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Wednesday and Thursday at Culver Garden Court were spent preparing for the arrival of the roof trusses. The walls were braced and squared. Beams and columns were installed. All the little things need to be prepared such as setting anchors at the columns and connecting anchor bolts at the exterior walls. The beam shown in the picture to the right is pre-engineered laminated wood designed for the load at this location. It is heavier and stronger than a dimension lumber beam of the same dimensions would be. The column shown below is dimension lumber. It is anchored to the pier below with a Simpson fastener designed to not only stabilize it, but to prevent uplift when high winds pull at the porch roof structure. Upon completion this column will be completely hidden under a decorative facade.
Bob Cooper, our site superintendent for this project, and I have been looking over the framing to determine where adjustments need to be made. We’re generally pleased with the changes that have been made to the panel design since LaPaz Garden Court, but we noted a few areas where we think additional improvements can be made. We noticed some areas where we think we can combine headers in the future and reduce the wall studs required for support. Wherever we can remove a stud, we not only save the cost of the stud, but also increase the space available for insulation. Bob was also the superintendent for LaPaz Garden Court so he is quite familar with how this project will come together.
The balance of the trusses arrived on Friday. There are two semi loads like the one in the picture to the right. Trusses will be set using a combination of extend-a-lift forklifts and a crane. This installation is planned for Monday. Weather permitting, we are still on schedule for the main framing to be complete Tuesday. This should include not only the trusses but also the roof sheathing. Some minor interior framing will come after the roof is in place, i.e. soffits, blocking and adjustments to non-bearing walls.
Once the roof sheathing is in place, we will be installing shingles on the roof. This will allow us to be 90% weather tight. Windows will follow, further closing the building envelope. Completion of roofing will also allow installation of secondary electrical wiring rough-in. Installation of plumbing rough-in for all supply lines will begin as well.
The framers arrived yesterday morning and by the end of the day most of the walls were standing. (See picture to the right.) The panels come with the exterior sheathing in place. You can see a mix on the sheathing where some of it is an insulation board, but OSB sheathing has been substituted at the corners as diaphragm framing. Often diagonal steel straps are installed at corners in order to avoid breaking the insulation barrier, but in this case there were windows too close to the corners for the strap bracing to work.
We are constantly trying to improve the framing on these structures to be more efficient, both in the use of lumber and in insulation barriers. Thus the change to insulated sheathing from 100% OSB sheathing used on previous Garden Court projects, the use of laddered T- wall corner connections at interior walls and the use of California Corners.
These efficiencies are important to us during construction as they reduce material and labor costs. Since these projects are HUD funded, the budgets are limited. For the owner, Garden Court, these efficiencies will result in savings on utilities over the life of the project.
The framing for this project is all panelized. There is enough duplication between the apartment units that there are multiple walls of the same size that can be constructed more economically as panels in a factory setting. The exterior walls arrive with the exterior sheathing installed. Window and door openings are located and framed as part of these panels at the factory. We have subcontracted with a framing crew to install the wall panels, trusses and roof sheathing. The first of the wall panels arrived today and are ready to be placed. The framing crew will be here tomorrow morning to start installation. By this time next week the building will have taken shape!
We were approached for a donation of materials for a cap for the sandbox at St. Mary’s of the Lake Day Care Center in Culver. Apparently they were having trouble with cats using the sandbox as… well… a sandbox. They had tried putting a tarp over it, but that solution proved poor. The various wood materials that were requested though would have made a cap that would have been extremely heavy as well as unlikely to survive the elements for long. We discussed some options and determined that we had better suited materials for the task, but they were not such that the volunteers could complete the installation. We then volunteered to take on the task
The sandbox was a prefab structure in a hexagon shape. Unfortunately it was not constructed “square”. The first task was to reinstall the sides in a true hexagon form. Then a framework of treated lumber was constructed overlapping the sandbox structure. It was constructed in such a way to provide a slope to drain the water that falls on it to the sides. One side was formed slightly higher than the other side to allow it to lap over the center. The framework was then covered with corrugated, galvanized, metal building siding with a factory painted Kynar finish. The edges of the metal proved to be somewhat sharp, so the edges were ground so that they were dull. To further protect these edges, EMT was bent around the perimeter providing a smooth buffered edge and doubling as a handle for picking up and removing the two halves of the cap.
We were happy to provide this service to St. Mary’s of the Lake. We have completed projects for them in the past, including the award winning sanctuary renovation we completed in 2007. We truly hope this donation serves the Day Care Center for years to come.
Last weekend I took some final pictures of the cabin before its inaugural year. We received our Certificate of Occupancy from the Town on the 16th. The Counselors moved into the camp last weekend on the 17th and the first batch of girls will be moving into cabin this weekend. While taking pictures, I was introduced to the Counselor for 2a, who had already moved in. When she was told that I was responsible for building it, she responded, “Cool! You Rock!” I took that as a pretty resounding endorsement.
It’s a little hard to pick out since it has been stained to match the others, but you can see it east of Hwy 117, just across the creek and just south of the basketball courts. You can see some pictures of it under construction in previous posts here and here.