I said "contractor" but what I *meant* to say was "framer" (really, I did).
Also, I agree totally on the explanation of how low-end framers learn the
When my wife and I built a house 2 years ago, we did the research and got
the recommendations. I located a builder who had a reputation for quality
houses. I inspected several of them and was impressed. The framing and
finish work were excellent. Tight framing (cuts made on a table saw, not
with a hand saw in one hand and the board held on the carpenter's knee) with
After about a month of delays due to weather, his regular framer got two
jobs with another builder and wouldn't be able to work on our house for
another *two* months. Our contractor talked us into using a new guy. The
"superintendent" was 21 years old, and his "crew" consisted of his brother
and his cousin. They were all honest, hardworking guys, with little
experience. I used a significant portion of my vacation time inspecting the
house and flagging mistakes. From simple things like bad cuts (refer to the
"knee" cutting method above) to major things like not putting jack studs
under a 8'-0" header over a double door.
My wife is an electrical engineer, so of course she inspected the circuits.
She found 2 that were overloaded, one that was overloaded by 150%.
The point of the previous post is that the average home buyer wouldn't know
to look for these things, and can't afford to hire someone to do it for
them. A supreme court judge or legislator can afford to hire an
architect/engineer/ general contractor who does full-time inspections on his
custom-built dream house.
Also, of course, this is a generalization which has many many exceptions. A
low-grade spec builder could hire the best framer in the country, and a
high-end custom house builder could hire the worst framer in the country.
Jason W. Kilgore, P.E.
Leigh & O'Kane, L.L.C.