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The Rough In Stage

You may have heard of people in the construction industry using the term “rough” in context of a construction related project. This doesn’t refer to how the project is going (hopefully), but what they most likely are referring to is the “Rough In” stage.

Why’s It Called Rough?

The term “Rough” in construction refers to the phase of the project in which all of the basic framework is installed for the systems that assist in the home’s overall function. In broad terms, it’s essentially the stuff that gets covered up within the walls in most homes.

For example, “rough framing” includes the structure’s wood or metal studs and structural components. “Rough mechanicals” are the HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system ductwork and major equipment. The term “rough electrical” refers to the wires running from the home’s main panel to the outlet receptacle boxes and switches in each room and the “rough plumbing” is the supply lines that carry the water to each fixture, the drain lines that carry the water away, and the venting system which helps it all function.

Neatness Counts

Although the majority of this work gets covered up, never to be seen again, it’s important that the work is neat and orderly so the systems perform as they are intended.

Planning for Future Work

The more well planned out a system is directly relates to how easily it can be accessed or added on to in the future, whether that be for maintenance, repair/service, or expansion. In you have plans to modify or add on to your home in the future, be sure to disclose that with your contractor so he or she can accommodate your needs to save headaches and expenses in the future.

Aspects to Consider

In order for your project to move smoothly, it’s important to have all of the design selections made by this point so things can be laid out and planned for. The size and style of appliances, lighting and plumbing fixtures all directly affect how each system is “roughed in.” It can get costly if selections are changed later in the project.

Some municipalities require these trades to be performed exclusively by licensed tradesmen, but this may vary county to county. Be sure to check with your local authorities on licensing requirements. In most instances, the town requires specific inspections of each component in order to move on with the next stage.

Teamwork & Collaboration

Often, the rough trades will be performed by several different subcontractors on the same project. It’s important that all trades involved work together to plan their routes because room between joists and studs can get crowded quickly.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to reach out with any feedback or topics you would like to see covered.

author avatar
Dan Arket