Critical Details List

By adam
December 9, 2013   1 Comment

Why do we write and provide these presentations regarding the Critical Details of Construction?

Because we are constantly bombarded with poorly executed work. The quality of the existing housing stock is horrible.
In the event a property owner or contractor wants to do what is best for a property, with long-term thinking, there is really no resource for that person.
We create these lessons in hopes that each one helps at least one person solve or avoid a tricky problem, the correct way, the first time.

At Stetten Home Services we care deeply about the quality of the built environment.

We tend to serve committed property owners who have serious problems.

The entire system of planning, building and inspections is flawed, and it is silly to assume any building is well-built.

No matter how poorly buildings are built, the insurance companies in NC are guaranteed a profit, and they may as well write the code.
The manufacturers have lawyers and insurance designed to make their responsibility for failure of any type equal zero.

With our wealth we should invest in the QUALITY of our buildings, not increase the size.
If a house is awesome enough, the owners will continue to strive to create themselves a “home”.
If a home is a joy to own and stimulates the best in people, it will remain in the family for generations, or last forever.

Before you can start thinking about “green” you need to master EFFECTIVE & LOGICAL:
Building Ergonomics
If you can master those things, then “how” we make our stuff and “where” it comes from can become important factors.

People are lobbying for 1000’s of different changes to the code every year, people are buying upgrades, pools, solar, but they don’t even have a single water alarm or any idea what their water-pressure is.

“Even the dumbest and cheapest car is far more intelligent than the most high-tech buildings of today.” I am not sure when the first check engine light was installed in an entry level production vehicle, but nothing of the sort has ever been installed in a production home. Luxury homes are now just starting to incorporate smart features, maybe.

“If your main quality control administrator is a Code Building Inspector, you will earn no more than a “2.0 GPA”.
“If an inspector misses anything during the build process, you can end up with a building PREDESTINED TO FAIL in many ways.”

A home is not an asset unless it is worth MORE to you than it costs you to own it.
A home is not an asset if it is unpredictable or illogical.
A home might be an asset today, and a $50,000 liability tomorrow.
An average person needs to be able to quickly figure out if there is a problem, and figure out how to shut off water, electricity, gas and otherwise avert disaster immediately. The building should have everything it needs in a well-lit, logical location and the building should have a record or a story behind it available to each owner, and the contractors who work on it should contribute, as co-authors.

I take hundreds of pictures a day, and I make lots of notes, as If I will soon die and I don’t want to take anything to the grave with me.

If your goal is to BE AHEAD OF THE MAINTENANCE CURVE, you will appreciate these multimedia presentations:

Gutters: “A real plumber’s approach to gutters

Water: Foundation Water Proofing Details

Water: Exterior Drainage V to reduce ground wetness / allow for grass to grow. It is gravely important to understand the behavioral difference between “virgin soils” and “disturbed soils”. Disturbed Soils must be treated like garbage, and removed from the site.

Framing: Floor Framing Details (no floor joists parallel to exterior walls within 48″ of the wall.)

Structure: Adjustable Piers (and Elephant Feet)

Roofing Details: Framing and Trim Details that affect roofing.

Plumbing: Water Pressure and Thermal Expansion

Plumbing: Toilet Tank Connections Right vs Wrong

Plumbing: Toilet Floor or Toilet Flange Connections

Plumbing: Water Quality and Chemical Degradation of Butyl Rubber

Attic: Attic Insulation Prep

Attic: Air-Sealing (It is still not a code requirement to seal top-plates from above.)

Attic: Attic Ventilation
This is a really controversial topic and it will become more so in the coming years.
(Re-roofing contractors SHOULD NOT be altering the ventilation strategies of older homes who’s attic venting is part of a whole house system.)

Crawlspace: Air-Sealing

HVAC: Ductless Mini-Splits – Design and Features

Electrical: Design, Lighting and Features