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Advanced or smart or efficient framing (OVE)

user-960219 | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

OVE (Optimum Value Engineeered ) framing has been recommended to save on the cost of lumber and allowing for more insulation than typical framing of 2″ X 4″ framing having 16″ on center. One other advantage of the OVE is that headers are eliminated on non-load bearing walls.
I have shown the OVE framing to several seasoned Lincoln NE Habitat for Humanity volunteers as a possible way to reduce the cost of building and increase the insulation. (Seasoned veterans volunteer 16 to 24 hours each week building for Habitat. They have built over 50 homes for Habitat. Their average age is 71.) Any way, most of the regulars indicate that the OVE framing leads to problems when dry walling. Specifically, they point to lack of headers, requirement to use 5/8″ dry wall, and tendency of the dry wall to buckle when using 24″ center as the main reasons they don’t want to change or try the OVE recommendation. Additionally, the local lumber companies indicate few if any of the local contractors use OVE framing. How do I over come the reluctance to try the OVE method? ..

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    I think there are pluses and minuses to OVE, so I can understand the reluctance. Did you see this article?
    The Pros and Cons of Advanced Framing.

  2. bdrfab | | #2

    Old dogs, New tricks.

  3. user-960219 | | #3

    I did read the article you cite and have provided it along with some materials from the Office of Building Technology from the U.S. Department of Energy and articles from Fine Homebuilding. I still am not making much head way.. Perhaps, Aaron is correct. It can be tough to get folks to change the way they have always done things.

    I may make a pitch to have Habitat try the OVE framing on the bi-annual Women's build. Perhaps, the men could learn something from the women??

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    So what's your point? Train them, fire them, or listen to them?

  5. bdrfab | | #5

    Ann: I think you know the answer to the last question.
    Martin: Its hard to fire volunteers. As an employee (even as a volunteer), you do what you're told. You'll probably never get them to like it, or accept it. You'll probably need to convince the higher ups to do it, and train the volunteers to do it.

  6. user-960219 | | #6

    Perhaps the best test would be to build essentially the same house side by side except for the framing. Keep track of the costs and time involved with each method. It could be that the traditional method is less time consuming because the regulars are familiar with it but the OVE method is less costly as far as materials. There is always a push to save on the cost of materials so that's why I thought we should at least consider the OVE method. We are very fortunate to have a group of experienced workers willing to devote so many hours -- I don't want anyone to think I don't value them. I know it's hard to change the way I do things so I expect it is difficult for them to change.

  7. user-945392 | | #7

    I question whether or not 2x6's are better than 2x4's when it comes to OVE.

    First, apply as many of OVE's principals to 2x4 framing as possible, such as: the elimination of jack studs and headers at non-bearing walls; the alignment of openings with stud layouts; the transfer of modest point loads via rim joists; the reduction of the number of studs used at corners and intersections; and so on.

    Then, go to 16" stud spacing as is necessary with 2x4 construction. And if 24" spacing for joists and rafters is more efficient for a particular design, use a double top plate to transfer their loads to the studs.

    All things being equal, for a wall with no openings, the same amount of wood (in terms of nominal sizes or board feet) will be used whether framed with 2x6's at 24" OC with a single top plate, or 2x4's at 16" OC with a double top plate. It's a wash.

    As soon as openings are added, again all things being equal (the same numbers of jack studs, headers, etc., whether framed with 2x6's or 2x4's), then the 2x6 framing can only use more wood than the same layout accomplished with 2x4 framing, a difference that's more and more pronounced as openings become more abundant and/or more complex.

    Is it worth buying more framing wood for the sake of two more inches in the insulation cavity? Maybe for spray foam it is; maybe not if the cavities are filled with a lower R-value insulation such as might be used with insulating foam sheathing.


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