Contractors are almost halfway done building an addition to our home. An addition that I designed!.........…..for my client, Danielle Ramos.
The design feature that I am most proud of, is that the addition could be constructed around our existing house with minimal disturbance to the original structure…… and us! I recently chronicled this circumstance in Living In A Construction Zone.
Overall, the design is straightforward with details that are typical of wood-framed residential construction. That being said, there are a couple tricky details with the roof framing.
First off, because of our angled property line, one side of the addition is skewed in plan. Or you might say wedge-shaped. This has made the roof framing unique because each rafter is a different length. Also, the slope of the roof changes from front to back as the rafter span gets wider. Oh and the design includes exposed rafter tails.
The carpenters love me for that!
The Biggest Hurdle.....
The biggest hurdle so far has been the way the new roof attaches to the brick wall of our existing home. This detail is challenging both structurally and from a water-proofing standpoint.
But hey…if it was easy..anybody could do it!
During design, I worked with a structural engineer for sizing the structure members and specifying all of the connection details. We developed the following detail for the ledger connection.
The engineer required the ledger board be lag-bolted through the existing brick wall into the existing wood studs. Two lags every 16” on center.
Seems simple enough right? I mean it was a breeze to draw!
Well……I knew that blind-bolting through the existing brick and hitting the studs was going to be challenging. And I assumed that the carpenters would complain about it when the time came.
And they did!
In addition to the challenges of blind-bolting and finding the studs, the head carpenter brought up another concern. The area that they would be bolting into is at the height at which the wall outlets in the existing house are located. Not only are the outlets in that location, but also there is likely electrical running the entire length of the house at this level. Meaning they might blindly bolt into existing electrical.
Now that caught my attention!
I need to point out that these guys were moving at a very swift pace. Much quicker than I am used to with my professional architecture career working on larger buildings.
At the time that we had the discussion about the blind-bolting the carpenters were about 3 days away from being ready to start on the roof. I needed to determine an alternate detail soon or risk delaying the construction.
So I reached out to two additional structural engineers for their opinions on supporting the ledger. And I got two different answers.
The option that seamed best to me was to triple up the ledger and make it a true beam. A beam that would bear on new columns and new walls. The ledger would still be attached to the existing brick however this connection would not be for load bearing. It would just help tie the new and old together.
One thing to point out. Yes it is possible to attach framing directly to a brick wall. And it may stay there for a very long time. But the building code treats brick veneer just like siding. Attaching something substantial to brick is not to code. In the event of an earthquake or a hurricane the building starts to move laterally, and the addition could start to pull away from the existing house. So relying merely on the brick for bearing is not cool!
But I digress.
I brought the new idea back to the original engineer. Since he stamped the original drawings I wanted to make sure that he was ok with this new design. He did approve the design and gave me recommendations for the type of fasteners to use for attaching the columns to the slab and the columns to the new ledger beam.
By the time I got this new information approved, it was the morning that the carpenters were ready to start on the roof.
I was already in the office at LS3P when I got confirmation from the engineer. Luckily I had an extra plan drawing already printed at my desk so I grabbed a red pen and quickly added columns, dimensions and notes about the connections.
Now I just needed to get the drawing back to the house. And remember. I ride a bike to work. So riding back home to drop of the drawing would have been a pain and plus…I am supposed to be working on LS3P projects at this point.
Luckily Danielle was home and agreed to drive to my office to pick up the drawings and deliver to the carpenters at the house.
What a gal!
I stopped by a few hours later at lunch and they were already constructing per the new detail.
And when I returned home that evening after work the ledger was completely installed.
Wow! Talk about down to the wire!
This story is my new life.
This month’s #ArchiTalks theme is Work/Life
For architects separating your professional work from your personal life is always a challenge.
And if you are an architect living in a house you have designed, that challenge is even harder.
Now imagine that you are living within a construction zone of a house you designed.
In the mornings I meet with the carpenters before heading to work. And when I get home I break out the tape measure and drawings and review the construction.
In my current existence, separating Work and Life is impossible.
But it is only for about 6 more weeks. And it’s been a blast!
Although it has been a ton of extra stress, I feel extremely lucky to be able to design my own house. Being an architect kicks ass!
Happy Labor Day!
Steve Ramos AIA, LEED AP
Check out the other responses to this month's #ArchiTalks theme Live/Work:
Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Work | Life - Different Letters, Same Word
Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Work/Life...What an Architect Does
Matthew Stanfield - FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Work / Life : Life / Work
Jeff Echols - Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
The One Secret to Work - Life Balance
Mark R. LePage - Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
Living an Integrated Life as a Small Firm Architect
Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
work | life :: dance
Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Collier Ward - Thousand Story Studio (@collier1960)
Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
what makes you giggle? #architalks
Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Work/Life -- A Merger
Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
Meghana Joshi - IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks: Imbalanced and uninterrupted
Amy Kalar - ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
ArchiTalks #12: Balance is a Verb.
Michael Riscica - Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
I Just Can’t Do This Anymore
brady ernst - Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Brady Ernst - Family Man Since 08/01/2015
Tara Imani - Tara Imani Designs, LLC (@Parthenon1)
On Work: Life Balance – Cattywampus is as Good as it Gets
Eric Wittman - intern[life] (@rico_w)
midnight in the garden of [life] and [work]
Daniel Beck - The Architect's Checklist (@archchecklist)
Work Life Balance: Architecture and Babies - 5 Hints for Expecting Parents
Jarod Hall - di'velept (@divelept)
Work is Life
Anthony Richardson - That Architecture Student (@thatarchstudent)
studio / life
Sharon George - Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Work = 1/3 Life
Jes Stafford - Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
Turning It Off
Drew Paul Bell - Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Work / Life