for your particular situation.
Oh yea, Kyle, seeing how you do things safely, has actually influenced me to be safer and exercise safety stuff.. it can be done and you are an example of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Stood the garage and a few house walls. It definitely is slow going integrating some of the changes to our system, but we're getting there. Builder showed up today just before i stood the big garage wall and added a change. He said anytime they use a vented soffit material, they screen the whole frame to prevent bugs from getting in. Not a big deal but just adds more time. On the plus side, he said he would get a crane and handle the hot tub install for us. Not that it would be a huge deal but anytime i can push tens of thousands of dollars of responsibility on the builder, i will. The thing that pissed me off was that I had notching studs and screen behind soffit and hot tubs and cranes and everything else in my head, i cut a set of garage plates 5 1/2" short. Of course i didnt realize it until all the walls are up! Oh well, tomorrow is a new day. Last day for this week too. We have to help another crew on thurs and fri so hopefully when we come back on monday, The floor for the hot tub will be poured


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We also started framing for a similar GC. He's got a lot of things that he does differently, that were a pain to integrate at first, but now has actually helped bring more efficiency and quality to our crew. One thing I'm psyched about is that they use timber strand studs. That means no culling lumber, and buttery delicious straight walls. All walls, bearing and non-bearing get blocking at 5' AFF so that rough in trades can just hook the block to mark their box / pipe elevations. Doesn't really take us any more time because the supers mark the 5' AFF elevations before and after drywall.

One thing I noticed on your subfloor is that it appears that your joints are only staggered one truss bay. We have to stagger 2 bays minimum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
JesseCocozza said:
We also started framing for a similar GC. He's got a lot of things that he does differently, that were a pain to integrate at first, but now has actually helped bring more efficiency and quality to our crew. One thing I'm psyched about is that they use timber strand studs. That means no culling lumber, and buttery delicious straight walls. All walls, bearing and non-bearing get blocking at 5' AFF so that rough in trades can just hook the block to mark their box / pipe elevations. Doesn't really take us any more time because the supers mark the 5' AFF elevations before and after drywall.

One thing I noticed on your subfloor is that it appears that your joints are only staggered one truss bay. We have to stagger 2 bays minimum.
Do you use timber strands on exteriors too? A few builders around here use them on interiors, but i haven't seen any exteriors.

Normally we try to stagger the sheets more, but the joists that we shifted for plumbing made that a little difficult.
 

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Not really. It's hurricane / flood zone country here, so most everything is CMU.

I just wanted to keep you humble with the sheathing comment. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh trust me, i've been humbled. Not only did we just start this house that is out of the ordinary, but my boss has started making me in charge of other crews as well. That is a whole new set of headaches there
 

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Oh trust me, i've been humbled. Not only did we just start this house that is out of the ordinary, but my boss has started making me in charge of other crews as well. That is a whole new set of headaches there
Welcome to where the real rubber hits the asphalt and goes forward or the cow pies and not so much so:laughing:
 

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SAcarpenter said:
Oh trust me, i've been humbled. Not only did we just start this house that is out of the ordinary, but my boss has started making me in charge of other crews as well. That is a whole new set of headaches there
Yep. I like to do that right about the time that my guys start thinking that I just sit back and stack cash all day. It's a real eye opening experience for them when they realize how much is done just to make sure they have a place to work and materials / tools to work with. You're getting paid to learn right now. Take advantage of it. There will be plenty of time to learn lessons the hard day on your own dime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I am very appreciative of every opportunity i get and have always been a loyal employee. Management was never a goal or part of my plan, i struggle to convince myself the decisions i make are the right ones all the time. All i ever wanted to be was a highly skilled carpenter. That being said, i have approached all the challenges over the years with 100% enthusiasm and thats what has gotten me where i am. I'm just not sure i like all the BS that comes with it. I guess thats called life. Sometimes it seams as though the boss makes it harder than it needs to be
 

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SAcarpenter said:
I am very appreciative of every opportunity i get and have always been a loyal employee. Management was never a goal or part of my plan, i struggle to convince myself the decisions i make are the right ones all the time. All i ever wanted to be was a highly skilled carpenter. That being said, i have approached all the challenges over the years with 100% enthusiasm and thats what has gotten me where i am. I'm just not sure i like all the BS that comes with it. I guess thats called life. Sometimes it seams as though the boss makes it harder than it needs to be
I wasn't trying to be a negative nancy. I saw this quote the other day and it reminded me of what it's like to be a self employed carpenter. image-2303880623.jpg There's a limit to what you can do working for someone else. Confidence usually comes when you put your neck out and succeed. Best of luck in your situation!
 

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I wasn't trying to be a negative nancy. I saw this quote the other day and it reminded me of what it's like to be a self employed carpenter. There's a limit to what you can do working for someone else. Confidence usually comes when you put your neck out and succeed. Best of luck in your situation!
Very true quote
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We got back to it today after a few days off site. The slab for the hot tub was poured and we started framing that floor along with a few more walls.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Warren said:
Why are the headers pushed up on the exterior walls?
We push the garage headers up in case the slab height changes or something. The house walls are set at 81 7/8" shoulder height. The garages are just more likely to change ( bigger door or floor drain) thats all
 

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SAcarpenter said:
We push the garage headers up in case the slab height changes or something. The house walls are set at 81 7/8" shoulder height. The garages are just more likely to change ( bigger door or floor drain) thats all
I prefer to push headers up for solid tie down area. If the cripples above the headers are less than 24", they usually split when you have to add SP1's and SP2's to them.
 
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