Today, a new component home has started in the Charleston Landing, a Little River subdevelopment. Most homes in this area are built off a concrete slab so using a floor truss system hanging from flush LVL’s is a welcomed change from the norm. The LVL girder system sits on piers spaced 8′-0″ apart and the floor trusses interior bearings are cradled in hangers nailed into the girders. LVL’s are engineered, microwaved composite beams which can be empircally verified for the loads they assume. Often these beams are made from particles of low density lumber making them the right choice ecologically. In comparison to 2×12′s dimensional lumber, their counterpart in the girder marketplace, they are certainly straighter and maintain a uniformed height more effectively. This laminated veneered lumber is the workhorse of the component home. With the onset of increased awareness of seismic reactions relating to home construction, many structural engineers specify rimboard on the exterior walls. This practice assures proper vertical force load transference to the foundation. Tomorrow, the floor system will be sheathed with 3/4″ T+G plywood before the 1st floor walls can be set into place. Both the first and second floors were shipped together Monday to be followed by the second floor walls along with the upper and lower roof trusses arriving Wednesday. What develops from this tight knit scheduling is all materials are available before they are actually needed. The key is delivery JUST before they are needed, eliminating downtime waiting for materials to arrive. Scheduling delivery is cultimation of drawings and layouts being reviewed and approved weeks ahead of the target date. In all honesty, the actual production and delivery of the components falls into a 5 to 7 day window. Most of the design and approval processes take multiple weeks to accomplish. I would guess the phrase “measure twice and cut once” is applicable here. Rarely in residential wood construction is a house built exactly per plan. Uncovering the caveats and nuiances of each plan, each homeowners preferences, creates the challenge encountered by the component sales and design team. Component construction full proofs this challenge by accounting for how each and every component is used, installed, and interacts with one other.
Archive for July, 2012
Second story walls now in place on lot 24 Windsong, crane day has arrived for the second story roof trusses. This house has the center section true two story roof trusses to be craned into position along with the left side light attic storage trusses. The right side is the bonus room section in which a couple of two ply flat girders will constitute the “knee walls” of the room. Take note of the picture which is labeled “bonus room wall over garage”. You can see it in the forefront of where the crane’s cable is lowered. One of the great attributes of a panelized system is the areas where wall panels fill in the gaps left by the truss system, namely this bonus room wall. It is correctly sized for the egress window opening required perfectly centered with the ridge formed by the trusses above it. The nature of the off balanced room (not cenetered in the peak section of the truss) and the need to form attic storage per plan in areas that are traditionally “webbed” trusses necessitated the creation of a three piece truss. The oddly shaped roofs shown against the garage right side are 2×10 chord top chord bearing trusses. They are designed to bear on the flat girder trusses and their 9 1/4″ dimensional lumber is deep enough for insulation to pass through. The flat girders have small entry doors opening into “webless” mono trusses for storage purposes. This garage trusses will all be set via forklift as they are smaller in size and one story height which also lifted the larger exterior 2×6 walls and floor trusses. The construction crew busied itself with sheathing the gable ends, installing the rake assemblies as they went. Sheathed walls are very heavy not lending themselves to preassembly requiring the crane to lift them as they are prepared on the ground awaiting being swung into position.
Great word for a professional salesperson to have towards their credit. Adjective: Fitting in with someone’s wishes or demands in a helpful way. Interpretation of plans coupled with having dealt with problems relating from previous experience is what component sales and design bring to the construction equation. Several sets of eyes are involved in the design process, questioning and checking each other’s work. Truss design begins, followed by wall panel design creating load paths through LSL and Timberstrand headers to the foundation. True two story walls constructed out of 2×6 yellow pine are heavy, lesson learned on 24 Windsong shown here. Back to the term of today’s title, we have learned to be very accommodating in design by furring down under headers, correctly sized for the application, reducing the need for any onsite framing. The corners are framed to the specifications of the structural engineer. Economy of design, in the purest sense by merging reduced costs aspects as well as completely filling the cavities (3 1/2″ + 5 1/2″ thicknesses). Framer’s Series lumber used in the walls add to the value of this product. They are straight, clean, well marked and offer no additional culling. The results appear to be seamless in their delivery but the truth is they were planned for predictablity.
Firing up the July sky are three new component construction packages in three different varieties. Lot 24 Windsong is a single family two story home starting in Little River SC. Featuring a 20′-0″ rear wall for the true two story, the subject of rough openings for windows and doors arises. Cruical to the designer of the panelized components is correct sizing of openings so each door and window will fit exactly. Also, the larger window openings will require timberstrand headers tracing the floor/roof loads through stud clusters to the foundation. Having planned opening sizes before starting construction is another benefit of component construction reducing field decisions and possibly additional labor to adjust. This entire job was shipped on a Thursday, including wall panels, floor and roof trusses, and framing materials. On schedule building demands the discipline for fabrication and distribution to meet the GC’s start date. Quanities of sheathing for the floor and roof surfaces, wall and ceilings, porch beams, posts, are all determined from the design software.
