Any carpenters / home builders here?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Shawn C, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    We have been watching the progress of our house being built and we are finding some "problems" with the framing that has been done this past week. I don't know if most of these are actually structural problems, but the quality and care of construction seem to be lacking to my eyes.

    Are these really problems or am I being too picky?

    Here is a link to the entire gallery:

    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/gallery/268425

    I will outline the major things directly below.

    1. Wood beam that spans front of garage is too short and only rest on one 2x4. This seems to be the biggest problem that I saw.

    Here is where you can see that it is too short:
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609934-M.jpg

    Here is where you can see that the 2x4's supporting the beam were cut too short:
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609935-M.jpg

    2. Beam that spans across the back of the garage. Again, 2x4's cut too short and shims are used to make up the gap. Is this a generally accepted practice? Shouldn't the support been cut closer to the right length?
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609937-M.jpg
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609938-M.jpg

    3. Notches cut into studs in order to accomodate temporary bracing. Is this a generally accepted practice? Are these diagonals temporary or structural?

    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609939-M.jpg
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609940-M.jpg

    4. Wall is storage area, behind stairs, in basement changes from 2x6 studs to 2x4 studs for not apparent reason. Is it because 2x6s will not anymore because the realtionship between the concrete and the framing is not consistent?

    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609942-M.jpg
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609943-M.jpg

    5. Badly split 2x4 used in framing. One of the same 2x4s mentioned above is split badly, but was still used??
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609944-M.jpg
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609945-M.jpg
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609946-M.jpg

    6. Pressure on nail gun too high? Almost everywhere in the framing, almost every toenail the wood has been split by the use of a nailgun. There are also areas where nail have been driven too far into some wood and it has caused cracking. Is this going to cause problems in the future? Here is an example
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609947-M.jpg

    7. Forklift mars in some wood. Do these kind of defects in the wood cause problems with moisture over time? It looks like someone was careless with a forklift

    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609948-M.jpg

    8. Compromised 2x4 in the stairwell wall leading to the basement. Why would anyone damage a 2x4 like this and just leave it? It appears a large chunk was taken out of the 2x4 when someone attempted to nail the stair stringer to the 2x4. Is this stringer adequately supported now??
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609949-M.jpg
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609950-M.jpg
    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10609951-M.jpg
     
  2. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I don't have an expert's opinion, but personally, I didn't like some of those shots. I think that some of them are in the 'this doesn't matter' category, but the rest bother me.

    Can you get in touch with a building inspector? (The guys that check used houses over to make sure that your 'used' purchase isn't going to collape soon). I think it will run $200. but the piece of mind would be worth it, and if they are doing anything wrong, the general contractor should know about it.

    If this is a new subdivision, have you looked at others?

    Glenn
     
  3. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    Yeah, I know that some of this stuff is just lame and the framers are just lazy and don't care what things look like. Some of this stuff would probably never be a problem after any length of time. It just irks me when you spend a great deal of money on a house and this is the kind of carelessness you get.

    I sent these pictures to my builder tonight. To be somewhat fair, this hasn't gone through any kind of inspection yet. This was all done in the past 2-3 days. It just irks me that someone would do work like this.
     
  4. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Shawn,

    You have good reason to be concerned. The pictures you have provided, indicate some horrible framing mistakes. The pictures that you provided to the builder should allow him/her to know what's going on when they are not at the site.

    Given the fact that most sub-contractors are now pretty specialized - and stick to one task only, one would think that they would implement better standards to their work. Putting 2 or 3 nails in a stud that is knowingly bad is just horrible judgement.

    Hopefully, your builder is cooperative in getting these issues resolved. If not, hopefully, the building inspector catches the issues and does not approve of the construction techniques.
     
  5. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    Cool. Thanks. This builder has a good reputation in the area from what we have heard. I hope that they are helpful on Monday.
     
  6. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    First I havn't seen a lot of framers use the toe nail technique often. Usaully I see the wall being made then stood up. That would mean the nails coming at a 90 degree angle through the bottom up into the stud. Lots of splits weaken stucture and it looks like pressure treated was used in places, a definate no no. I'm not a builder but rough in a lot of houses with cable, phones and HT and Alarms. I would be concerned with some of the lumber and would ask what grade it is and where it came from as most of it looks like seconds. Knots in wood weaken the stud too. If you need help Let me know and I'll email the pics off to one of my builder contacts.
     
  7. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    The pressure-treated lumber was used for the sole plate, which is required by code where I live.

    As said earlier, some of these things fall in the "doesn't matter" catagory. My biggest concerns are the beams and their supports. A building inspector should really take a look at those.
     
  8. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I wouldn't accept that myself, that's simply sloppy workmanship. The ones I'd be most concerned with are the headers in the door openings, these have little/no structural support. That one beam that looks short isn't, the last 2x4 should have gone up beside it.

    I would complain loudly about some of this. The shattered lumber may or may not be an issue, depending on how deep the splinters are, and whether they are in a load bearing location or not.

    Yes, he should, but be aware that some inspectors are as sloppy about their inspections as your framers were. You are paying for it, demand it is done properly.

    If a guy can't use a tape measure, he shouldn't be in construction.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    Shawn,

    I'm an architect. Let me tell you, if I was doing an inspection, AKA a Field Report, there is no way I would accept most of what you've shown in the photos. It's absolutely shoddy work.

