Out of the Ground

As phase two of construction of the 2009 HGTV Dream Home progresses, walls are going up, the roof is erected, and interior and exterior finishing work begins. Construction continues at a fast pace, yet care is taken to make sure the 2009 HGTV Dream Home stands up to the elements, which in California means earthquakes, among other forces of nature.

The Dream Team took a ground-up approach to designing the shear walls, says Bruce Lee, HGTV Dream Home builder. "Each house is different. And as a structural engineer engineers the house, he has certain requirements that he has to follow from the state of California for wind shear and seismic [activity]," Lee says. "So he engineers each wall, and each wall might have a different capacity, so the nailing structure would be different. That nailing of the plywood is all connected to the foundation with plywood and clips all the way down to the foundation."

In the event of a massive earthquake, the plan, of course, is for the house to stay put. "In my opinion, this house isn't going anywhere," Lee notes. "This thing is sound. This thing is tight. The theory behind it is, if there's any movement it might shake a little bit, but it won't lift because there's actually bolts that are held on by hold-downs that go all the way back to the foundation. So it stops the movement and the lift."

Once the walls were properly designed, engineered and installed, it was on to the roof. An engineered truss system supplies the structure needed to properly support the home's roof. The trusses were positioned by crane and Lee's team rolled them out in roughly two days.

"And after we roll them we put up what they call ‘catwalks,' which are two-by-fours that tie them all together," Lee explains. "So from one end of the house to the other end of the house they're all tied together. And then once we started doing that, we put the backing in and we put the roof sheeting on, and then virtually in a few days the roof was sheeted. They help speed up the home [construction]."

A portion of the 2009 HGTV Dream Home features a flat roof, which was included to create a longer ridgeline. Original plans called for a hip roof, which makes a shorter ridgeline. Aesthetically this wasn't the appearance the Dream Team was looking for, so the flat roof was added, Lee says. "You can't tell from the ground that there's a flat roof up there. But it looks like a longer ridgeline, and that gives the house a better look," he adds.

The flat roof does not negatively affect the structure, Lee says, as long as the truss manufacturer knew what was wanted. "There were three things [we wanted]: the load capacity for the weight of the composition shingles; the flat roof; and an area in the side - the middle of these trusses - for a mechanical room. So they were able to engineer that once I told them what I wanted."