As you know, we are now in the process of finishing the building plans, the site plan, and applying for the building permit. Many of our owners find the initial process of getting their home started rather exhausting. Finding a lot, picking a builder, as well as hashing out all the plans, contracts and specifications can be a daunting task. That’s all over now, and you should take a well-deserved breather and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
It is time to be thinking about the upcoming, final selection process. The folks that have found the custom home process a delightful experience are the ones that started their selection tasks early and enthusiastically. Please don’t get lulled to sleep now that the contract and plans are finished, because there is much to be done. Look at it as a shopping spree for really neat stuff that you’ve essentially already paid for through your construction contract.
- It’s now a good time to pull out your Master Construction Schedule from your contract, and become familiar with its format. We will not fill in the specific dates until the permit is applied for in the County, but it’s not too difficult to get some approximate dates of when the first selections might be due. From the time we submit the building permit to the County, it will be about 4 weeks to the issuance of the actual permit. The permit issuance, to the completion of the first deck, is about 3 to 4 weeks. With this rough time frame in mind, you can see that approximately 1 month from the day the building permit is issued, your first group of selections will be due in our office, signed off in full. The second group of selections comes about 2-3 weeks later. You can refer to your Master selection schedule for those items, but the biggest projects will be the layouts for all the cabinets.
THE FRAMING STAGE
A home goes through a smooth evolution from the clearing stage to move-in, but there are actually 6 relatively distinct stages that we will address in this web site as your home progresses. The stages are:
- Land Development
- Mechanical/Close-In (heating & air conditioning, plumbing, electrical wiring, insulation, drywall)
- Pre-Finishing (trim, cabinets, tops, first paint)
- Finishing (“The Shiny Stuff” – including electrical fixtures, plumbing fixtures, carpet, finishing hardwood, landscaping)
- Final (tweaking everything that’s undone, walk-throughs with owner, champagne, high-fives for all!!)
Framing is the second stage and is probably the least understood by the owners after land development. This is, however, one of the most critically important stages to the eventual quality and durability of your home. The framing is like the skeleton of a person. It needs to be straight, true and strong or all the other “stuff” added on top of it will never be quite right. A wise man once told me, “Everything hangs off the carpenter’s work. So, hire the best, watch them closely and give them plenty of good-quality lumber to work with.” This is the stage where you will see how the 2-dimensional plans take a 3 dimensional shape. “Wow!” is the operative word at this exciting phase of residential construction.
- We probably have discussed Foley Construction’s policy of “CODE PLUS” building, which means we exceed the building codes where we feel they are inadequate to deliver a high-quality home to our customers. Framing is where we really exceed the code minimums, so that the home will not only not fall down (“to code”) but will be tight and strong.
- Our (your) floor trusses are designed so that the floors will not bounce. Some of our floors exceed code by close to 100%. We use ¾” plywood on the floors and not ½” plywood, so that the floors don’t sag. We also use a rubber cushion strip on top of the floor-trusses, before the plywood goes on (aqua in color); we then screw the plywood to the trusses. By doing this, we create a sound break between the floors, so that we minimize the squeaks or sound transmission from one area to the next. By eliminating nails in the floor, we eliminate the major cause of squeaks – which is nails working loose over the years.
- We use 7/16” plywood or OSB (Omni Strand Board), while most builders in our area have gone to the new “energy brace” product that is, for all intents and purposes, cardboard with an aluminum face. This is hard to believe, but go by any major construction site in our area and you will see this product as the exterior skin of homes even in the ¾ million-plus range.
- You might also notice that we double-brace all of our walls during construction so that things stay straight and true during all the banging and sawing. We only remove them when the framing for the entire home is tied together. These braces are all over the 1st floor of the home, and make it difficult to get around until they are removed.
- During this stage, we will be pushing hard to get the roof on as quickly as possible so we can get the home “dried in”. Once the plywood is on the roof, we will “paper in” the home with tarpaper. This helps protect all the wood underneath and gives the guys a place to work during inclement weather. We then go back and complete the loose ends in the framing. Then the mechanical trades get started.
Selections Due at Framing:
- The next set of selections are due before the carpenters finish the plywood on the roof. These selections are reasonably numerous, and it’s very important that we have them on time so we can keep everything on schedule. Several years ago, we discovered that a customer of ours tried to give the carpenters $20.00 on Friday to not put the last sheet of plywood on the roof until Monday morning because he hadn’t finished his selections – no fair! Please focus on the due dates and let Lyn know how we can help you to wrap up your selections and get the paperwork in on time.