If you’re not in the construction you probably aren’t familiar with many of the terms for materials and components used to build a new building or home. You may not be familiar with some of the different people who specialize in trades necessary to successfully start and complete a construction project, but there are many. Foundation workers, plumbers, electricians, roofers all participate in the process of building a new house, but the shell contractor, or “framers” are at the heart of most of the structural erection. Many new construction defects occur due to errors in the framing of a new structure and they often go undetected by inspectors. When problems are detected down the road, the errors have often been covered over by drywall, flooring, moisture barriers or veneers.
When framing mistakes are covered up, it can be a tedious and expensive process to locate the problem and then trace it back to the source.
Some common framing errors are:
- Improperly Spaced Floor Joists: This is more common than you might think and people may not notice it right away. In time, there is sagging between the joists and there is great expense to fix the problem.
- Improper Notching or Hole Placement: A worker may cut a hole or notch in a beam, realize it’s in the wrong place, and let it go. Later the beam loses some of its load bearing capacity and there can be a failure to support connecting members. This can be catastrophic.
- Inconsistent Gluing: This may sound trivial, but it’s not. A framer finds there isn’t enough glue to finish a job and so they rush to meet a deadline and use less glue than called for. Somewhere down the road, creeks and squeaks reveal the error.
- Beams Installed Upside Down: Engineered building components like many beams are designed to be placed in a certain direction and are usually stamped “top” on the top. Often, they are installed the wrong way and this can have deleterious consequences.
- Improper Water Management: If water does not drain as per design, the results can be horrific. Water intrusion is the number one cause of slow but significant damage to new construction. By the time it is discovered, often tens of thousands of dollars damage is done.
When a framing contractor makes errors that are covered up, but the symptoms are there, it takes a qualified expert to determine what happened and who is responsible. Original plans must be located and the problem has to exposed for a proper analysis.
Justin Hall, P.E. has been doing this kind of work for years, and has developed a reputation for accuracy and speed. Currently recognized as an expert witness, Mr. Hall is eminently qualified to deliver comprehensive reports on construction errors related to improper framing and when necessary deliver expert witness testimony in a court of law. Justin Hall, P.E. can be reached at 501-240-9213.