What to Look for in A Framing Contractor

New residential construction home framing against a blue sky. Roofing construction. Wooden construction

The construction industry is a stressful one if you don’t have professionals. Construction projects are fun and exciting, but the risk of the project failing makes it a very critical one. For any homeowner, constructing a custom home or a home addition is great but requires a lot of planning and professionalism. The question to ask yourself is, who are the professionals needed for the construction project? One of these is a framing contractor whose input plays a considerable role in your project’s success.

Before you go to selecting a framing contractor, you must understand what is a framing contractor, how they work and the importance of their input in your project. Once you understand that your building’s integrity is pegged on the framing contractor, you can now go ahead and select the best of the best for your project.

What is a framing contractor?

The construction process is handled by a general contractor who oversees the entire project. Unlike the general contractor, a framing contractor is responsible for the frame or framing of your home. The framing contractor understands how the building should fit together and interact with the environment without getting compromised.

The framing contractor is responsible for marrying your construction project with physics to make your home or building a reality. No construction project can start without a framing contractor. Why? Before any property commences construction, the foundation has to be well set. Though there are different ways of putting together the foundation, the building must have a frameset first. Without the frameset, nothing can be done and this is where the framing contractor fits.

The framing contractor has the most critical job in the construction process. The contractor must come up with the frame showing how the rest of the edifice will be supported and the rest of the design implemented. No building can be built before the frame is set up. The framing contractor works alone or with a team of the general contractors making sure the framing is done correctly so that the rest of the project can go on.

What does the framing contractor do?

To answer this question, you first have to understand framing. It is a tricky and significant job as it sets the stage for the construction. Mistakes in your framing or overlooked details in the framing might lead to serious consequences with the finished project later on. So what should you know about framing?

Does the framing contractor understand all your custom details?

Let’s assume you are remodeling and you need to set the remodel nicely on your home. No one wants to renovate a remodel, so choosing the right framing contractor matters. Make sure your framing contractor understands all your custom details and do a little due diligence as well.

Make sure the framing contractor is present at all times.

The framing contractor might do a good job setting up the frame, but what if it was compromised? What if your plumbers, mechanic installers and electricians have a chainsaw in their truck ready to hack-away the framing to do their fittings? This ends up compromising the structural integrity of the building and the design as well. To be on the safe side, make sure your framing contractor is present at all times to communicate and negotiate with the other sub-contractor to avoid a compromised frame.

As a homeowner, leave the framing contractor to do the job

The reason for finding a framing contractor is to get the best from the professional. This means if the framing contractor understands what you need, leave them be. The little knowledge you have on framing might be no good to the framing contractor. It is good to offer advice but never get offended if the advice is not heeded. What does this mean? Trust the framing contractor enough to understand they know what they are doing. Never bug them asking why they never did what you asked. Whatever the framing contractor does, it is for the best of the construction process. however, this applies if you get the right contractor for your building.

What to look for in a framing contractor?

You now know and understand what a framing contractor is and what they do. Before we get deep into how important they are and why hire one, let’s look at the framing contractor’s qualities. What should you look for in the framing contractor?

This goes without saying and should be the first thing to look out for in a framing contractor. Ask for papers if you have to but make sure you can verify their qualifications with relevant institutions. Never overlook qualifications but on the same, never lean on them so much. Get to know the balance between qualifications or education with the skill which is determined by experience.

Before you go ahead and dismiss a framing contractor all thanks to their education, take a better look at their resume. What kind of experience do they have? Have they ever dealt with such a task before and if so, can they provide you with pictures or recommendations? No one can teach or buy experience and this counts for so much in your construction process.

An experienced framing contractor will first go through your building plans; then before giving their views, they should listen to you first. This is your vision and as the client, your opinion matters a lot. An experienced framing contractor will then give you his or her views on the job at hand, how much they estimate it will take and cost, then lay down a plan on how to achieve it. If you have a framing contractor start the job without providing you with the basics of how they plan to do this job, you might end up nagging them with questions in between their job.

Licensing and insurance
Asking for the relevant licensing and insurance documents protects yourself and your worthy investment. Check and ensure that the contractor is licensed and accredited by a reputable institution. Go through their insurance paper to cover yourself in case anything happens to them on your property. Let the contractor understand that if they have a team, they are responsible for their teams’ welfare. This way, you reduce your liability in case of an injury.

