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Framing schedule

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Roger's Forum Posts: 3

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By Roger in San Francisco, CA on 4/15/2010

Hello, first let me say thanks to all the posters here. I have gotten lots of useful information from this forum.

We have been in the planning stage for almost two years, and are now getting ready to pull permits. We are going to act as the GC, and we are going to sub out most of the work. We are building on a pretty steep slope, so we will have a drilled post and pier foundation. We are getting bids on the framing, and just wondered if we had included everything in our bid.

Snap plate and detail underpin as per plan
Framing underpin as per plan
Plumb and line underpin as per plan
Joist and block as required
Subfloor (including cover glue and adding sheets)
Frame, plumb and line thru the home as per plan
Exterior door and window installation
Exposed rafters/high ceilings/beam as per plan
Stack extras/high ceilings
Sheer and nail thru entire home
Pick up backing and blocking
Hardware as needed per plan
Strong wall/hardy framing
Remove and discard all job-related debris

Are we missing anything? Thanks again for all input.


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By Jeff in Hartland, WI on 4/15/2010

Hi Roger, 

Sounds like you're on your way. In this area, the framing crews were surprised to see specs. They normally just bid and build directly from plans. In the end, I believe the spec was overkill. The building is framed, and the inspector ensures that it meets code. Most of my specs were code or common practice anyway. Ask around a bit to find out common practice in your area in terms of what the framers do. I had them do rough framing, stairs, windows, siding, and exterior trim. But that was mainly because they didn't have much other work to occupy them at the time. 

Anyway, here are the specs I used for framing and windows: 

7. Framing

1.      Bid to include estimates for all labor, nails, and screws involved in framing the building. Framing materials will be supplied by owner.

2.      Contractor shall perform all preparation, framing, and cleanup work to frame the building as specified in attached drawings.

3.      Framing activities shall not begin until foundation has been surveyed, inspected, and approved.

4.      All framing lumber to be crowned. All wall studs shall have crown pointing in the same direction.

5.      All walls and joists to be framed as specified in the blueprints.

6.      All lumber in contact with concrete must be pressure treated.

7.1.      Subfloors

1.      A sill-sealing gasket shall be installed above the foundation and below the sill plate.

2.      A pressure-treated 2”x6” pine sill plate shall be installed, using 5/8” anchor bolts embedded in the foundation, at a maximum of 5’ on center, with at least two anchor bolts per wall segment. Sill plates shall be installed tight and level within ¼”, all bolts shall be tightened with nuts and washers.

3.      11 7/8” engineered wood shall be installed as the rim joist over the sill plate. Rim joist shall be wrapped in housewrap. Ends of that housewrap shall be left exposed for attachment with wall vapor barriers (TBD).

4.      11 7/8” engineered wood I-joists shall be installed as subfloor framing as directed by the attached floor framing plan.

5.      ¾” OSB shall be installed as the subfloor. Subfloor shall be glued with a continuous bead of construction adhesive to each joist, and screwed to joists every 8” on center. 

6.      Squash blocks and subfloor framing details shall be installed per the attached engineered floor plan.

7.      Floor joists shall not interfere with tub, sink, and shower drains placed as indicated on attached drawings.

7.2.      Exterior Walls

1.      Garage walls shall be framed with 2x4 studs 16” on center.

2.      Other exterior walls shall be framed with 2x6 studs 16” on center.

3.      Exterior wall framing shall include a single sole plate and double header plates.

4.      Exterior walls shall be sheathed with ½” OSB nailed with 8d galvanized nails every 12” on center.

5.      Corners shall be framed with two studs. Drywall will be supported by drywall clips or a sistered 2x6.

6.      Headers for openings shall be installed as span and load dictate.

7.      Install Tyvek housewrap. Vertical joints shall be lapped by 12”. Horizontal joints shall be lapped by at least 6”. All joints shall be taped. Wrap rough window and door openings with housewrap prior to installing doors and windows.

8.      Install exterior doors and windows as specified in attached plan and schedule. Rough door and window openings shall be flashed.

7.3.      Interior Walls

1.      4” interior walls shall be framed with 2x4 studs 16” on center.

2.      6” interior walls shall be framed with 2x6 studs 16” on center.

3.      Headers for openings shall be installed as span and load dictate.

7.4.      Roof

1.      Roof shall be framed with trusses as indicated on attached drawings. Trusses shall be installed 24” on center.

2.   Roof shall be sheathed with ½” OSB sheathing. 


13.       Siding, Doors, Windows, Trim and Cornice

1.      Bid is to provide labor and materials for exterior siding, trim, and cornice as specified on attached drawings.

2.      Windows and doors shall be installed as specified on attached drawings. Drawings use Pella Window units. Contractor may specify equivalent flashed wood windows from another manufacturer.

3.      Siding shall be James Hardie HardiePlank and HardiShingle straight-edge notched panel, pre-stained in a Maple color as specified on attached drawings.

