White Paper: Framing the American Dream 2015
In 2015, our "Framing the American Dream" project compared a stick-framed home side-by-side with a component-framed home to evaluate the relative efficiency of the two approaches.
The results are conclusive: component framing is by far more efficient in terms of man hours, materials, and waste.
Framing the American Dream 2015
The Structural Building Components Association's 2015 "Framing the American Dream" (FAD) project compared framing techniques for the construction of two identical 2,900-square-foot houses. The results were published in SBC magazine, and are excerpted here.
The first home was built using a stick framing method, where individual dimension lumber pieces for the roof, walls and floor were nailed in place using traditional framing techniques. The second home was framed using prefabricated components — roof trusses, wall panels, and floor trusses — that were manufactured to precision specifications and trucked to the site for assembly.
The goal of the side-by-side comparison was to quantify which approach to framing would take the least time, consume the least materials, and require the least-skilled — and therefore lowest-cost — workers, all while generating the least waste.
The results of the Framing the American Dream study were conclusive: It took 250% longer to construct the stick-framed home.
The component-framed home required 152.1 man-hours to complete; the stick-framed home required 373.5 hours. To put that in perspective, a crew framing with components could frame two and a half homes in the same time it would take to stick frame one home.
Construction of the stick-framed home also required skilled framing carpenters, while the component-framed home was essentially assembled from component parts rather than built from scratch.
The component-framed home produced little jobsite waste — only 12 cubic feet, or about three 32-gallon trash cans. In contrast, the stick-framed home produced approximately 411 cubic feet, or roughly enough waste to fill a 15-yard dumpster.
Both homes were built in Jackson, Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee. Two local homebuilders, Tim O'Brien Homes and Bellman Homes, participated in the Operation Finally Home projec. They, along with many sponsors, donated the building materials used in the homes.