graeme m

Should I be worried

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Timber frame structure was started last week and the ground floor erected 180 degrees round the wrong way. This was corrected within a day (small house) and the build went on. Now one of the Glulams has turned up about 400mm too short. They intend to replace the beam with 3x9x2 planks bolted together and supply calcs to show this is an adequate replacement. The exterior weather proof membrane has been holed and torn in several places. The interior airtight panels have been damaged and some of the external boarding as also been damaged. The supplier/erector claims the membrane can be patched and this is quite common with this type of build and will make no difference. They have offered to repair sections of the external and internal board. We have asked them to replace any damaged boards rather than not repair, to recover complete sections of the weather proofing membrane rather than patch it. The suppliers seem to think this is unreasonable. It's taken over two years to get to this stage and I'm seriously pissed off.

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Tears in the external wall breather membrane (it's not, strictly speaking, a weatherproofing membrane at all) are commonplace, and fixing with patches is pretty normal.  It's only really there to keep bugs out that get into the cavity when the house is finished, and act as temporary protection from rain during construction.  I certainly patched a few tears in ours, caused be careless people bashing it with everything from scaffold poles to bits of external cladding.  I went and bought a decent hammer stapler to do it.

 

The project manager should have spotted the orientation error - seems a pretty fundamental laying out error to me and I'd be having firm words with the PM as to what he/she was doing at the time.

 

Only an SE can comment on the solution for the replacement beam, but bolted together boards to form a beam are an OK solution, and were commonplace before glulam came along.

 

The internal board damage needs fixing, as that's the vapour control barrier (it's not really the main airtightness layer).

 

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Few points here:

 

How did they erect the timber frame that far our? Do you have any pictures of before and after?

What is the Glulam beam for, who has calculated the replacement numbers on the planks, what type of timber are the planks?

Who is responsible for materials? 

A few bashes probably are expected on OSB and waterproof membrane.

 

If this has come to light today I would try and wait till the morning before speaking/emailing your builders. 

 

 

Edited by Thedreamer

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Further to @JSHarris comment regarding beams being bolted together.

 

Here is a picture of my three 6 meter lengths of Kerto S beam spiked together a few minutes before installation. My structural engineer specified this.

P1150372.thumb.JPG.b500c6be26a2edf8ed4563fe7f4cd037.JPG

 

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29 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

Tears in the external wall breather membrane (it's not, strictly speaking, a weatherproofing membrane at all) are commonplace, and fixing with patches is pretty normal.  It's only really there to keep bugs out that get into the cavity when the house is finished, and act as temporary protection from rain during construction.  I certainly patched a few tears in ours, caused be careless people bashing it with everything from scaffold poles to bits of external cladding.  I went and bought a decent hammer stapler to do it.

 

The project manager should have spotted the orientation error - seems a pretty fundamental laying out error to me and I'd be having firm words with the PM as to what he/she was doing at the time.

 

Only an SE can comment on the solution for the replacement beam, but bolted together boards to form a beam are an OK solution, and were commonplace before glulam came along.

 

The internal board damage needs fixing, as that's the vapour control barrier (it's not really the main airtightness layer).

 

I am the project manager although I didn't think I'd need to stand over people from this company. Can the green panels be repaired or is replacement needed?

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I’d also want the SE to confirm the glulam replacement is correct, and also I would get the TF company to credit the cost of the beam as it will not be as cheap as bolting 3 9x2 timbers together.

 

What is the beam length out of interest as 9x2 you will struggle to get longer than 5.2m. Any joint to make it longer should be scarfed and staggered.  

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15 minutes ago, Thedreamer said:

Few points here:

 

How did they erect the timber frame that far our? Do you have any pictures of before and after?

What is the Glulam beam for, who has calculated the replacement numbers on the planks, what type of timber are the planks?

Who is responsible for materials? 

A few bashes probably are expected on OSB and waterproof membrane.

 

I this has come to light today I would try and wait till the morning before speaking/emailing your builders. 

 

 

Because they had the plan upside down, despite me explaining where everything should be.

They have.

They are.

Really?

Re-read my post. It started last week.

Sorry but as I said I'm a bit pissed off and don't really want to repeat explain again.

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1 minute ago, PeterW said:

I’d also want the SE to confirm the glulam replacement is correct, and also I would get the TF company to credit the cost of the beam as it will not be as cheap as bolting 3 9x2 timbers together.

 

What is the beam length out of interest as 9x2 you will struggle to get longer than 5.2m. Any joint to make it longer should be scarfed and staggered.  

I plan to make them pay for an independant SE to check their calcs. It's 5.7m long, supports the balcony and another beam. My view if 3x9x2 were adequate why not use them in the first place?

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15 minutes ago, graeme m said:

 I plan to make them pay for an independant SE to check their calcs. It's 5.7m long, supports the balcony and another beam. My view if 3x9x2 were adequate why not use them in the first place?

