If complete framing plans have been furnished for the walls, floors and roof, the superintendence of this part of the work will be quite au easy matter, as the work is fully exposed and open to inspection.
The Lumber. - The first point to be attended to is the inspection of the lumber, to see that it is of the kind and quality specified and of the proper dimensions. The superintendent should be sufficiently familiar with the various woods specified to distinguish the different kinds at a glance. The difference in the texture or color of white pine, Norway pine, Oregon pine, hemlock, spruce and hard pine is usually sufficient to readily determine the kind of wood, although there will occasionally be pieces of hemlock which it is hard to distinguish from spruce, and Norway pine sometimes resembles white pine quite closely. If one is familiar with the peculiar odors of these different woods, it will often help in distinguishing them, a fresh sliver being cut for the purpose.
To distinguish the different varieties of spruce and hard pine is not so easy, and if two varieties of the same species are in the market, one of which is particularly desired, it will probably be necessary to ascertain from the lumber yard which variety was furnished or to call in expert advice. The defects to be looked for are shakes, longitudinal cracks, bad knots, and pieces that are badly warped Shakey pieces (see Section 17) should always be rejected. Small longitudinal cracks in large timbers are to be expected; they do no very great harm, especially if in the top or bottom of the timber; in thin pieces, such as 2-inch joists, however, longitudinal cracks, especially if below the centre, are sufficient cause for rejection. Pieces that are badly warped should be rejected and also pieces with large or dead knots. Small sound knots are admissible in ordinary framing lumber, as it is difficult to get such lumber that is free from them. Large timbers, with a considerable proportion of sap wood, should not be used where they are subject to great strain, or where ample ventilation is not afforded.
In regard to size, framing timber will generally measure from ¼ to ½ inch scant of the nominal dimensions, and such difference must be expected and allowed, unless one cares to pay for having the lumber sawn to order.
Bedding the Sill. - The first step in the erection of the frame of a wooden building is the placing of the sill, and the superintendent should see that it is properly bedded in mortar if on a brick or stone wall. It is good practice, although not a common one, to paint the bottom of the sill before laying to keep out the dampness, the sides and top being left unpainted for the moisture to dry out.
Size and Position of Openings. - As the framework progresses the superintendent should verify the principal dimensions to see that they agree with the drawings, for, while the builder can be held responsible for his mistakes, it is very annoying, to say the least, to discover after the frame is up that the building does not correspond with the plan, and the owner is usually inclined to think that the architect should have prevented the error.
The most frequent mistakes that occur are in locating the door and window openings, and those for the chimneys. The openings for the chimneys, especially, should be measured to see that they are large enough for the chimney to pass through without coming within 1 inch of the headers and trimmers. They should also be exactly located, as the variation of an inch will often affect the appearance of the room to which they belong.
Support for Partitions. - When the floor joists are being placed the superintendent should see that the timbers which are to support partitions are of the designated size and put in their proper places. He should also look at the framing around all openings to see that the header and trimmers are of the proper size, and that the pieces have been properly mortised together, or supported by stirrups, whichever way may be specified.
Plumbing, Mortising, etc. - While the outside frame is being erected the superintendent should see that the posts are plumb, the girts placed at the proper height, all the braces put in, and the whole properly mortised and pinned together.
Carpenters are sometimes liable to get the pitch a little less than that indicated on the drawings, as the flatter the pitch the less lumber is required, hence the necessity of seeing that the pitch is the same as that indicated on the drawings. It can easily be determined by means of a two-foot rule and a plumb.
The superintendent should also see that the valley rafters are extended to the ridge, or to a hip, as explained in Section 77, as this is not always done.
In order that the studding of the dormers may be notched on to the rafters, as explained in Section 82, it is necessary that the trimmer rafters be spaced very accurately, and the superintendent will do well to carefully verify the measurements.
All parts of the roof should be well spiked together, and particularly at the plate, ridge, hip and valleys. The ridge should be perfectly straight and level and exactly in the centre. The tops of the rafters should also all lie in the same plane and not be hunched up or sagging.
Partitions. - The superintendent should see that all partitions are set in their proper place, and that the studding is straight and plumb and of uniform width. Crooked studding may be straightened by cutting with a saw on the bulging side and then spiking together, or the stud may be cut in two and a cross piece or header put in between the adjacent studs. The bearing of the partitions should be examined to see that it corresponds with the specifications, and the superintendent should see that the studs at the sides of the door openings are strongly supported. Very often such studs, which, if in a bearing partition, are quite heavily loaded, will come over the centre of the space between the studs below, the whole weight, perhaps, being borne by a 2x4 cap. In such a case a brace should be put in below or the plate reinforced. The superintendent should also examine all corners to see that they have been made solid for lathing and see that provision is made for running furnace pipes and that all openings are properly trussed.
Bridging. - As soon as practicable after the floor joists have been placed, and before the under flooring is laid or the partitions built, the floor bridging should be put in and securely nailed with two ten-penny nails in each end of each piece.
Brick Buildings. - The framing of the floors, roof and partitions of brick buildings is the same as for wooden buildings, with the exception of the wall plate and the anchoring of the floor joists. As has been explained in Sections 54 and 55, the anchoring of the floor joists to the walls in brick buildings is a very important matter, and should be carefully looked after by the superintendent, who should also see that the bolts for the wall plates are built into the wall at the proper height. If the partition studs are to be bolted to the wall the superintendent should see that they are provided by the carpenter and built in by the brick mason at the proper time, otherwise they are very apt to be overlooked.
While many of these points seem very simple, unless the superintendent fixes them well in his mind and realizes their importance, he will be likely to find, as the building progresses, that he neglected to look after them at the proper time, and that some things have been overlooked or not properly done that he might, by a little thought and care, have had done properly. If, as is the usual custom, the architect supervises his own work, inspecting it once every day or every second or third day, as may be required, he will find it a great aid in his work to make a memorandum from the specifications before visiting the work of the things to be looked after, and then examine them in order when he is at the building.