Going, going, gone green? Not if you are still framing your projects the way your daddy did. Green means more than using sustainable sources of materials or hyper–insulating your projects. The three “R’s” of the green movement are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. There should be a fourth “R”, Rethink. Rethink your processes and how you have built in the past and where your profits are coming from in the future. Material used wisely is money. To be truly green, you must reduce the amount of material going into your project and at the same time reduce, reuse or recycle the waste (trash) coming out. Advanced framing techniques (a.k.a. Optimum Value Engineering and Value Engineered) focus on reducing the amount of material used in a home as well as reducing the waste.
Some advanced framing techniques include:
- Inline framing – Stacking rafters over studs over floor joists
- Increasing on center spacing of framing members – 19.2” and 24”
- Using the “right size” headers and eliminating headers in non-load bearing walls
- Utilizing Engineered Wood Products in floors, walls and roofs
- Prefabricated wall panels
- Designing with roof and floor trusses
- Purchasing pre-cut, ready to install framing components.
- Purchasing prefabricated components, such as, stairs, dormers, etc.
- Designing the project to dimensions of framing materials (2’ increments)
The quickest, most cost effective way of going green without breaking the budget on redesign or re-engineering is to make the most of pre-cut and ready to install framing components. Providing materials in a “ready to install” state is a growing trend in the building materials supply industry. Panelizing, componentizing and prefabrication can be applied to almost every project. The advantages include:
- Little or no on-site waste
- Faster construction cycle
- No on-site loss of material
- Purchasing only the correct amount of material
- Limited installation errors
Some suppliers add a minimal charge for pre-cutting materials; however, when compared to the cost of dumpsters, wasted material, lost time, lost material and lower labor costs, the savings can be significant. Recently, at an active adult project in Lexington, MA the framing contractor decided to use a pre-cut engineered I-Joist floor system from National Lumber. He claims his time to build has been reduced by one day over the previous duplex with the same floor plan built using nominal length I-joists. The savings came from the floor system only — the pre-cut I-joists were labeled to correspond to the full color layout provided by National Lumber’s Engineering Department to speed up installation and ensure proper placement. Imagine the possibilities of using a total ready-to-install package of wall panels, roof trusses and precision end trimmed components.
The benefits are easy to see: lower construction costs, lower disposal costs and smaller environmental impact = a smaller Waste Line and an Enlarged Bottom Line.
– Phill Barrett, National Lumber Engineered Wood Products Division