Single wall top plate

Here it is just being addressed in the new OBC 2006. We want all to be aware of us being on the top as to energy efficiency in building design. What I expect to see next is Value Engineering put in place on a wide basis. Say good buy to 16 OC walls and 2x4 structures.

That would be great Kevin. But that would mean only Ontario would be a player.

This will spread to a town near you Robert! Get a foot hold on the OVE installation practices and OBC 2006 so you are ready.

It all boils down to costs…

Cost of energy versus cost of construction/material.

A 2x4 exterior walls with spray foam insulation would perform better than a 2x6 exterior walls with fiberglass insulation just as a 16 in OC walls with spray foam insulation would perform better than a 24 in OC walls with fiberglass insulation.

Why bother framing at all.
Just go SIP’S or ICF.
What you save in labor you more than make up for in the cost!
Both are recognized in the OBC.

Some info from your friend on the topic at:

I thought I could a least have one day without hearing his name!
Thanks Marcel.
I almost made it.

Marcel makes a valid point Kevin. For the moment the cost of reconversion over to 2/6 24 OC building outstrip the means of conventional 2 by 4 timber framing.
#1 You have to reeducate all the framers,
#2 refit the lumber yards and #2b. import new hardware. It is not that easy to startup a program as one thinks.

99 percent of the buildings are 2/4" 16" OC like it or not.
Energy can be saved by using other ways and forms of producing energy.
Insulation and thermal bonding is just one piece to a complex puzzle.
Energy used efficiently.

Once the new window that radiate heat into a living space are developed to be more efficient and cheaper the energy cost to run homes in a Northern climate will be cheaper.

Looking for a building made of ICS a couple of blocks away Marcel.
I wanted to gain entry to see how the tie in the flooring and roofing system.
great artical.


I am looking for some insight regarding a potential new construction home purchase - hoping to get expertise and perspective from experienced folks on this forum.

Some background … I am a first-time homebuyer and not in the construction industry - thus I have relatively little understanding of structural practices or lingo. I am trying to get an understanding of the risk involved and ultimately whether I should “walk away” from this particular home/sub-division.

The builder is Richmond American Homes, a large national builder. The specific project is located near Seattle (seismic risks). I noticed that the builder has a number of complaints posted from angry buyers online (BBB and dept of consumer affairs websites) about construction quality issues, including some that would be considered “major.” For example, cracking foundation resulting in basement floods, major visible cracking of interior walls, leaky roofs, etc. However, given that it is a large national builder, I don’t have a good feel for what % of the homes these ~60 complaints (over the past 5 years) really represents.

The sub-division I am interested in is currently in the early stages of construction. I just went to the site and the City inspector was there. So I picked his brain and here is what I learned:

He said the construction was following plans and meeting minimum code. He didn’t express concern over the quality of the sub-contractors work, but did express some hesitation about the quality of the design they were building to.

  • Two-story stick-built house. 2,000 sqft.

  • Framing: 24" center on stud, with a single top plate.

  • Main floor has Joist supports. Second Floor has truss supports.

  • Foundation: Crawl space design. Footers with foundation walls.

Foundation walls are 4" thick and vertical re-bar is spaced 4 feet apart. (he said this was pretty far relative to what he normally sees)

  • Foundation interior uses walls rather than posts with support footers.

The inspector said that although it meets code, he feels that the combination of “light framing”, “sparse rebar”, and use of a single top plate all point to a fairly “cheap design.” He didn’t seem confident that it could withhold a 6.8-earthquake.

Given this impression, and the fact that this is a larger national “production” builder (profit over quality), and the seismic risks, does this sound like trouble in the making? What sort of risks would be incurred/exacerbated by use of the the design features described above?

I’m struggling with the fact that it meets local code, and I would think/hope that code has a decent “margin of safety” built into it to ensure that the structural integrity is not compromised.

Some perspective is appreciated. What would you all do? Are there any other questions on design I should ask the inspector to help arrive at an answer?

I would appreciate help!


Code is code.
If you wish to build with the builder than modify any plans he has and absorb the cost over-run.
just insure that the key areas of concern that transfer load are over built.
Just my 2 cents.

I still scratch my head seeing every contractor do it the old way. It is almost ingrained to go to the minimum with the building code.