Moving into lower Brunswick County across the North Carolina state line, here are two new projects starting last week. Smithfield Townhouses 12, and a condo building Lakes 50 are the new offerings by Caw Caw Commercial in Brunswick Plantation. The tall wall shown here is 20′-0″ tall constructed from LSL studs in places, as well as parallam columns and beams. Caw Caw has been using wall panels for years now moving one step further by being Energy Star compliant and certified. In line framing and insulative headers differentiate their packages from others. Residential framing in townhouse, condo, and custom single family units attests to the applicability of component construction versatility in solving problems before they show up in the field.
Self sufficiency is a great thing. When there is a better way of handling materials, once it is recognized, First Flight Stairs and Dunn Metalworks have the capacity to create solutions in house. Previously, the laborious process of setting up sawhorses to paint cabinet doors and drawers, handling them several times through the process proved to be inefficient. Enter stage left the door rack on wheels, assembled and welded by Dunn Metalworks to be used by First Flight Stairs. Seen here, the door rack which is covered in painter’s tape stands six feet tall slatted 1 1/2″ apart will house 82 doors along with 41 drawer fronts. What do they say? Your mother invents necessity? Whatever. The solution provides a quicker method of painting one side then flipping the other side for coating with a minimum amount of handling and marks. On my last visit to the Black Creek jobsite I observed the GreenGuard “Rain drop” brand housewrap enveloping the structure. It acts as an air barrier as it smoothly channels water away from the infrastructure, touted as not crimping these channels as it drains the moisture no matter how tightly it is fastened to the wall. I was also very impressed with the planning and framing of the media room as I walked through the second level of the home. The sloped floor, complimented by the cambered ceiling, cascades upwards from the elevated section where a large screened TV is sure to sit lending acoustical and viewing excellence.
I spend a great amount of time posting about the “bones” of the housing industry, trusses, wall panels and the like, all which are covered by sheetrock. Now it is time to highlight the custom made millwork items which are actually seen and enjoyed by our customers. On this home, First Flight Stairs and Specialty Millwork was contracted to manufacture and install the stairs with open rails, newel posts and balusters, the underside of the radius ceiling, the porch ceiling, built-ins, wainscotting, as well trim and bathroom cabinets. The cabinets were manufactured in our shop out of maple following the exact specifications and measurements of the customer approved layout, then installed at the jobsite. Two of our infamous installers are seen here, apparently surprised about being photographed (Shorty turned his head and Terry has the “who me” look on his face).The stained ceiling color of the radius ceiling above adds perfectly to the “beachy” and open feel to the great room and foyer. Wainscotting can be found throughout the house, most prominately displayed on the great room walls. Built-in’s of various sizes can be found in each bedroom. Yet to be installed, obviously, are the drawers with custom selected “pulls” which will certainly complete the pantry and kitchen cabinets. Tucked away in the bedroom above the garage is a comfy day bed flourished with light from the twin window on its side. Translucent solar shades will fit into specially designed enclosures, operated remotely through a slit in the bottom of the cover, which allows protection from ultra violet rays. The enclosures will still be able to open from the front should adjustments be needed to service the motorized units. Much coordination and effort goes into all these items to ensure customer satisfaction and ultimately creating the interior appeal which will be noticed and appreciated by those who visit.
The roof trusses for Oakpointe 263 arrived late morning on Monday 7/2. Craning them into position on the house was reserved for early morning Tuesday 7/3. I arrived at the site shortly before noon and the trusses were nearly all set, less some of the smaller end jacks and mono trusses, which could easily be set by hand. Another sweltering, muggy Carolina afternoon was enough to take the breath out of someone, everything you touched was hot, yet IG Construction crews bared these elements without a complaint. Obviously the wall sheathing was applied on Monday as the crew did not work over the weekend and who could blame them? With temperatures like this one would be fortunate to get 5 consecutive days of work accomplished, much less the extra day added on. The wimp that I am ran for the protection of the truck’s air condition after twenty minutes. As I have mentioned in previous posts, appropriately bracing roof systems like this one is extremely important to avoid dominoing should a freak wind blow through. There are temporary and permanent braces applied as the trusses are being spaced and secured to one another and to the bearing locations. Clear span roof trusses are not to be attached to interior non-load bearing locations to allow for seasonal constrictions and contractions with the changes in temperature. Conversly, any load bearing walls that are crossed must be picked up by the truss designer. Hurricane anchorage from the truss to the top of the wall it rests on is traced to the foundation below at the bottom of the same wall. Each individual sealed shop drawing lists the uplift forces to be contained. Porch trusses are figured differently than house trusses due to the increased uplift conditions they are exposed to below. In the coastline areas close to the Atlantic Ocean, 130 mile per hour winds are the qualifier to the design criteria followed. Besides the planning of how the engineered roof trusses resist these forces, along with how the role each component plays of the entire structure, assures the truss system to “fit like a glove”.