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RE: WOOD: Availability of No.1 and Select Structural Grades

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Bill,
I've read some of the replies and I would agree with most of them. Number 1
and Select Structural is not a problem and is not even an issue. You specify
and the framer will have to find it. What you specify may be influenced
somewhat by what your client is willing to pay for, but if you can make a #2
work where a #1 is needed and it is not exposed, then why not specify the
more available member. With that said, look at the deflection of the member
and see if you can live with it. It may be that the deflection for a long
span, even if within code, may be so great as to make it difficult to finish
a ceiling without potential cracking at the gypsum board joints if paper
tape is used. I've solved this using a fabric tape.
You do have other alternatives - manufactured lumber is a good example. A
Trus-Joist Parallam (PSL) member is not only stiffer than a GLB but is
generally available at most lumber yards (possibly not a Home Depot but
could be a special order) who will be willing to cut to size. Since you
don't have a problem with cutting and then changing the stress rating of the
member with manufactured lumber, this may be an alternative - albeit more
expensive.
What I won't do is let a contractor dictate to me what grade lumber is to be
used. I base my design on performance, deflection and bearing. If it can be
visible, I'll be more conservative. I've had a client complain about a
header I designed, but what had happened is that the member was appropriate,
and the contractor installed it crown-side down. It was visible and when I
pointed out the error, he had already convinced the owner it was my fault
and they wanted me to pay for the installation of a new member. I refused
and came on stronger that if the contractor wanted to design the home then
let him get his license and do the job. So long as I was engineer of record,
my design was to satisfy my client (the owner) and not his contractor. It is
difficult enough in this complicated field to develop a relationship with
the owner and have them understand exactly what you are doing to improve
their structure.
So, don't give in to the builder. In your area there will be plenty of
sources for #1 and Select Structural. If this is what it takes to
accommodate the calculations then by all means stick to your guns. You have
to be in control and sometimes to maintain control is like pulling teeth.

Finally, make it a habit to avoid working with that builder again. He is a
control freak and is doing it to line his own pockets in order to low bid a
job. You get what you pay for and the consumer (the owner of the home or
building) is going to learn it one way or another.

Good luck,
Regards,
Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc] 
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 9:28 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: WOOD: Availability of No.1 and Select Structural Grades

Still more studied ignorance. What this guy doesn't know could fill the 
Library of Congress (well, come to think of it, it DOES!)

I was told some time ago by a contractor in response to my specifying 
"Select Structural" lumber that it was not available, would have to be 
special-ordered, would cost a fortune, etc. He claimed "we can only get 
No. 2 lumber, no better."

Since this was an ongoing project and I was called in to fix a "problem" 
(TRANS.: "contractor screw-up"), I thought later, after the fact, that 
this may have just been a leg-pull, that he was operating the job at a 
loss by that time and that he wasn't willing to spend a dime more than 
he had to.

I don't have any sources here in the Houston area that I can go to, so 
I'll cast my bread on the usual waters and ask here: What are the 
availability concerns for "better than No. 2" lumber? Of course, around 
these hyar parts we mos'ly use Southern Pine (for reasons of pride and 
politics) but I would be interested to know how this works for any 
species groups that you all typically use.

Thanks.

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