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By Jeff in Hartland, WI on 4/15/2010
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:
to include estimates for all labor, nails, and screws involved in framing the
building. Framing materials will be supplied by owner.
shall perform all preparation, framing, and cleanup work to frame the building
as specified in attached drawings.
activities shall not begin until foundation has been surveyed, inspected, and
framing lumber to be crowned. All wall studs shall have crown pointing in the
walls and joists to be framed as specified in the blueprints.
lumber in contact with concrete must be pressure treated.
sill-sealing gasket shall be installed above the foundation and below the sill
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.
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).
7/8” engineered wood I-joists shall be installed as subfloor framing as
directed by the attached floor framing plan.
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.
blocks and subfloor framing details shall be installed per the attached
engineered floor plan.
joists shall not interfere with tub, sink, and shower drains placed as
indicated on attached drawings.
walls shall be framed with 2x4 studs 16” on center.
exterior walls shall be framed with 2x6 studs 16” on center.
wall framing shall include a single sole plate and double header plates.
walls shall be sheathed with ½” OSB nailed with 8d galvanized nails every 12”
shall be framed with two studs. Drywall will be supported by drywall clips or a
for openings shall be installed as span and load dictate.
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.
exterior doors and windows as specified in attached plan and schedule. Rough
door and window openings shall be flashed.
interior walls shall be framed with 2x4 studs 16” on center.
interior walls shall be framed with 2x6 studs 16” on center.
for openings shall be installed as span and load dictate.
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.
Siding, Doors, Windows, Trim and Cornice
is to provide labor and materials for exterior siding, trim, and cornice as
specified on attached drawings.
and doors shall be installed as specified on attached drawings. Drawings use
Pella Window units. Contractor may specify equivalent flashed wood windows from
shall be James Hardie HardiePlank and HardiShingle straight-edge notched panel,
pre-stained in a Maple color as specified on attached drawings.
soffit, fascia, frieze, and trim materials shall be installed as specified in
galvanized finish nails shall be used exclusively.
shall be driven flush on siding, countersunk on trim.
panel laps shall be parallel, joints shall be staggered between courses.
edges shall be terminated within 1/8” and caulked.
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.