To conserve materials and save money, avoid overbuilding and design on 4-ft. modules.
Synopsis: This is an introduction to the Optimum Value Engineered house, a method of framing devised in the 1970s to reduce waste of construction materials. The author, director of industrial engineering on the project, explains the approach and introduces such ideas as economical corner framing and the use of plywood headers.
Back in January 1973, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Research Center was commissioned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to devise a cost-effective framing system. I was the director of industrial engineering on that project, and what came out of it was the Optimum Value Engineered (OVE) house.
OVE is like a streamlined version of conventional wood framing. NAHB took a long, hard look at waste—materials that added nothing to the strength, durability or marketability of stickframed houses. The OVE house was built without superfluous materials. With less material to put into the house, there was less work to do, so money was saved on both materials and labor.
The OVE house proved to be safe, marketable and inexpensive: everything HUD wanted in 1973. Nowadays, with the environment getting almost as much attention as the economy, DVE makes even better sense. Because the system reduces the amount of lumber products in a house, it conserves natural resources.
Most builders, regardless of production volume and price of their homes, will find the OVE approach to framing easy to incorporate. Many builders throughout the country have already instituted many of the lumber- and plywood-savings methods prescribed by OVE. Most OVE methods are accepted by the major model building codes, but you should check with your local building officials before trying these methods.
If you want to give OVE a try, start with design. A cost-effective floor plan has the most floor area enclosed by the least amount…