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Phases of Construction - Foundation, Frame and Roof

This is when the excitement begins. Now you finally get to see the physical manifestation of your project as it moves from paper to reality.

Foundation: If you’re building a slab home, the plumbing will most likely be set up prior to the pouring of the concrete slab. You’ll have water and drain pipes that will need to go through the slab and under the house, so the pipes have to be in place before the slab gets poured. If your home is on pier and beam that is not the case; they can begin the process right away.

Weather is very important when pouring concrete, building the frame and installing the roof and siding. If it turns out that on the day of your concrete pour it rains, the concrete cannot be poured. You’ll need to be patient because your contractors probably have another job to go to the day after yours and you may have to wait a week or so for them to be available to return. It is very important to keep this in mind throughout your project and try not to schedule too many contractors at a time. When one contractor can’t do his job, it becomes a domino effect and impacts other contractors.

Once the slab/piers have been poured, another survey will be conducted to ensure that everything is where it is supposed to be. In addition, an engineer will need to conduct a concrete test to ensure the PSI of the concrete meets the standards required in the site plans and you will probably require a city inspection. Once everything is given clearance, you can proceed with the frame.

Frame: When you bid out your lumber, it’s possible that your providers created “frame packs”. A frame pack is a bundle of lumber specific to a section of your build. So, for example, your house may be two stories with outside decking. Your lumber company might create three separate frame packs: First floor, Second floor and decking. They will deliver the frame packs to the site. Keep in mind that there could be some scheduling challenges here. You have to make sure your lumber is there as your framers need it. They will not sit around and wait for material as they have to keep working. If it looks like it could take a day for lumber to be delivered, you could very well lose your framers to another job and have to wait for them to come back.

The frame goes up very quickly, usually within just a couple of days depending how large your home is. Again, the engineer will need to inspect as well as the city. In Houston, you’ll be required to have wind-strapping in place. In my case, the engineer decided to have the 2nd floor bolted to the first and the attic bolted to the second floor. This was unusual but due to the narrow nature of my home, this was an added feature to ensure the structure was secure against high winds.

Once the frame is completed and has passed inspections, windows, doors, plywood, Tyvek and then siding get put in place.

Roof: There are two phases to installing the roof. The first is roof decking. This is plywood that rests on top of the rafters. Once it’s in place there might be a layer of material put in place then the roof tiles are installed. As you can see from the image here, my roof has a very steep pitch. This posed challenges for us as we had to find someone willing to do the roof decking. The roofing company that installed the roof, was not diligent in making sure their contractors were strapped down and one person fell. This is why you make sure your General Contractor has General Liability Insurance AND that you make sure your subcontractors have it as well.

Once these items are complete and passed their inspections, it’s time to move to the Rough-In Phase of construction.

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