Optimum Value Engineering Framing

Optimum Value Engineering
By Peg Syverson

Optimum Value Engineering can result in a reduced quantity of material used and lower labor costs. Using either the complete Optimum Value Engineering system or applying it by components, the building will be improving its energy efficiency and its overall performance. Builders and Contractors starting to use this technique might require special training that can result in a decrease in framing speed until they become familiar with the system. The main idea behind Optimum Value Engineering is to maximize material usage while still meeting stringent code regulations and structural requirements.

Optimum Value Engineering Benefits

  • Reduces construction waste
  • Maximizes material usage
  • Improves energy efficiency by displacing unnecessary lumber with insulation
  • Saves cutting and waste on sheet materials
  • In a 28' x 40' two-story house, the savings are equivalent to eliminating about 35 studs
  • Wider stud spacing reduces heat loss by reducing the amount of through-the-wall-wood
  • Insulation levels up to R-21 can be achieved
  • The joists framing into the structural member are shortened.
  • The insulation in the exterior wall will be continued past the partition framing
  • Ideal for buildings that will be repeated in on the same site
  • Saves material and labor costs and conserves resources by reducing the use of large-dimension framing
  • On non-bearing partitions, in a typical home, the equivalent of 2 to 3 dozen studs are likely to be saved

Optimum Value Engineering Drawbacks

  • Some building codes do not allow this framing method, especially in high wind areas
  • Additional planning is required
  • Extra labor and thought is involved in shortening the joists
  • Bearing and non-bearing walls might require additional bracing until the floor or roof above has been built
  • Special training will be needed at early stages or if crew unfamiliar with the methodology
  • Crews might be slowed down due to differences in frame spacing
  • Not recommended with odd dimensions and multiple small offsets
  • Thicker decking, cladding and finish materials might be needed
  • Where the Optimized Value Engineering system is used, blocking must be carefully placed to reduce interference with light switches and outlets. Drywall clips must also be installed in some instances where open corner framing technique is being used.

Optimum Value Engineering Innovations

Below is a list of innovations that form part of the Optimum Value Engineering System:

  • Wall and floor framing spacing - Can be increased to 19.2 inches or 24 inches on the floor. Can be combined with the modular layout and single top plate. Floor material, cladding, and interior products must be sized to adequate span measurements without any additional deflection.
  • Modular Layout - Using 24” modules and 24” spaced framing members will maximize material usage. Take notice that the overall dimensions of the framing are the most important when using OVE. Special attention must be given to window size and placement.
  • Single Top Plate, Exterior, and Bearing Walls - Using a single top plate is possible if used with the modular layout systems and with the 24-inch spacing. If the wall is stacked, second floor and roof framing, then the plate will not be taking any vertical load. Continuity must be provided by using steel plates or straps if there is no overlapping plate.
  • Single Top Plate, Interior Non-Bearing Partitions - Any non-bearing partition can be built with a single top plate. If used with a normal double plate, you might be required to use the lengths of two studs.
  • Right-Sized Headers - Normally all headers in a building frame are designed to work against the maximum load and span that they can take. Using Optimum Value Engineering, each header must be tailored for its particular load and span conditions, reducing the needs for larger headers or additional material.