Truss vs stick built


  #1  
Old 01-31-20, 05:25 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,506
Received 351 Upvotes on 294 Posts
Truss vs stick built

My contract specifies that the replacement roof framing will be trusses "built off site".I'm assuming that the contract price for the roof replacement is based on that. I visited the site today and was surprised to see that the roof structure was being replaced by a traditional stick built framing.

I asked the contractor why the change and he mumbled something about his supplier not being able to get the trusses to the site on time to meet his schedule (we signed the contract in November). He has bragged about being able to get the roof done "in a week" using trusses. Now it's been two weeks since he started the roof and only about a third of the roof is framed.

I don't have a problem with a stick built roof (I've framed dozens of roofs that way) but I'm starting to think that my GC is jerking me around, ignoring the contract requirements and doing whatever he can to pad his profit.
I always thought that trusses were a cheaper way to go because of the reduced labor costs but I can't find a definitive answer on the internet. Does anyone here have an informed opinion about the cost differences between the two methods

 
  #2  
Old 01-31-20, 05:32 PM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 27,239
Received 1,958 Upvotes on 1,755 Posts
I dont know costs offhand but it doesn't have so much to do with cost, its the fact that trusses can clear span greater distances, so your load bearing walls can be farther apart. If he is stick framing something that was meant to be trusses, you might be getting screwed if he is overspanning everything.
 
joecaption voted this post useful.
  #3  
Old 01-31-20, 06:11 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 4,463
Received 129 Upvotes on 114 Posts
All we have to go on is what your saying.
If the written "contract" calls for trusses, and the building permit was approved based in that fact how's that going to play out when the inspector does his framing inspection?
 
  #4  
Old 01-31-20, 06:12 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 15,993
Received 85 Upvotes on 77 Posts
Yes price is the same AFAIK. They truss here in the south as they can have a home complete start to finish from tree clearing to move in and walk in the door in 120 days.. ( 4 months)
 
  #5  
Old 02-01-20, 05:02 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 28,140
Received 2,263 Upvotes on 2,016 Posts
I think you need to look at your house design and see if trusses are a requirement or if they offer a benefit over stick built. My house required trusses because of the span distances complicated by vaulted ceilings so stick built wasn't an option. If your house's load bearing walls are close enough a stick built roof can be a valid option and a way for your contractor to have more control over the schedule.

If the truss manufacturer is telling him six weeks for delivery then stick building might save time. The core of the problem might be that he didn't think to order the trusses. Some contractors aren't great at planning and don't think about something until they need it, like not ordering roof trusses until the wall framing is finished instead of ordering them when he first got the job so they would be on site when needed or earlier.
 
  #6  
Old 02-01-20, 06:04 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,506
Received 351 Upvotes on 294 Posts
This is a new roof replacing a fire damaged stick built roof. Span is not an issue.
 
  #7  
Old 02-01-20, 07:16 AM
H
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 2,321
Received 297 Upvotes on 255 Posts
In SE Pennsylvania, trusses would be less costly. The Amish carpenters around Lancaster work through the winter in huge warehouses turning out high quality trusses.

 
Attached Images  
  #8  
Old 02-01-20, 09:11 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 986
Received 112 Upvotes on 100 Posts
I don't think you should care about cost as it has no implications to you unless you have a cost plus contract. The issue is purely what you need or what is best for you.

One potential difference is that trusses are engineered to specs and usually carry spec diagrams that can be relied on by the customer, the contractor, and the inspector. Stick built roof framing carries no specs and must be inspected to meet code.

Keep in mind that roof spans involve fasteners/fastening as well as lumber and span is always an issue. Just because your damaged roof met span requirements when it was built, doesn't guarantee the new roof does the same.

Is your place in a hurricane prone area?
 

Last edited by Tony P.; 02-01-20 at 09:37 AM.
  #9  
Old 02-01-20, 10:16 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,506
Received 351 Upvotes on 294 Posts
I have a copy of the permit application. Under scope of work it says "fire damage restoration - same floor plan" so the framing won't be an issue if it's per code.

My main concern is time and weather. New England in winter isn't the most reliable for exterior construction. The GC told me several times that by using trusses all he needed was a week of good weather to get the roof framed and sheathed. We've had great weather and 6 weeks in it's about a third done.
My other concern is if I paid X dollars for a certain product and I get a different product am I being screwed? That's why I am trying to find out the cost difference.
 
  #10  
Old 02-01-20, 10:53 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,506
Received 351 Upvotes on 294 Posts
Tony,
It does have cost implications from the standpoint of the total cost of the contract but also implications about me getting what I paid for. The roof framing part of the contract calls for trusses. Material and labor costs are listed in the contract as $12,480. If stick built costs significantly less (I don't know that) then there should be either a reduction in the overall cost of the contract or a make up in other areas of the contract. That's why I asked about the cost difference.

There is another implication regarding substituting materials specified in the contract. There are several areas in the contract where I specified the materials I wanted (we do not want "builders grade"). Siding, kitchen cabinets, countertops and bathroom fixtures are all specified, some by a product name and some by quality level. If a GC can just arbitrarily ignore what the contract requires for roof framing what is there to prevent him from from substituting in anything else?
 
  #11  
Old 02-01-20, 11:00 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 986
Received 112 Upvotes on 100 Posts
My other concern is if I paid X dollars for a certain product and I get a different product am I being screwed? That's why I am trying to find out the cost difference.
The answer has to be maybe, but not because of a cost differential. My concern would be to make certain the roof meets the standards I require. If the stick roof is cheaper and also superior to the truss roof you would have gotten will you somehow feel cheated? In your situation, though, you'll never know that.

If you're concerned, speak to the building department and have them go over the structure carefully. If it meets code in every respect, I'd be satisfied.

Concerning actual versus estimated costs, if you have a fixed fee contract actual cost is irrelevant to you. If the contract is cost plus, you should certainly be concerned about cost. The bigger issue, though is the quality of the job rather than the GC's cost.

Concerning materials, I agree with you that quality is the issue. You don't want builder's grade and that's important. You also want some specific products and should absolutely get them. But you shouldn't care whether he buy's them at HD with a contractor's discount or pays full price some place else.

Finally, don't get me wrong the GC should not have changed the framing method without consulting you and you should rant and rave about it. But your issue to him should be your concern about quality and you must be satisfied in that regard. In the final analysis, if he shows you his cost is higher will that satisfy you.
 

Last edited by Tony P.; 02-01-20 at 11:18 AM.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: