IMPORTANT - PLEASE REVIEW
The handling, storing, installing and temporary bracing of walls requires specialized training, clearly implemented procedures, and careful planning and communication among the contractor and installation crew. Handling and installing walls without appropriate training, planning and communication greatly increases the probability of an accident resulting in property damage, serious personal injury and/or death.
Prior to wall installation, the documents should be examined and disseminated to all appropriate personnel, in addition to proper training and a clear understanding of the installation plan, any applicable fall protection requirements, and the intended temporary wall bracing requirements.
Examine the building’s foundation and related installation conditions. Begin wall installation only after any unsatisfactory conditions have been corrected. Do not cut, drill, notch or otherwise alter the walls beyond the limitations specified in the building code. Report any damage before installation.
The information below is offered as minimum guidelines only. Nothing contained in this jobsite package should be construed in any manner as expanding the scope of responsibility of, or imposing any additional liabilities on.
Throughout this document, the term “wall panel(s)” refers to either walls built off-site and delivered to the jobsite or walls that are built on-site.
Wall panels are generally not marked in any way to identify the frequency or location of out-of-plane temporary diagonal bracing. Follow the recommendations for handling, installing and temporary bracing provided in this document or by the building designer. All permanent bracing design is the responsibility of the building designer.
This document is intended for “typical” installation conditions. The contractor is responsible for ensuring the appropriateness of any bracing strategy and quality of installation.
Disregarding handling, installing and bracing safety recommendations is the major cause of wall panel installation accidents. Ignoring an unsafe condition or action greatly increases the probability of an accident resulting in property damage, serious personal injury and/or death.
Wear personal protective equipment for the eyes, feet, hands and head when working with wall panels.
Stacks of walls and building materials may be unstable and/or slippery. Avoid walking on stacks.
Storage & Handling
Avoid bending walls out-of-plane.
The contractor is responsible for properly receiving, unloading and storing the wall panels built off-site and delivered to the jobsite. Unload wall panels carefully to smooth surface to prevent damage.
Wall panels may be unloaded directly on the ground at the time of delivery or stored temporarily in contact with the ground after delivery. If wall panels are to be stored for more than one week, place blocking of sufficient height beneath the stack at 8’ to 10’ on center and cover stacks to protect from the environment but allow for ventilation. Wall panels built on-site may be stored in the same manner.
If bundles of wall panels are stacked, support and separate bundles with wood blocks spaced 8’ to 10’ apart. Keep wood blocks aligned vertically. Limit stack heights to no more than 10’.
Wall panels with the windows already installed must be stored vertically. Properly brace wall panels to prevent tipping or toppling.
Use caution if handling and installing wall panels by hand as panels can be heavy and awkward.
If a forklift is used to move wall panels, set forks at wide spacing and use approved extensions to ensure wall panels are well supported.
Always lift wall panels from at least two pick points, spaced far enough apart to ensure panel stability. Reinforce panels in the viccinity of the lifting points, if necessary, to resist hoisting loads. Know the weight of the product being lifted and make sure the capacity of the lifting equipment is adequate to perform the lift.
Use special care in windy conditions or near power lines and airports.
Use care not to damage wall panels with the forks of the forklift or the rigging/lifting equipment used with cranes.
Installation & Temporary Bracing
Temporary bracing and worker safety are the responsibility of the installer. Make sure this information is understood by all persons involved in the installation of wall panels.
Steps to Setting Wall Panels
The figures accompanying Steps 1-12 assume that the exterior walls are installed and braced first, followed by the interior walls. Some contractors prefer to install and brace the interior walls before the exterior walls. For wall panels built off-site, be sure to coordinate with the wall panel manufacturer which installation sequence is preferred.
STEP 1: Start with a foundation that is level and square. If the foundation is not level or square, plan for any adjustments before the wall panels are built or manufactured, if possible.
STEP 2: Be sure the installation crew is familiar with the provisions of:
- the construction documents (i.e., architectural/structural plans and specifications),
- this handling, installing and bracing summary sheet,
- site specific conditions and issues, and
- OSHA jobsite lifting and fall protection requirements.
STEP 3: Verify floor deck or slab dimensions with those provided in the construction documents or on the wall panel placement diagram. Check all floor openings (e.g. stairway, fireplace, etc.).
STEP 4: Snap chalk lines at the locations of the walls.
STEP 5: For wall panels built off-site, write the panel numbers on the floor, in accordance with the wall panel placement diagram, to better identify the location of each wall panel.
STEP 6: Set the first two walls and fasten together tightly at the top, middle and bottom of the adjoining studs and attach the bottom plate to the floor per the requirements of the building code or as specified by the building designer. Note: It may be necessary to begin wall placement near the center of a wall line to distribute any dimension discrepancies equally within the wall line.
STEP 7: Install temporary bracing as each wall is set but not to exceed the spacing intervals in the table below. Use minimum 2x4 stress graded lumber attached to the wall and floor or ground support with a minimum of 2-16d (0.135x3-1/2”) nails. Temporary bracing is very important for ensuring stability of the walls as construction proceeds.
