A lot of the lumber used to build a wood-frame building is not actually needed. There is a habit to add more than is necessary for structural integrity. By working with a good structural engineer and employing advanced framing techniques, it is possible to build a safe, sturdy structure using about 20 percent less lumber. This not only cuts down on the cost of construction, it also means there is more room to install insulation, creating a higher level of thermal performance.
Advanced framing practices include 24” rather than 16” “on centers” for wall studs and roof rafters, not oversizing headers, using two-stud corners and ladder blocking at partition walls and eliminating unneeded trimmers, cripples and sills. By using these techniques, you can reduce “framing factor” or the percentage of the surface of the wall that is filled with wood, from the typical 25 to 30 percent, to as low as 15 percent. Advanced framing techniques minimize thermal bridging as well as lower costs by using fewer materials and less labor.