How to Avoid the Key Pitfalls in Multifamily Wood Framing  

Wood framing is a critical multifamily construction scope requiring attention and expertise. However, it can also be risky, causing quality issues and schedule delays if not appropriately managed. This is why Pinkard Construction has launched a new framing division, Pinkard Frameworks, to address these challenges.

Recently, Pinkard President Tony Burke and Pinkard Frameworks Manager Dan Harris sat down to discuss the problem with wood framing and the solutions Pinkard can offer. In this division, professionals with in-depth framing knowledge work closely with the design team and key suppliers to ensure framing designs meet architectural and structural intent, constructability, and seamless integration with other trades. Pinkard Frameworks has dedicated framing professionals who can lead subcontractors and interface with the project superintendent to catch minor issues before they become significant problems. Ultimately, taking ownership and responsibility for the wood framing process is the key to success in commercial multifamily construction.

Q: Wood framing is said to be one of the riskiest scopes in commercial construction. What makes it so risky? 

Tony Burke: Wood framing is a unique process that requires a lot of attention and expertise. If not managed properly, it can cause problems that cascade into other trades, leading to quality issues and schedule delays. This is what makes our new framing division so important; our clients, developer partners, design professionals and fellow general contractors can benefit from partnering with such a dedicated and specialized team. 

Dan Harris: Another potential issue is that very few wood framing subcontractors can be bonded. This is proof that the process is risky and requires someone to take ownership. That is why I am so happy to be a part of this new division, Pinkard Frameworks.  

Q: What is the solution to these problems? 

Tony Burke: The solution is to take ownership of the wood framing process. This means involving a general contractor with in-depth framing knowledge and their key suppliers, especially truss fabricators, with the design team. This collaboration results in framing designs that meet architectural and structural intent, ensure constructability, and seamless integration with other trades. 

Dan Harris: A critical aspect of this is cultivating relationships with vendors and holding them to project specifications. This approach ensures quality and saves owners money. 

Q: Can you give an example of how this approach has worked in the past? 

Tony Burke: Pinkard’s recent efforts on Krisana Affordable Housing created a framing design that saved the owner over $250,000. 

Dan Harris: Another example is Pinkard’s recent preconstruction efforts for Boulder County Housing Authority’s project, Willoughby Corner. The initial design was a unique, modern design that required complex engineering. We took the time to work with the design team to understand the factors driving the design decisions. We developed more economical solutions without sacrificing the overall look of the building. 

Q: What role does on-site supervision play in ensuring successful wood framing? 

Dan Harris: Experienced and attentive on-site supervision is crucial. A dedicated framing professional who leads the Framing Subcontractor and interfaces directly with the project superintendent can catch minor issues before they become major problems. This level of supervision ensures the project stays on track and all team members are held accountable for their work. 

Tony Burke: On-site framing supervisors must have the knowledge and authority to make quick decisions and adjustments, saving time and money. 

Q: In summary, what is the key to success in wood framing? 

Tony Burke: Having a team who not only understands the wood framing process start to finish but also takes ownership and responsibility for its success is essential for ensuring that your wood frame project is delivered smoothly on schedule, competitively priced and is a quality build that will last you decades. 

Q: Finally, can you tell us more about Pinkard Frameworks?  

Tony Burke: It’s a wood framing division of Pinkard Construction that will serve as a trade partner to developers and general contractors along the Colorado front range. We are thrilled to have Dan as our new Wood Frame Manager. His 40 years of experience have really let this division hit the ground running.  

Dan Harris: We will continue to self-perform wood framing for Pinkard projects, but other projects will be supported by Pinkard’s Self-Performance Department, including our team of superintendents, carpenters and foremen.  

Pinkard is a Colorado construction company specializing in ground-up, renovation, construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC), and design-build projects for over 60 years.

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