    While some of the chipped wood is acceptable, the header consruction is not, period. Typically, a header above a door will have one full height stud (king stud) running from the sill to the top plate and another stud (trimmer) that the header actually bears on. In that first photo the king stud is cut short and not acceptable.

    Do two things, try to get a professional to come in and review the framing before the contractor starts covering up the walls. Be aware that you must not hold up the contractor or he'll try to charge you for it. Second, talk with the contractor and express your concerns. If you feel it won't anger him, let him know that you are hiring someone to come in and inspect the framing he's done so far. It may put him on notice to start doing a better job.

    If you have a specification, that should layout all the necessary information for type of wood to be used, execution of work, etc, etc. If you don't have a spec, well, you may have an uphill battle. Contracts, specifications, and drawings are the most important things you hold over the contractor. If the spec says he must use a certain grade of wood and he doesn't, he's breaking the contract he agreed to and you can force him, at his expense, to rip out the bad wood and install what the spec called for.

    Good luck.
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    Call your city/county inspection office and talk to an inspector, see if you can meet him on-site before they cover up the framing. Usually they're mildly helpful [​IMG]
     
  11. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the information guys! It is really appreciated. Just to clarify, that header in the first two pictures runs across the front of the house, right where the garage is. The house is a "tuck-under" style . The garage is on the bottom, with two more stories above. All of these pictures are from the garage / foundation.

    Here is a shot of the span of that beam. You can make out the two seperate garage door openings by foundation. You can see the divider in the middle.

    http://runespyder.smugmug.com/photos/10683656-M.jpg

    It's not a single door, like I think some of you are thinking. This would more than likely be where you would attach the front track of a garage door opener, just as a reference.

    I expect to hear from the builder tomorrow. I talked to the the sales guy / realtor this morning on site and he even raised an eyebrow at some of the pictures, but he is going to tow the company line. It's really not his responsibility.


    Speaking of sole plates, is it customary to use 2x6 studs on a 2x4 sole plate? In those pics where the wall changes from 2x6 to 2x4, a 2x4 sole plate was used. So, of course the 2x6's hang over the plate towards the inside of the wall.

    There is also a large glu-lam beam that runs the width of the basement that is supported in the middle by a large post. It also has shims between the beam and the post. Is this cool?
     
  12. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I think in that last case the shims are ok, but there should be shims on both sides, to keep the pressure equal.

    I don't know about your realtor, though. If you bailed on buying this and it was sold to someone else, and later fell apart - from one of your photos, don't you think that the realtor would be partially responsible for this, especially now that he/she knows about it?

    Glenn
     
  13. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    I do commercial work but I would be surprised if much of that would actually pass the city or county framing inspection so it will probably be caught by the builder once he actually inspects the subcontractors work, but before the actual inspection is called in. Failing an inspection can cost money and lead to delays and make the inspector want to scrutinze every detail of the house for the rest of the job. The builder does not want to fail.

    I would wait until the builder gets back to you but if they don't want to fix this stuff, call the inspections department for your area and talk to the inspector for your house. They can usually look it up by address. To actually get the inspector, you will probably need to call between 7:30-8:30 or after 3:30 or 4:00 (the person at the main desk who answers the phone can tell you). They are out in the field during the day doing the inspections. You might even be able to get his email address and send the pictures ahead of time.
     
  14. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    Thanks. I'm going to play it cool for a couple of days and wait to see what their next move is. I need to give them a chance to address the obvious stuff.



    I will check on it during the week as I have time. Hopefully, they will see these problems before the need for an inspection and fix them proactively.
     
  15. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    If that front header is a bearing wall, you are in for real trouble if it isn't fixed.



    As from 2x6 studs on a 2x4 plate, that is just wrong as well. If there are this many major issues this early on, I would seriously consider walking away from the deal. These guys look like complete amateurs. If you decide to carry on, you had better be prepared to watch every step like a hawk.
     
  16. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Jeff, a great point. But what scares me now is those are the errors he saw. How many more are there that he doesn't recognize? Dozens? Hundreds?



    Glenn
     
  17. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    The builder is a huge builder here in the Seattle area. I visited some of the other houses in the neighborhood that are being built by them and they don't have nearly the same problems that mine seems to already have.



    It looks like they have a jerk-off framer that is doing my house. The realtor said that they lost a framer a couple weeks ago. Maybe these guys are their replacements?



    I received a response from the builder today. My main contact is getting with the construction department today and I am supposed to know something no later than tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon. She said "Thanks for the pictures...it certainly helps in explaining your concerns.."
     
  18. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    keep us updated[​IMG]
     
  19. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    I'm getting some renovations done by a large builder in the Portland area. I am having similar problems (the day-to-day workers on the site have zero skills). Even with good builders you will need to stay on top of every phase of the construction. The framers are clearly trying to sneak by since they screwed up the main beam length (it's an expensive mistake). This will not pass inspection so you might as well have them fix the problem now (and make sure you're not charged for the mistake).
     
  20. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    My wife got a response back today on *some* of my issues. Apparently, the biggest problem that I had with the header being cut too short at the front of the house isn't a problem. That was done to accomodate room for a "tension strap / rod" to be inserted into the gap.


    And I can't believe this. They used the excuse "not a load bearing wall, so it's not a big deal" for the badly split 2x4 they used in one of the walls. So that's now an excuse for doing shitty work?



    I also got the line "well, to be fair, the framing isn't done yet".


    Now
    I gotta go out and document every little thing that I find wrong every week. I will then compile the list and make them do a walk-through with me instead of just the usual pre-delivery walk-through.
     

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