4 baby steps that will save you $150 or more per house

October 18, 2011

"Baby step onto the elevator... baby step into the elevator... I'm in the elevator."

If you have not seen Bill Murray in "What about Bob," make some time for it — very funny movie. Murray plays a whacky character (big stretch) named Bob who has difficulty doing even the smallest of tasks. The humor appears in the way he handles it: he breaks everything down into baby steps to make the tasks easier. This week I am going to look at baby steps toward advanced framing.

Advanced framing is great — it saves a lot of wasted lumber and considerably reduces lumber costs. The issue is that some of the advanced framing methods can be time consuming and difficult to implement. In order to take full advantage of the savings it can take considerable effort and training. However, there are several very simple advanced framing techniques on interior walls alone that can lead to savings. Here are four good examples:




1. Eliminate cripples that are under 24" tall in a non bearing wall, if the span is over 4' keep one cripple in the center to avoid deflection.

2. Eliminate the Jack stud in a non bearing wall. The photo shows two Jack studs. My drawing indicates one, however I have seen builders eliminate all jack studs and pin the cross member from the sides

3. Interior non bearing walls should have studs set at 24" (not 16") on center.

4. Of course eliminate the header in a non bearing wall. I am showing a single 2 x 4 running across the opening. This technique has been successfully implemented by many builders.

There are many other techniques to advanced framing, this is a simple way to get started down the path.

Baby steps to advanced framing, baby steps to lower cost, baby steps to higher profits.



Todd Hallett, AIA, president of TK Design & Associates has been designing award-winning homes for more than 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of its homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was president of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. Todd welcomes your feedback at thallett@tkhomedesign.com or 248.446.1960.


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