A new home under construction in suburban Chicago is providing a hands-on look at how the right framing practices can conserve energy, speed construction, and reduce utility bills. 

The Inside View Project, a demonstration house by Beechen & Dill Homes, served as a learning tool for builders, architect, and code officials who toured it this summer it to learn about its advanced framing techniques. 

Co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory and APA – The Engineered Wood Association, the Inside View home features advanced framing practices such as 24-inch on-center spacing and corners and headers that provide more space for cavity insulation. The robust floor system also features 24-inch on-center spacing, allowing for ductwork runs while eliminating about one-third of the required joists and subsequently requiring one-third less labor and adhesive. Higher-series, deeper 14-inch I-joists allowed the builder to avoid double joists and, in combination with an upgraded 7/8-inch OSB subfloor, resulted in a stiff floor system despite the wider spacing. 


While advanced framing doesn’t require special skills or tools, there is a learning curve for contractors who have been framing with traditional methods their entire career, according to APA-The Engineered Wood Association. Successfully implementing advanced framing techniques requires buy-in and participation from the entire team, including architects, executives, suppliers, framers, and HVAC installers. Here are some tips:

·         Get trained: APA offers an array of resources to get you and your team started understanding the principles and techniques of advanced framing, including “The Advanced Framing Construction Guide,” Form M400, available for free at www.apawood.org. APA staff members also are available to provide consultation and education sessions to designers and installers as they embark on new advanced framing techniques.

·         Meet as a team: Involve your full team as early as possible. Ensure everyone is on board with the advanced framing techniques and understands the differences in required materials and layouts, as well as how trades farther down the line will be affected.

·         Work with your local building department: APA recommends that you consult your local building official early in the design phase to verify and obtain acceptance of 24-inch framing techniques in your jurisdiction.

“We were the first in the area to build energy-efficient homes and to guarantee energy bills; now it’s industry standard,” says Ed Kubiak, director of construction for Beechen & Dill. “With prices going up and labor harder to find, techniques such as these that reduce energy use while making more efficient use of materials and allowing for more efficient construction are the direction the industry needs to be going.” 

Advanced framing reduces unnecessary structural members by placing framing members only where they’re needed. Key advantages include energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, structural integrity, and resource conservation. 

This summer, visitors had the opportunity to tour the house while it was under construction, with walls and floors left exposed for easy access to viewing and learning about these framing techniques. The two-story, 2,880-square-foot house in Lockport, Ill., includes four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, along with a two-story family room, full basement, and three-car garage. As part of a partnership with the Environments for Living program, all of Beechen & Dill’s homes carry an energy bill guarantee, assuring potential buyers of long-term operational costs. 

“Energy-efficient 2x6 framing can reap significant monetary savings for homeowners throughout the life of their home, while also helping the builder save on installation time and save costs in meeting the energy code. It’s a win-win,” said Tom Kositzky, director of field services for APA. “What’s more, these techniques are not difficult to implement or understand; once designers, builders, and code officials get familiar with the practices, they can easily become a regular part of their routine.”