Lumber Supplier: MegaCo Vs. Local Fellas
Gotta start a relationship with my lumber supplier. Question is: do I go with a Goliath like Lowes or an independent. My gut instinct is always the local family-run places, but I'd be a moron if I didn't check out what everyone has to offer. And since I'm using engineered lumber instead of dimensional lumber for most of the framing, the Building Dept wants to see manufacturers design calculations to prove that these new-fangled products will indeed hold my house up. Lowe's had a couple nice guys at the Prodesk but it had two drawbacks: 1. Lowe's doesn't offer any service that helps you select engineered structural members - "that's the architect's job" and they're right, but some lumber places do offer this as an in-house service (and I want to double-check my choices). 2. They have a cool third party service called AccurateEstimates.com that does a blueprint takeoff (exact materials list based on your blueprints), but this is an outside service and their engineered lumber has to be ordered special. Basically Lowe's would be a middleman, farming out services and engineered product knowledge to outside companies. I imagine this will change as the engineered lumber market grows. Tomorrow I'm going to a couple local places.