Because construction is project based, it has to be rooted in good communication for better teamwork. Framers, for example, require a clear framing layout. They also need a meeting with the GC or the head framer before they get started. Having load calculation sheets would also be helpful.
But a successful build is not just a question of having the team follow the plans. It also has to do with managing change. As everyone in construction knows, you can always expect some change, some deviation from the plan as the project progresses.
A recent example
A recent example of this was a few weeks ago after I had done load calculations on a custom house. The plans called for a gym on the 3rd floor which would have some heavy exercise equipment. In the plan, the equipment was static so I set out some reinforcements in the floor layout.
When framers got to the 3rd floor, they were stopped by the GC who had been informed by the owner that in fact, the equipment was moveable. This meant that any area on this floor could be subject to a live load amounting to several hundred pounds. Had the information not been communicated in time, it could have resulted in damage to the floor and some costly repairs.
In this case, I had to redesign the support underneath and double up the 3rd-floor joists at 12” o.c., which made for more than enough load bearing capability.
The fact that the whole floor would be subject to that kind of load should have been communicated at the design stage to save everyone’s time.
Bigger custom residential builds more complex
Bigger custom residential builds are more subject to details getting lost like this simply because they are more complex. They’ll include structural elements such as heavy window headers or line loads from offset walls or multiple cantilevers. Framers are often going on the framing layout alone. They won’t necessarily see what the applicable loads in every situation.
Information framers could use
Ideally, framers should be able to reference the engineer of record or get the calculation sheets to match up the calculations to the layouts and alert the G.C. if anything seems amiss.
Though it’s true that a construction site is often a high-pressure environment where everyone has cost/time constraints, achieving coordinated results requires paying attention to details and communicating the right information to the right people.