This is everyones fault but mine…

I want to rant a little bit about how a building can get mangled in the build process because of a cacophony of opinion between the home owner, architect, engineer, and carpenters. Somewhere in the mix is me, yay!, which I am most pleased about because I have a job in the mountain community where I live and don’t have to travel hours every day to work or live in some flatlander corporate paradise.

The structure pictured below is an accessory building we affectionately refer to as the Garagemahal.

Its a nice little building, right? The architect lives directly in view of the thing so he pretty well designed something he could live with looking at all the time. The homeowner wanted to have a bathroom window added, notice it drawn in sharpie directly below the point load from the front gable. Notice how the smaller transecting gable has a higher ridge height than the main gable? Seems strange but it looks nice in the drawing.

I helped frame up the grade level walls, but everything didn’t get sheathed before the main contractor went on holiday for an elk hunting trip. The truss contractors installed most of the trusses and the building leaned out of plumb because they had to pull all of the external bracing to get their crane in to lift the trusses. It leaned over more than an inch. And then they nailed the sheathing up without racking the frame plumb again. The trusses themselves were screwed up, the homeowner ordered with some kind of condensed set of plans and so they arrive without dropped gable ends that allow for lookout rafters to support the gable end overhang. But they got put up anyway, so the truss guys partially sheath the roof with a lesser gable end exposure of 18-1/2″.

Apparently I get to frame a ladder for the gable end overhang and just fasten it to the end trusses. It puts the overhanging roof load in tension, which seemed so sub-standard to me that I didn’t even know it could be done until I studied my framing books a bit. But there are corbels on the gable end that support the barge rafter so I won’t lose sleep over it.

Lets look at the truss sections for the roof.

The main gable is formed with “attic room” trusses, scissor trusses for the smaller gable, and an interior ceiling plan thats vaulted in the middle at the same pitch as the roof.

Of primary concern to me is the valley rafters. This is how the architect drew it.

Now, have I lost my mind, or did the architect? Vaulted ceiling means the center square of this building is stick framed. Tripled girder trusses support both the roof and floor load of the smaller gable and so all that load goes onto the perimeter load bearing wall (remember that sharpie drawn bathroom window?).  But the ridges are at different heights, and the valley rafters have to hang on the lower ridge and carry down to the girder trusses. So why did the architect draw them as all intersecting in the middle?  Not to mention that there is no top plate for the valley rafter to land on, its going to hit the side of the girder truss. The top chord of the girder truss is 2×6, not nearly enough depth to nail an LVL sized to carry the load so it requires some kind of metal hanger. With my luck that connection point will be smack in the middle of a metal gusset plate. And shouldn’t that connection point be specified by the truss company per IRC? Having to move the valleys to where they need to be will change the interior ceiling plan as well, fun times!

So basically the architect drew it wrong, the engineer took their money but said nothing, the homeowner provided bad info to the truss designers who delivered the wrong trusses which then proceeded to fuck the building when the contractors installed them. Or maybe I just missed something.

Now I’m apparently the guy that can handle roof geometry and will get up on a 12/12 pitch roof in January in the mountains. Thank god for fall protection equipment. But I don’t get paid enough for shit like this.

So now I’ll leave you with a cute picture of a little girl learning to play chess and we can all feel better.

5 thoughts on “This is everyones fault but mine…”

  1. Hey, it’s all cool, until the ridge beam goes through the middle of the window. I usually walked through the design with the contractor/builder first. The only surprises were contractors refusing to build according to the plan because they didn’t look at and read it.

  2. At least you aren’t building a log house upside down.

    We once got a pre cut log house to assemble in two shipments. The first shipment was labeled “first floor” so up it went while we waited for the second shipment.

    Then the front door opening came with shipment number 2.

    We contemplated a staircase before we dismantled and started over.

  3. I came to understand most of this snafu. I don’t know why the property owner had to mention a window for the basement bathroom. As I recall, bathrooms had to have a window if not some sort of exhaust fan, which is not shown. And while I know that they are only decorative corbel, it amazes me that architects seem to think that they are creating a design feature by extending the woodwork out past the dripline. It’s as though they don’t understand the function of a roof is to cover.
    peace and calm,

  4. This post gave me the chills and had me fondly remembering my favorite therapy job…..dishwasher. Low stress to be sure, but the satisfaction seldom lasted long.


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