Introduction To Creative Thinking

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Construction Dictionary for Dummies

Start Date: the approximate date (usually three days prior to the day they actually show up) to expect your contractor to arrive on-site for a looksie… this visit must not be confused with the day the actual work will begin.

Tomorrow: 7 to 10 days

Three months: 8.5 – 10 months

Punch list: all the crap that was not done properly during construction that will now take 2 more weeks to fix

Construction Dictionary

Custom: ugly crap that costs entirely too much money

All day: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with an hour lunch and four 15-minute breaks

On back-order: the part will arrive when hell freezes over or you threaten to fire your contractor for the third time.

$1,000: at least $1,500 but probably more like $3,000

Sanitation fee: the cost to place a porta-potty in your front yard or near your kitchen window

Next item on the list: that crap will not be happening, but you’ll think it did…you will realize this a year after your contractors are out of business

Recycled material: flimsy crap that will break/leak/fall apart as soon as the warranty runs out

Easy: not easy

Inexpensive: you may need to take out another loan

References: family members of contractors posing as previous clients

Available 24/7: your call will not be answered or returned before 10:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m. PERIOD.

Square: A term used in all construction to describe the correct relationship of material to achieve strength and aesthetic value.

The term describes specifically a 90 degree corner or connection, whether horizontal or vertical..such as a floor, wall or ceiling. In every form of construction you will need to have your corners square, be it a house for you or a dog house. Counter tops need to be square when placed on the cabinets or other stands. The only exception may be the outside of a geodesic dome or custom work. Arches, different roof designs or other custom work may not be square. Even an arch starts out as a square because of the need for appropriate load distribution, find more info.

Some methods of achieving square are using a rafter square, a smaller speed square or a T square. If none of these are available the 3-4-5 method is commonly used. To do this follow these directions.

At a point where both sides meet at 90 degrees measure down one side 3 feet and make a mark.

From the same point measure down the other side 4 feet and make a mark.

Now measure between the 2 marks and the length should be 5 feet. This assures that the corner is square.

To better understand the problems you will face if every phase of construction is not square, we will review the materials used in construction. From foundation, the blocks used all have 90 degree or square edges. Lumber is all supplied with 90 degree cuts and square edges. Sub flooring in 4×8 sheets has 90 degree or square corners and if used properly very little cutting and trimming will be necessary.

The aesthetic value of joints that are square and lines which are parallel is surpassed by requirements of load distribution which will insure integrity of the structure now and for any future work be it floor plan changes or simple upgrades, windows, doors, sheet rock, paneling, etc.

Being square is important. It is also only one part of good construction practice which includes being level and plumb…But they are another article. If you are planning to build without being square or parallel, it should be engineered, not just built.