Recent experience with new homes…

Recently, we were retained to do finish work for some new home builders in our area.  One was a kitchen project, and the other was a window and door installation.  The typical new construction approach in the US, which is the cheapest way, is to hire a specialist framer that builds the skeleton of the house.  This is the framing for the floors, walls, and roof.  They go as fast as possible, using the cheapest materials.  After this work is complete, this framing subcontractor is finished, gets paid, and goes to the next job. 

In our years of being in the business, I have never seen a production framing job that fully takes into consideration the overall project.  The oversight that occurs has to be dealt with further down the line by someone else.  The kitchen project had issues of out of square walls to one another.  The window openings were so out of plumb that there was not enough room to plumb the windows properly, and some were not tall enough by several inches.  Additionally, the rough framed sills were not level to one another.  

Typical construction is level plumb and square.  There is so much more than that, though, even assuming that this gets accomplished.  There are myriad effects of the framers’ decisions that impact every step that comes after.  

I believe that you must slow down a bit, to have time to think.  We have the same carpenters on the job from start to finish, from framing to kitchen cabinetry installation.  When a job is run with this continuity, the carpenters can watch out for the ability to center lights, to think about the proper distance for the center of the toilet flanges, to think about the width of casings, and the necessary distances to electrical boxes, to name a few simple examples that the framing affects.

Wood framed houses can last for hundreds of years.  It needs to start with knowing that every step, even those you don’t see in the finished product, are done with pride and care.     

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