Good contractors market themselves through their work. When you get good services from any professional, you will likely tell your friends or anyone who asks for a similar service. A contractor’s reputation is directly proportional to the quality of their work and the services they offer. A contractor with a good reputation has nothing to hide and will refer you to previous clients. Referrals from friends, relatives, or workmates are best when it comes to professional services. You are getting assurance from another person who has seen firsthand the contractor’s work and you couldn’t ask for more.

On the site, so many things are bound to happen. The framing contractor is supposed to work hand in hand with the other professionals and the general contractor. Get a framing contractor with good communication skills. If there are uncertainties that might end up delaying the project or anything you should know, the contractor should be able to communicate with you and the general contractor.

Can they show you past projects?
The contractor might have been in the construction industry for some time but what do they have to prove it? Providing references should never be a problem for any contractor. It should be a joy for the contractor to prove to you they can handle your project. References provide you with more information about the contractor, how they work, and other important things you need to know about them.

If the contractor is not willing or cannot provide references, this is a sign they might be untrustworthy and that you should look for another contractor.

Can they provide a timeline?
The contractor is good at what they do as you have seen their past projects and verified their credentials. However, can the contractor provide you with a timeline? The contractor should be able to provide you with a fixed start and completion date. The timeline should not be rushed or dragged to ensure the project runs smoothly. However, the framing contractor’s job isn’t the entire project. You will need to engage other professionals such as electricians, plumbers and such to finish the project. An experienced framing contractor gives you an estimate of the time they need to complete the job. Having a timeline is important.

Do they have a team?
When looking for a framing contractor, get to know if they are working independently, have a team, or subcontract. Get to know who will be on the site working and if there will be a supervisor on site all the time. Remember, we said other professionals might compromise the framing’s integrity so having a supervisor on-site is important. If they are subcontracting, make sure they use a skilled and efficient team that won’t compromise your project.

Can the contractor provide everything in writing?
This isn’t only important for filing and record keeping. It helps you keep track of the project’s expenses as well. You might have a similar project in the future and you will have a better reference with everything in writing. Get an itemized estimate in writing for the entire project. This includes the cost of labor, materials and all the other costs involved.

Compare the estimates for the entire project with the other contractors. Professional and trustworthy contractors have no problem providing estimates in writing.

Why hire a framing contractor?
Let’s get one thing straight before we go ahead. If you have a building project, hiring a framing contractor isn’t an option. Your hire’s quality depends on you, but you have to get a framing contractor on top of a general contractor. But why is the framing contractor so important?

Framing is not something you want to mess up – Framing is perhaps the most crucial part of your construction project. The frame provides the structure of your building and sets up the tone for the building’s design. If the framing is wrong, the entire building is off and you might not like the end product.

Building a frame takes time and effort – building a frame isn’t like any other DIY projects that most people are used to. This requires a team of talented and dedicated workers with the experience to do it correctly. The framing contractor knows the right people in the construction industry who can get the job done by showing up to work on time and work with little or no disruptions.

Framing is complicated – it takes a framing contractor years working in the industry to gain the experience to manage their own projects. The contractor has to know everything from the floor systems, roof structure, walls, subflooring, exterior house boxing, as well as the best methods of installation, the best materials, the best technology to use and much more. This is the person who knows what to do and not to panic if something unexpected happens.

Paperwork – a lot of paperwork is involved in any construction project from budgets, permits, reports and much more. Most homeowners don’t have the extensive knowledge required or time to spend writing schedules and ensuring all codes and regulations are followed. As a homeowner, you have a job and life, but you need that project to be completed. Luckily for you, the framing contractor makes it his or her job to know everything there is to know about building. They take care of all the paperwork needed for you, handle the permits and understand all the area regulations and codes.

When looking for a framing contractor, above are some of the things you should consider. Go for a framing contractor who is well known for honesty, trustworthy and professional results. Good framing increases the value of your property and keeps the integrity of your building intact.

When looking for a framing contractor, above are some of the things you should consider. Go for a framing contractor who is well known for honesty, trustworthy and professional results. Good framing increases the value of your property and keeps the integrity of your building intact.