Advanced house framing, sometimes called optimum value engineering (OVE), refers to framing techniques designed to reduce the amount of lumber used and waste generated in the construction of a wood-framed house. These techniques boost energy efficiency by replacing lumber with insulation material while maintaining the structural integrity of the home. Advanced framing improves the whole-wall R-value by reducing thermal bridging (thermal flow that occurs when materials that are poor insulators displace insulation) through the framing and maximizing the insulated wall area.
Advanced framing techniques include:
- Designing on two-foot modules to make the best use of common sheet sizes and reduce waste and labor.
- Spacing wall studs up to 24 inches on center.
- Spacing floor joists and roof rafters up to 24 inches on center.
- Using two-stud corner framing and inexpensive drywall clips or scrap lumber for drywall backing instead of studs.
- Eliminating headers in non-load-bearing walls.
- Using in-line framing in which floor, wall, and roof framing members are vertically in line with one another and loads are transferred directly downward.
- Using single lumber headers and top plates when appropriate.
This approach results in a structurally sound home with lower material and labor costs than a conventionally framed house. Advanced framing techniques can be implemented individually or as a complete package. Fully implementing advanced framing techniques can result in materials cost savings of up to $500 or $1,000 (for a 1,200- and 2,400-square-foot house, respectively), labor cost savings of between 3% and 5%, and annual heating and cooling cost savings of up to 5%.
Check with local building officials early in the design process to ensure that advanced framing techniques meet wind, seismic, and other codes in your area. Also, choose a contractor familiar with this approach. Otherwise, the framing carpenters’ learning process may slow down your job.