STEP 8: Continue setting the walls in accordance with the construction documents or wall placement diagram.
- It may be necessary to shim the walls to compensate for deviations in slab or subfloor elevations. If required, be sure to shim for full contact between the wall and the slab or subfloor. Adjust fastener size accordingly to ensure adequate attachment of the wall to the floor.
- If the walls must be “racked” in order to compensate for a sloping slab or subfloor, the openings will no longer be square.
- Wall panels used in long wall lines MUST be butted together tightly to keep the length of the wall line from “growing”. Wall panel manufacturers often compensate for this by undersizing the length of each wall panel by 1/16” to 1/8”.
STEP 9: Install the upper top plates.
STEP 10: Make sure walls are attached to the floor with the required number and type of fasteners and connectors specified in the construction documents.
STEP 11: Add bracing (i.e, temporary and permanent) as necessary to maintain wall stability.
remove any temporary wall bracing until the building has been closed-in and all permanent bracing has been installed.
Wall support conditions (i.e. floor or foundation dimensions) must be accurate to within +/- ½” relative to plan dimensions.
Locate walls within +/- ½” of plan dimension.
Maximum out-of-plumb of wall is Height/384 (see Table below).
*Wall installation tolerances per “Model Guidelines for Design, Fabrication and Installation of Engineered Panelized Walls,” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. Check with authority having jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the governing building code.
Construction loads are those loads imposed on the unfinished building as a result of the construction process. Typical construction loads include the weight of the workers, equipment, and building materials, to name a few. For example, a bundle of plywood sheathing or gypsum board stacked on trusses temporarily creates construction loads.
Make sure that the floor assembly is properly restrained and braced according to the building code, building designer's plans and specs and/or the guidelines in BCSI-B1***, BCSI-B2***, and Guide for Handling, Installing, Restraining & Bracing of Engineered Wood Products before placing any construction loads on any floor system. Construction loads shall only be placed on sheathed or fully restrained and braced structures.
Stacking excessive amounts of construction materials on any floor or roof structural elements (e.g., trusses, joists or rafters) is an unsafe practice. Property damage, personal injury and/or death are possible if this warning is not heeded.
Floor or roof structural elements (e.g., trusses, joists or rafters) that have been over-stressed due to excessive construction loading will usually show excessive sagging (deflection) and at least a portion of this deflection will remain even after the load has been removed. In more severe cases, broken members and/or failed connections may result.
Construction Loading DO's and DO NOTs
exceed stack heights listed in the table.
stack materials on unbraced structural elements (e.g., trusses, joists or rafters)
overload the structural elements (e.g., trusses, joists or rafters).
distribute loads over as many structural elements as possible. Position stacks of materials flat with the longest dimension perpendicular to the structural elements, as shown.
allow the stack to lean against walls, or stack materials so they overload single or small groups of structural elements.
stack materials along exterior supports or directly over interior supports of properly restrained and braced structures.
stack materials at or near the midspan of the structural element. Never exceed stack heights provided in the table above unless alternative information is provided by the Building Designer, Truss Designer or Truss Manufacturer.
drop loads on structural element. The impact can damage the structural elements even if the load is small.
leave construction materials on lifting equipment until installation, if possible.
stack materials at locations that will produce instability, such as on cantilevers or near girder, beam and header connections.
pile cut-off tile and/or other construction waste on trusses.
cut, drill, notch or otherwise alter the walls beyond the limitations specified in the building code unless such alterations are approved by the building designer.
Walls that have been inappropriately altered may render the limited warranties null and void.
NOTE: Product manufacturers rely on the presumption that the contractor and crane operator (if applicable) are professionals with the capability to undertake the work they have agreed to do on any given project. If the contractor believes it needs assistance in some aspect of the construction project, it should seek assistance from a competent party. The methods and procedures outlined in this document are intended to ensure that the overall construction techniques employed will put the wall into place SAFELY. These recommendations for handling, installing and temporary bracing the walls are based upon the collective experience of leading personnel involved with wall manufacture and installation, but must, due to the nature of responsibilities involved, be presented only as a GUIDE for use by a qualified building designer or contractor. It is not intended that these recommendations be interpreted as superior to the building designer’s design specification for handling, installing and temporary bracing walls and it does not preclude the use of other equivalent methods for bracing and providing stability for the walls, columns, floors, roofs and all the interrelated structural building components as determined by the contractor. Thus, DrJ expressly disclaims any responsibility for damages arising from the use, application, or reliance on the recommendations and information contained herein.
Copyright 2015 ® Structural Building Components Association (SBCA) and DrJ Engineering, LLC. This information is being provided so that jobsite safety information is consistent with SBCA best practices for installation of structural framing materials. Refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions for specific information about installing this product, as well as the Installation Guide, which assists the Installer and Building Inspector in properly applying the product to comply with the code.