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Construction Drawings with no Framing Plan


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By Wesley in Dallas, GA on 12/15/2006


I just received my home construction drawings for Garrell Assoc. and there is no framing plan.  I called them and they said they do not provide framing plans. 

Do I really need framing plans or can a good framer use local techinues that meet code.  This really bothers me.  Maybe it's because I do not have any framing experience. 

Has anyone built without a framing plan and did it work out okay?  Has anyone used Garrell Assoc?


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By Jason in Dickson, TN on 12/16/2006


I don't think you need a framing plan.  A good framing crew will know what to do according to local codes.  My framer said he could build a house based on a drawing on a paper napkin.  I didn't do that myself.   Make copies of the plan and write in the changes you want or add some of the details that you think will be needed.   If the plans you've got have enough wall to wall measurements and wall length measurements you shouldn't have a problem.   My framer worked out how he would frame it with the engineer/take off guys where I got my lumber package.  Only a few differences of opinion but it worked out.

 

Jason


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By Yvonne in Helena, AL on 12/26/2006


Our framers did not have a framing plan.  We didn't have them sit down in the beginning with our lumber supplier - that was a great idea that we didn't think about!  A couple issues but the lumber company delivered what the framers needed pretty quickly.  We'll see how well they did when we have the rough inspection!
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 12/27/2006


Now here is a perfect example of the difference between "real" builders and O-Bs.  A "real" builder will be able to inspect the work as completed by his or her framing crew and know the quality of the services he or she received.  An O-B typically has no clue about framing requirements, minimum code requirements, span tables, how much deflection is allowed on floors and what size joists to use, when to upsize the joist to reduce this deflection, critical cnnections, etc.

As an O-B, you are responsible for inspecting the work of your subcontractors and accepting this work prior to making your payments per your agreed upon schedule.  Yet if you don't know the requirements, or what you really need, how are you going to realistically accomplish your responsibility?

I wanted enough detail on my plans so that all subcontractors for a certain trade were bidding the same project (give a set of plans without framing plan to 10 framers, you will get ten different opinions on the best way to frame it, ten different proposals, and you as the O-B are left to compare apples to oranges), and also enough so that I could determine whether the trades met the requirements that I was paying for.  I wanted enough detail on the plan so that no trade would be required to open a code book if they followed the plan (how many trades actually carry a code book in their trucks - I found the number to be surprisingly low).  This had the double benefit of allowing me to inspect the work without a code book as well so that I could ensure I was getting the scope I was paying for.

I know a thing or two about how buildings go together, and even with this information I required all of this to be on the plans.  Do not rely on your code inspector to do this for you.


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By Tom in Stroudsburg, PA on 12/30/2006


Wesley, Your state has adopted the international residential code state wide, as such most of the stuff Kenneth mentioned will be required to even file your prints for a building permit (at least their supposed to). You can buy a copy of the code from http://www.iccsafe.org/ it can be a little overwhelming especially if your a coastal resident (hurricane force winds) or if your in a seismic area. While your prints won't have a line sketch of how each wall will be framed it must contain certain structural data to be usable.
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By Paula in Fredericksburg, VA on 1/3/2007


Kenneth,

As an inexperienced O-B, I really appreciate your point and perspective. IMO, my plans didn't have anywhere near the detail that I thought it should, framing, mechanicals, etc.  However, everyone I spoke with told me that it wasn't needed.  I definitely intend to have more detail on future plans but the three designers I spoke with don't provide this detail.  I will keep looking but I am curious.  Did you use a plan designer or did you need to go to an architect for this type of detail? 

Paula


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 1/4/2007


I ended up with an architect, although I considered both designers and architects.  I was up front about my expectations (ie. being able to build the house without a plan book in front of you) and found many designers and architects not willing to take the job.  One even told me, "I just draw the plans, how you build it is your business."  Although he was highly recommended, I immediately eliminated this architect from consideration.

You need to balance how much detail is on your plans with how scared you want subcontractors to be when they see them as compared to other plans they are used to looking at - they don't like to think an engineer is checking their work.  For example, I had an engineering HVAC analysis done yet I didn't include that on the plans instead giving my HVAC subcontractors bidding the job some flexibility in designing their system.  The electrical portion of my plan was similarly vague, but again I already knew who I was using for my electrician and actually gave him a pretty good lighting plan with no other electrical details (which I didn't have my architect draw up, I just took a set of plans and figured a lighting plan based on this, so it was basically all pen-and-ink).  Plumbing was wide open, other than locations for underground drains, typical of my area.  However anything structural I wanted on the plan, mostly because I was initially planning to do my own rough work and I wanted a good set of blueprints for me, but the value was incredible when I was screening subcontractors as well.


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By Cris in Austin, TX on 1/5/2007


We were faced with the same dilema with our first set o' plans.  I was a framer in high school, so I could pick out some stuff, but not enough to make an intelligent call. 

My plan is to have the structural engineers create a framing plan along with the foundation engineering.  Then, I am hiring an outside firm to "inspect" and approve any work done. 

You could do this with your own framing crew and minimize the risks involved.

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 1/8/2007


here is my 2 cents having been on multiple sides of this question.

Without an approved framing plan you can't
1) get consistent bids
2) know it is within code
3) get accurate take-offs

A framing plan should be included in your construction documents. Your construction documents can and should be part of any contract you sign with a framer. Because if it isn't on paper when they do their bid, guess what? they will be slapping you with a change order for every stud. rafter, header, strap, clip, hanger and nail they don't feel like paying for "....because its not part of the plans!..."

If you don't have a framing plan and they underbid the job, where do think they will take shortcuts to save themselves? Out of profit, labor or materials?

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By Jason in Dickson, TN on 1/8/2007


I'll amend my answer to say that I didn't need a framing plan.  the regular plan that came with my set was good enough for my situation.  I am building a large house but not necessarily complicated.  Maybe my situation is unique but everything has gone smoothly for me without all the fine detail.  We made some changes on the fly.  nothing major (wall lengths, door placement, window placement)  No matter how much I  looked at my plans until I was standing in the middle of the framing there are just some things I could not  imagine how it was going to work out.  As long as changes were made prior to work being done it was no big deal.  This is one of the reasons we decided against panelized and modular construction.  I knew I had to see it to know if it would work.

 

jason


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