The best way to make any project start smoothly is to adequately prepare for the job. This means spending time looking over the plans, and organizing information, and talking with whoever is overseeing the job before you start working on the job site.

Often, the lead framer does this preparation the night or morning before a job starts. You’ll find that the work will flow more smoothly if you begin preparation earlier and do it right.

If you’re a carpenter working for a framing contractor or a general contractor, many of the preparation tasks listed in this chapter will be done for you. If, on the other hand, you are the lead framer, framing contractor, and home builder all in one, then it’s up to you to get these done.

In this chapter, the word superintendent refers to the person on the job site who answers any questions related to the building. This person’s actual title might also be builder, owner, or framing contractor. Although this book is about house framing, we use the word building, since the preparation is very similar whether it is a house, multi-family housing, a commercial building, or any structure where wood framing is used.

If you are preparing to start the job with the foundation slab in place, you will need to perform these four tasks:

1. Develop a job start checklist.

2. Review the plans and make preparations.

3. Organize the job site.

4. Conduct the pre-start job site review meeting.

Developing a Job Start Checklist

Using a job start checklist is a good way to prepare. Your framing will be organized and will move at a steady pace if all the items on this list are addressed. You can fill out the checklist in a pre-start job site review meeting. While the pre­start visit is not absolutely required, it is a very productive part of the preparation.

Following is a blank Job Start Checklist that can be used at the job site review meeting. Along with the checklist is an explanation of some points to consider as you check off each item. Although the items may vary from job to job, most items on this list are common to all jobs. You should also add your own items to this list.

Job Start Checklist-Explanation

Consider as you check off the job start items.

1. Power Source

• Will you need more than one power source? Bigger jobs sometimes require more than one source.

• What length of extension cords will you need for power tools? A cord that’s too long can burn out your tools.

• Will you need a heavy lead cord?

• Is there enough voltage for your tools?

A compressor, for example, may require 220 volts.

2. Backfill

• Backfill all possible areas before you start. The more backfill completed, the easier it will be to perform your work.

3. Lumber Drop Location

• Ask for lumber to be dropped as close as possible to the building, and in a central location. If a forklift will be available, you can have the lumber dropped in a more out-of-the-way location, as long as it’s easily accessible.

• Often the lumber you need first is on the bottom of the lumber load when it is dropped. Sometimes you can request that the lumber company load the lumber in the order you will use it.

4. Material List

• Be sure you have a copy of the material takeoff list. This list will help you figure out which size, length, and grade of lumber will be used for which part of the building. It is a good check, and helps prevent mistakes.

5. Anchor Nuts and Washers

• The anchor nuts are generally delivered with the anchor bolts used by the foundation crew. Ask the superintendent to have the nuts located before you arrive on site, since trying to find them can be difficult.

6. Standard Framing Dimensions List

• Go over the list (shown later in this chapter) with the superintendent if applicable. He/she may need to check with the architect, or door or window manufacturer, in order to verify rough openings.

7. Plans: Two copies

• Be sure you have two copies of the plans. You will need one set for the job site. The second set can be used by others, such as the framing contractor, by yourself off site, or by the layout framer on bigger jobs.

8. Framing Hardware

• If you purchase the framing hardware yourself, you can have good control of quantities and delivery. If you don’t purchase it, request a hardware purchase list, which will help you identify quantities and type of hardware. It is common for the architect to specify a piece of hardware with a specific identifying number on it, then have the superintendent purchase

an equivalent piece of hardware with a different identifying number. It helps to carry a hardware manufacturer’s catalog with you for identification purposes. The Simpson Strong-Tie catalogs are most often referenced on plans.

9. Subfloor Glue

• Is subfloor glue required? It may not be called out on the plans or specifications, but sometimes superintendents require it.

10. Mudsill Insulation

• Determine whether mudsill insulation is necessary. Again, it may not be identified on the plans or specifications, but the job superintendent may intend to use it.

11. Hold-downs, Tie-downs, Anchoring System

• It is best to install the hold-down studs when the wall is built, and it is easiest to drill the holes for the hold-down bolts before the hold-down studs are nailed into the wall.

• Have at least one hold-down of each size on the job site when you start. Because the hold-down sizes vary, it’s good to have different sizes available so you can determine stud locations and bolt hole sizes and location. If you do not have the hold-downs, you can use a hardware catalog to determine hole sizes, locations, and stud locations.

12. Truss Plans and Delivery Schedule

• Many buildings have truss plans in addition to the plans provided by the architect. Because you want to line up the studs, floor joists, and roof trusses where possible, it is important to know where the truss manufacturer started the layout. You should use the truss layout and align the studs and floor joists. Truss plans typically call out where the layout starts.

• Often the truss plans are not drawn until shortly before they are needed. It is best to request the plans early so that they will be available when you need them.

• Check on the delivery date. Depending on the economy and the local truss manufacturers, the lead time for trusses can vary from days to weeks. You don’t want to get to the roof and have to stop because the trusses aren’t yet built.

13. Steel Plans and Delivery Schedule

• Typically if you have steel on the job, it should be in place before the wood framing is started. Check to see when it will be ready.

14. Reference Point for Finish Floor

• When you check the floor for level, it helps to have the benchmark used for the concrete work. If you don’t have the benchmark, then you have to take a number of different readings to come up with an average before you can determine whether the concrete work is within tolerance. Sometimes the superintendent will be able to give you the benchmark.

15. Reference Points for Wall Dimensions

• Having the reference points will save you time in determining where the lines are actually supposed to be. Since the concrete work is seldom exactly where it is supposed to be, you will have to decide by how much the concrete is off and the best way to compensate for it without doing extra work or compromising the building.

• If you don’t have reference points to work with, you will have to spend extra time taking measurements to determine where the mistakes are located in the concrete.

16. Location of Job Site Truck

• Be sure to locate your truck, trailer, or storage container close to the job site. Planning ahead with the superintendent can often open up a location that later could be occupied by other trades, material, or supplies.

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