Mid-sized production builder
Advanced framing from a panel factory
Liberty Village, a 20-unit development with 16 detached, single-family homes in Lincoln, Nebraska.
-- Fernando Pages-Ruiz
Pages-Ruiz does all he can to make his homes as affordable as possible, so he jumped at the opportunity to use advanced framing techniques when he learned about the advantages through a
PATH Field Evaluation: lumber, labor, and cost savings; a shorter framing schedule; and a more energy-efficient home.
"The very nature of advanced framing is to do advanced planning and detail every aspect of the construction assembly, just as an auto manufacturer would carefully lay out a chassis to receive all the other components that eventually assemble a car," says Pages-Ruiz. "You have to optimize the stud layout and header sizing, and revise the architectural drawings to align doors and windows with framing on all walls that aren't architecturally critical. Otherwise, it's just a question of getting used to thinking in 24- instead of 16-inch increments and working out the details. You then have to communicate these details to the framers."
"You are trying to teach the framers a new approach, so they resist. It takes thinking because they are laying things out differently. Their automatic moves don't work: they have to actually turn down the radio and look at the plans. That slows things down and it engenders a lot of resistance."
"I solved this problem by training new people who had no preconception about how framing was done. I started with guys who were essentially carpenter's helpers, and trained them in-house. I build the same houses over and over again, so this was a little bit easier for me because they didn't have to learn to become carpenters. They only had to learn how to erect these specific houses."
Fernando Pages-Ruiz has 26 years of experience in the construction industry. He founded Brighton Construction in 1985, and now builds about 50 homes a year, selling for $105,000 to $130,000. He is the author of
Building an Affordable House: Trade Secrets to High-Value, Low-Cost Construction.
Why he uses advanced framing:
I save about one-third off my lumber bill using advanced framing techniques, and I also get a more insulated house."