Framing and Mechanical Phases of Your Remodeling Project

by | Jan 10, 2023 | Corinthian Process

Now that we’ve shared  the steps to prepare for a successful home renovation, what to expect during site prep, and what the demo phase looks like, here’s what to expect during the framing and mechanical phases of your remodel.


framing, mechanicals, remodeling projectUpon completion of the demo phase of your project, comes the framing stage.  Most of us don’t think about our home’s structural skeleton that supports the finishing features, such as drywall and roof, to doors and windows – unless there’s a problem.  Small mistakes made during the framing stage can cause headaches later in the project. The lumber package is delivered, and you will begin to see the walls, roof trusses, and decking installed. This stage also includes the windows, exterior doors, and shingles.

There are also many small items that need attention. Blocking must be added behind everything from cabinets to baseboard, so that nails and screws that penetrate the drywall bite into something solid. Window and door headers must align perfectly, as do rows of recessed lights. And there must be enough space between the framing in the right places to fit ductwork and plumbing stacks.

While the framing crew builds to a set of blueprints and specifications, it is important to view the framing skeleton as part of the overall finished product. That’s why the framer works closely with the job supervisor, the professional builder’s on-site manager. The supervisor is someone with many years of experience, who sees the house as an integrated system, and who understands how the structural shell will ultimately interact with all the other elements.

Most homeowners get excited at this stage as they begin to see the space really take shape and can envision the completed project. At this point your municipality will probably require a structural inspection to ensure the remodel meets all building code requirements.


If we look at the framing stage as one that creates the skeleton of the home, then the mechanical stage creates the inner workings that are surrounded and protected by that skeleton. The 3 aspects of the mechanical phase are: 1. heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), 2. Plumbing, and 3. Electrical.

Each of these elements are very important in their own right, as evidenced by the fact that each of these trades must carry a specialty license which is only earned after years of study, practical experience, and some rigorous testing by the government.

  1. HVAC

    HVAC, framing, mechanicalsThe Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning mechanics are the first ones to start in the mechanical phase. The main reason for this is that their work is the bulkiest of all three. The heating ducts are much larger and take up more space than the plumbing or electrical. Therefore, we let them go first so that they can pick their routes for the ductwork and then the other trades must work around them.

    The ductwork on the second floor will be coming out of the ceiling and will be fed by the attic HVAC unit. The location of these ducts (as well as those on the first floor) have been calculated to make sure that the heating and cooling is uniform throughout the home. The ductwork on the first floor generally comes out of the floor and by this time, we will have reviewed this layout with you so that we can minimize any conflicts we might have with your future furniture placement. We will also be coordinating with them on the selections you made that will affect their work – such as the range hoods, downdraft cooktops, etc.

  2. Plumbing

    plumbing, framing, mechanicalsThe plumbers follow the HVAC crew. Their work could take up to a week dependent on the scope of the remodel. You may see both crews in the house at the same time, depending on the schedules. The plumber must coordinate all the selections that you’ve made regarding the plumbing fixtures, cabinets and appliances, so once the home is drywalled all the plumbing lines will be in the right place, and all the behind-the-wall support mechanisms will be there to take care of the all the “shiny stuff” once we hook everything up. What the plumber is doing may look rather random, but he will be locating the pipes that will serve the toilets, vanities, sinks, etc., with a great degree of accuracy by taking the specification sheets from your selections, as well as the cabinet layout that you previously approved. This is all coming together because of the efforts that you put into making all those selections prior to the start of the project. I hope you can see now why selection schedules are so important, because if the plumber could not run his pipes because he did not know exactly where they went, then his operation would come to a standstill.

  3. Electrical

    electrical, framing, mechanicalsThe electricians are the last of the licensed mechanical tradesmen to work their magic in your home. Prior to them beginning their work, you will have approved a lighting plan which will consider what kind of light fixtures you selected and where you would like them to be placed. We will also have discussed how and where you want them switched. Shortly before the electricians get started, you will have also gone through an on-site electrical pre-walk. At this meeting, the electrical plan that has previously been agreed upon will be refined in the 3D atmosphere of a framed in home. At the beginning of this stage, we look very carefully at all the selections that you’ve made that require electricity. This, of course, will include your light fixtures and appliances, but also involves cabinetry and tops as well. Because each fixture and appliance have a special way that it needs to be installed, we need to be sure that we have the correct wire in the size and location that is necessary to service each of your selections. Again, I hope you can see how critical it is for us to have the selections done in advance, to ensure all this information is ready for the electrician prior to them getting started so there are no delays. This is the time to finalize the location of fixtures. As the electrician finishes up his work, it would be a good idea for you to walk the home again with your plan to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything or that we haven’t missed anything. It’s also a good time to make sure that the switches and plugs do not conflict with but complement the placement of your furnishings. If you have any floor-plugs (electrical and/or phone), it is especially important that these be in the exact spot that you want, especially if the area in the floor below is going to be finished. It is very difficult to move these plugs once the wiring is completed.

    During the mechanical phase, we will also talk with you about your audio-visual tech needs, such as internet cable, CAT wire, and routers.  If you have a security system which also includes smoke alarms and sensors, we will work with you and any professionals on coordinating and integrating this during this time.  All of these systems will be hidden in the walls, ceiling and floor system, so addressing them now will save headaches down the line.

You may wonder, how long this phase lasts and why the mechanical phase is important. Typically, this phase can last from three to four days for a simple renovation to 2-4 weeks depending on the scope of your renovation project. It’s an important phase as it will give you an opportunity to look at each system individually with us and we can make any recommendations or upgrades if we deem necessary now that we can see behind walls and ceilings, which we were unable to do before the drywall is down and we can now lay eyes on the systems.

Our framers, with oversight of our job supervisor constantly think ahead to all the work that comes afterwards, and make sure that the framed structure will support a quality product. The knowledge and experience needed to make sure this happens is part of the value a professional design/builder brings to the table. Once all the mechanical trades have done their work, then the Inspectors carefully review everything we’ve done and make sure that it complies with the local and national codes. At that time, the Inspectors will also carefully inspect the framing of the home to make sure that that has also been done correctly as well. Once we receive the bulk of those inspections, we will then insulate the home, have that work inspected, and then we will start drywall. And the fun continues…

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