4.      All soffit, fascia, frieze, and trim materials shall be installed as specified in attached drawings.

5.      Exterior galvanized finish nails shall be used exclusively.

6.      Nails shall be driven flush on siding, countersunk on trim.

7.      Shingle panel laps shall be parallel, joints shall be staggered between courses.

8.      Siding edges shall be terminated within 1/8” and caulked.

9.      All window, door, and other openings shall be flashed.

10.  All openings and trim shall be caulked.

11.  All soffit and fascia joints shall be trimmed smooth and fit tight.

12.  All fascia shall be straight and true.

13. Soffit vents shall be installed.


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 4/16/2010

Nice starting point, if I gave that to residential framing crews in my locale they would run and hide.

Right off the top, you identify that framing materials are supplied by owner. If you are supplying the materials, why do you need to spec them out? 1/2" OSB for the roof, 3/4" OSB for the floor, galvanized screws, etc. I found plywood cheaper than OSB for the floor, I substituted that, and since I was supplying materials...

I also feel bad telling them they need to work to code, that is almost assumed. And what if the contract is sub-code (something got transferred wrong), I need a change order to bring it up to code? I like to adopt the relevant code as a whole in the first line (All work not otherwise specified on the plans is in accordance with IRC Code...). You also give the code enforcer much more credit than I do.

Now that I have materials and code established, I like to focus on what makes my job different.

1) You have wall framing, you have roof trusses, I am very specific how the two come together as this is a common failure mode during high winds (standard toe-nailing techniques are very weak here). I like hurricane straps here. Since I provided them, the framers used them, and while they had never used them before (I ordered them from FL) they are pretty self-explanatory. My framers really liked these, my builder decided he would incorporate these into future projects and they are now available locally from at least one source.

2) Sill plate and anchors, you have some specifics here. I would suggest that rather than standard washers, that larger load plates are used. I have found another typical failure mechanism is that standard thin washers don't adequately spread the load, thus leading to failure. And what if the J-bolt doesn't quite line up - they drill a bigger hole in the sill plate to make it work. Are there any points you want better connections, perhaps something from Simpson or USP Structural Connectors? Granted, these get cast into your foundation.

3) Between bullet points 1 and 2, think "continuous load-path engineering" and how you might like this incorporated into your house? Hurricane areas, earthquake areas, these get them in the building codes (or they should - New Madrid fault areas have no such codes). The rest of us, not so much. However there is much here that is applicable everywhere, and your framers may not understand the connections. However with a bit of education, they can (this isn't extra work, which is why it is so disappointing that it isn't widely incorporated into residential construction).

4) OSB exterior sheathing, you provide some information here. However there is a proper way to install this to add considerable uplift resistance, and there is the method that gets commonly used (your spec allows for either technique). Research construction in hurricane states to understand the proper way and specify it. There is a minor change here, but it makes a significant difference on the wind (uplift) resistance of the house. FEMA and the state of Illinois collaborated on a Windstorm Mitigation Manual for light-frame construction following a tornado in Urbana; there is much good information here that is easily incorporated into residential construction. Unfortunately, it seems to be out of publication.

5) Do you want the wall studs and trusses aligned? Makes a nice detail, but you need to reduce spacing on your trusses. This is common with light-gauge steel construction, not so much with wood.

6) To get details I would include in specs, I would read over at the APA internet site (Formerly American Plywood Association, but now Engineered Wood Association, although still APA). They have free publications for both residential and commercial wood framing - much good stuff here. This covers your framing information.

7) I like to eliminate gray in my specs; either you meet them or you don't. Things should be straight and true? That's a spec?

Now then, you start putting all this into your specs, and you are going to really scare these framing subcontractors. I like to use this as a collaborative approach and discuss my expectations with them, sharing what I have learned from such reputable materials as the APA publications, continuous load-path engineering, the Windstorm Mitigation Manual, proper flashing techniques, James Hardie information (I built ICF, James Hardie specifies a bugle-head stainless screw, yada, yada, yada for attachment. I provided the screws, I provided the James Hardie information, I said you do it this way, and for your future reference I got the screws from XXX source), etc. I find that good subcontractors are always looking for an edge on their competition, and me taking the time to train them on proper techniques gave them an edge they have used after my job ended.

Now understand that my model isn't so much a straight business relationship, so I only invited subcontractors that weren't looking to hose me, as I provided them much opportunity to do so (OK I confess; I got in a hurry and invited one who tried to hose me; he lost). This technique doesn't work for production builders, spec builders, commercial construction, or anyone who is looking at strictly a business aspect to building a house. Also note that these wouldn't be low bidders in an open-bid process, but they are craftsmen who appreciate working for someone who understands quality. Your build isn't a government contract open to all bidders; you get to select whom you send the plans to, so only select good-quality subcontractors (preferably reference, but at a minimum if you are cold-calling or don't have a reference, check out examples of their work). When I selected professionals and treated them as professionals, I got professional work. When I short-circuited my selection criteria, I generally wished I had taken the time to do more research to only invite professionals.

I found that many of these subcontractors brought prospective clients to my house during construction (or incorporated my house into their internet site or business brochures) - that they exhibited that level of pride in their workmanship reinforced that I hired the right subcontractors.


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