A Courageous Builder Embraces Advanced Framing Techniques

Lucas Hamilton

Lucas Hamilton

Advanced Framing Technique, also known as Optimum Value Engineering (OVE), is a change from 2 x 4 to 2 x 6 home construction wood framing.  This concept has been around for quite awhile but has not been widely embraced by home builders.

Advanced Framing Technique enables a builder to use 20 percent less wood in the framing, which decreases the amount of labor and provides a stronger frame.  While it’s a better use of raw materials and can translate into 20 percent savings, it does present a significant learning curve to the builder.

In building science, we love OVE because it creates a 5-1/2” cavity rather than a 3-1/2” cavity which allows for a better insulated home. As an insulation manufacturer (among many other construction products and systems) we would like to see more builders embrace this because it makes a more energy efficient building. However, you can’t make a change in a building without affecting the rest of the building. This presents a learning curve for builders because material calculations may need to be adjusted and framers need to be retrained in this technique which takes additional time and resources.

It takes courage to go through this learning curve especially in this economy.

One of the most courageous builders we know, Hearthstone Homes in Omaha, Nebraska, as of January 11, 2010, has switched over to Advanced Framing Technique.  They are, as we discussed in a previous blog, very focused on the energy consumption of their homes and want to guarantee low energy bills to their home buyers.  When they have gotten through the curve, they will be able to demonstrate that they have been able to:

  • Reduce the consumption of raw materials and the associated costs, therefore, reducing carbon footprints for the homes
  • Reduce energy bills for the homeowners over time
  • Reduce their cost which allows them to be more competitive and invest it other features in the homes

Hats off to them for going through this learning curve in a market like this and paying the price now so that when the market returns, they can hit the ground running and meet the increased demand without slowing down.

Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications at CertainTeed Corporation.