Rough-in refers to the phase of construction when 'rough' framing, piping and wiring are installed in your property. During the rough-in phase, your walls are still open and the drywall is not installed, which allows your MEP (mechanical, electrical & plumbing) contractors to install their 'rough' piping, wiring & ductwork in the property.
Step #1: Planning/Coordination
Before you start framing-in new walls and installing new piping and wiring you will need to have plans in place that your contractors can use to build the project.
Utilize an online CAD program such as Homestyler
to create a sketch of the new floor plan, and add notes for clarity.
Once your complete your plans and before you start rough-in work, walk-through the property with your Contractors and discuss your Plans and Scope of Work to ensure you and your Contractor are on-the same page.
Step #2: Rough Framing
The first step after your complete the Demolition phase is Framing where your contractors will install new structural wood framing.
On renovation projects, your framing contractor will install new interior wall framing and openings according to your floor plans.
If your project involves new construction or an addition, your framing contractor will install the complete framing system including your floor joists, sub-flooring, wall framing, ceiling joists & roof rafters.
On new construction or addition projects, your local building department may require a Framing Inspection to ensure the Structural Framing meets local building requirements.
Once the framing is completed your MEP Contractors can rough-in the Plumbing, HVAC & Electrical work. While it is possible for all of these contractors to work simultaneously, it's best to schedule these Contractors separately so they aren't getting in each other's way on the project.
Step #3: Mechanical Rough-in
The Mechanical rough-in work also known as HVAC work (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) involves the installation of the ductwork and HVAC equipment. Ductwork is installed prior to any plumbing or electrical work that may interfere with the installation process. After all, it's much easier for plumbers and electricians to work around ductwork rather than the other way around.
HVAC Rough-in Steps
- Ductwork Installation - Your HVAC Contractor will start by running the ductwork in the attic, or if your property has a crawlspace or a basement, perhaps in the floor joists.
- Set Equipment - At this point the HVAC Contractor will install the furnace, & condenser unit.
- Start Up - Once the electrician gets the power turned on to the property the HVAC technician will start-up and test the equipment to ensure it is working properly.
Once the ductwork is installed your your Plumbing Contractor will install the gas lines, waste lines &, hot/cold water supply lines. The water supply lines are then capped until the plumbing fixtures are installed in the finish phase.
Plumbing Rough-in Steps
- Layout - Prior to installation your Plumbing Contractor should layout all of the fixture locations for your kitchen & bathroom fixture according to your plans.
- Gas Lines - Your Plumbing Contractor will start by running the gas lines to the gas appliance locations such as your Furnace, Stove & Fireplaces.
- Bathtubs/Shower Units - Once the gas lines are installed, the Plumbing Contractor will install the bathtubs and one-piece shower/tub units in all of the bathrooms.
- Waste / Vent Piping - Next, the Plumbing Contractor will install the waste and vent piping for all of your kitchen and bathroom sinks, tubs, showers & toilets.
- Hot/Cold Water Supply Piping - Finally, your Plumbing Contractor will install the hot water/cold water supply piping for your kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures.
- Water Test - Once your plumber completes the installation he will cap the water supply lines and turn on the water to check for leaks.
Electrical rough-in involves the installation of the Electrical rough-in is typically the last rough-in trade on-site because it's easier to run wires around ductwork and pipes than vice versa.
Electrical Rough-in Steps
- Layout the Plan & Devices - Layout and mark locations of all switches, lights and outlets on studs
- Nail Up Junction Boxes - Once devices are laid out, junction boxes and can lights are mounted.
- Pull Wiring - Once junction boxes are mounted, the Electrician will drill holes in the studs and install the wiring from box-to-box.
- Electrical Service Panel - Finally, your electrician will mount and build the electrical panel, meter box, grounding and overhead service wire.
During the electrical rough-in phase all wires are left bare and are generally not connected to any switches, outlets or devices.
Once the Rough-In work is complete you should walk the property your contractor and note any areas that you expected outlets or fixtures that might have been missed. If something was missed or you want to add or change something, now is the time to make the change. It will be much easier and cheaper to make a change now while everything is exposed before the drywall is installed and finished.
Once you have completed the framing and MEP Rough-in, you need to call to arrange an inspection from your local Building Department. Your local Building Department will inspect the work to ensure that the work is in compliance with local building codes.