The most important part of a rough opening as- sembly is the connection between the header and jamb studs. Ironically, it is the element that tends to vary the most in construction method and quality. A built-up header assembly is con- nected to the jamb studs by cutting the ends of the stud and track members into tabs that extend past the end of the header and over the jamb studs. One method is to cut the legs of the track sections long to develop dog-ear tabs. These tabs get screwed to jamb studs.
The connection between built-up header and jamb stud is made by dog-ear tabs cut out of the track legs. The structural value of the connection becomes de- pendent on the preferences and ability of the worker who builds the assembly, who is sometimes the low- est paid and least experienced member of the crew.
Employing non-standardized, fi eld cut built-
up fabrication, the quality and structural value of these connections depends entirely on the skill and consistency of the worker cutting and as- sembling the headers. That worker is, in effect, designing the connection, determining the size and shape of the tab that holds up everything. To save money, contractors often assign this task to the lowest-paid (i.e. least experienced) member of the framing team. If the header assembly’s screw/weld
A manufactured header system, showing the header, optional stiffening insert, attachment clip and wide-fl ange jamb stud.
Todd Brady is president of Sacramento, Calif.- based Brady Construction Innovations, makers of the Pro-X Rough Opening system and Slip-Track head of wall solutions. He is a metal stud fram- ing expert with 30 years fi eld and contracting experience and a passion for effi cient, code- approved building methods. Brady Construction Innovations was founded in 1989 in an effort to bring trade-friendly products to the industry.
Steven H. Miller is an award-winning writer and photographer specializing in issues of the construction industry. He is creative director of Chusid Associates, a Tarzana, Calif.-based consulting fi rm providing marketing and technical services to building products manufacturers.
patterns are not clearly detailed, they, too, will be determined by the worker making the as- semblies, who will decide how many screws or welds to use and where to place them. The result can be extremely inconsistent, even within a single project. This can potentially cause delays or rejections during inspections, and could compromise the integrity of the project. On-site welding can bring other complications, including toxic fumes from welding galvanized parts. Clearly, standardizing this common struc-
tural confi guration would be a benefi t to both designer and owner. Pre-engineered, manufac- tured members with code approvals eliminate much of the individual detailing of openings and avoid the as-built variations from the details and inconsistencies of construction.