 

Will be lucky to get 6m lengths of C24 9x2*. Is it going to be visible inside as that’s the usual reason for using glulam over steel. 

 

Point loads on a site fabricated beam doesn’t sit comfortably with me - sorry..!! Standard glulam beams are off the shelf these days too so shouldn’t be an issue. 

 

* oddly just checked and TP hold 225x47 in 6m lengths ... or some branches do..! Most I seemed to get was 5.4..!

Edited by PeterW
Added info.

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I can understand the annoyance, but dealing with these issues one by one:

 

The layout is a PM cock-up - yes, the PM DOES need to be there and make sure the setting out is right - frame erectors are frame erectors, not project managers.

 

The beam being the wrong length is a cock up.  Cock ups happen on every build and need to be worked around.  An SE can easily do a quick check to confirm that the bolted beam solution is OK as long as the point loads are within limits.  Maybe push for a replacement glulam if it's on show.

 

Tears in the external wall building paper/breather membrane are commonplace.  Stapled on patches are normal, and you can be pretty sure there will be more tears that need repairing as other trades come on site.

 

The internal VCL board needs to be structurally intact, but small dings can be fixed just like insulation fill holes with airtightness tape.

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49 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

I can understand the annoyance, but dealing with these issues one by one:

 

The layout is a PM cock-up - yes, the PM DOES need to be there and make sure the setting out is right - frame erectors are frame erectors, not project managers.

 

The beam being the wrong length is a cock up.  Cock ups happen on every build and need to be worked around.  An SE can easily do a quick check to confirm that the bolted beam solution is OK as long as the point loads are within limits.  Maybe push for a replacement glulam if it's on show.

 

Tears in the external wall building paper/breather membrane are commonplace.  Stapled on patches are normal, and you can be pretty sure there will be more tears that need repairing as other trades come on site.

 

The internal VCL board needs to be structurally intact, but small dings can be fixed just like insulation fill holes with airtightness tape.

Thanks Jeremy. Although I'm not accepting responsibility for the building being 180 degrees wrong, especially after telling in the "experts" what should be where. Who the hell cuts stud work around soil pipes? The rest though I accept can be put right.

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I struggle with posts like this when not accompanied by photos

 

it is hard to give an accurate response when trying to guess how bad it is. 

 

Any pics. 

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9 minutes ago, graeme m said:

Who the hell cuts stud work around soil pipes? 

I had stud work over pipes someone must have cut the pipe down to get the timber half over it.

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13 minutes ago, graeme m said:

 Who the hell cuts stud work around soil pipes?

Someone trying to box a pipe in.

 

Photo please?

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I feel for you mate, this sounds very unpleasant. However, these things do happen in the course of a build. As you say just above, everything can be fixed.

 

30 minutes ago, graeme m said:

Who the hell cuts stud work around soil pipes? 

 

Soil pipes are often not quite in the right place, and so onsite adjustments aren't that unusual.  If it's right in a corner, even being a few tens of mm out might be enough to require some sort of adjustment. That said, I'd have thought a pause to double-check would have been an appropriate action to take when this was noticed. Had they not measured the positions of soil pipe (etc) before starting the erection? That alone should have given them an idea of orientation, unless your soil pipe is dead centre of the building.

 

Re: external membrane, as others have said, this stuff gets knocked around pretty badly during the build. I think replacing all of it is a fair bit to ask, although given how many errors they've made by this point, they really do owe you.

 

I think you definitely want the internal boards to at least be flat, although the odd ding is no big deal. As Jeremy said, if you have pumped insulation, your inner board work is punctured all along every external wall anyway.

 

I'm less sanguine about the glulam. It was specced, you paid for it (or at least it's part of the agreed price), and unless there's a very good reason to replace it with the proposed alternative now, they should supply what's been agreed. Is it on show?

 

 

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I will add more to this at a later date, but just to say the disappointment continues.

 

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No need to be pissed off.  This will, I am afraid, be one of many issues and not one you need to lose sleep over.

 

I have never seen a timber frame without a few tears in the breather paper.  If you want to do a better job of the breather paper repair, make a horizontal cut with a Stanley knife just above the damage cut out a fill-in piece of new slide up the slit, dress down over the damage and fasten with stainless staples.

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You should be supplied with a full set of structural calcs from them.  You should also have a spec saying what is included.

 

Make sure the sole plate is completely level, walls are plumb, hangers fully nailed, floor fixed in accordance with spec, roof trusses / rafters mechanically fixed, rafter feet have correct overhang, fascia (if included) fitted at correct height, window / door / rooflight openings correct, thresholds cut out on completion of frame and whole work site left clean and tidy, as these are all things that some erection teams tend to "overlook".

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