panelized framing, traditional framing, construction efficiency, airtight homes

The Ultimate Power of Panelized Framing : Revolutionizing Construction

Foreword by Ian Thompson, Editor

Improving build speed and quality is a clear benefit of panelized framing, also known as panelized construction. Our host, Matt Risinger, takes an insider’s look at this enhanced method of light timber frame (Stick build) construction, which is gaining popularity in many countries.

In this build, the builder used ply sheathing to connect the upper and lower floors, creating a robust structural system that satisfies stringent shear and USA code requirements.

Gain insights into the smarter “monopoly” style of framing used in this panelized approach. From consistent material quality to quieter job sites and reduced waste, it’s a win-win for efficiency and your neighbors.

Witness the remarkable 40-50% time savings over traditional stick framing! This accelerated pace offsets any potentially higher panelized costs while enabling much quicker project turnarounds.

Join Matt as he delves into the bright future of panelized construction, and how this method is set to transform residential framing across diverse settings with its unbeatable combination of speed, quality, and sustainability.

The Ultimate Power of Panelized Framing : Revolutionizing Construction

Video Transcript

Build shows on the road today coming to you from Jamestown, Rhode Island. It’s a cold day out here and we’re talking framing, one of my favorite topics. I got the wkp boys today’s build show traditional framing done a little smarter. Let’s get going.

All right y’all, you guys know Wade Pin, right? And Joe, I’m totally blanking on your last name.

Babcock, Joe Babcock, uh project manager with wkp, actually an ARTex by degree. We’re talking smarter framing today.

So boys, I pulled up to the job site. I love framing. This looks like traditional framing, uh but Joe, the thing that made me think “Hey, there’s something different here” is I noticed this plywood band right in the center of the house. It made me think “Huh, that doesn’t look like stick framing, that’s not how I would stick frame it.” What’s going on here?

Uh, so what we’re trying to do is we got two panels coming to first floor and second floor. Instead of tying the sheathing at the center, we’re holding that sheathing off and then trying to tie it in, uh, the first floor and second floor between those rim joists. Ah, so that gave it away. So this is panelized construction. Talk me through what we’re doing here Wade. What’s the company you used and talk me through that process of penalizing?

Yeah, so this is the uh, second home that we’ve done now like this with this method, uh. So the walls are panelized and the roof is pre-cut, okay? Uh, the company we’re using is Cape Cod Panel. They’re out of, out of the cape, on the, on Massachusetts. And so basically we go through, you know, Joe’s design the house, so we share CAD programs and then they design uh the panel system through CAD, wall panels, studs sheathing only. And then uh, rafters, ridges, structural members, everything.

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Once the foundation’s done, we’ll come out and frame the deck, first floor system, and then the wall panels show up. These wall panels went up in one day, then one day literally the first floor went up in one day. How about that? And then the second floor system is framed, then the panels on the second floor go up one day. And then we start taking all the roof rafters and start assembling the roof system, that’s all pre-cut, so that goes quickly too.

So for what you see here right now, from the day we put lumber on the foundation to uh, they’re probably 60% complete on the roof sheathing, we what Joe, 17 working days? 17 days? 17 days in, that’s really fast, yeah it’s amazing to see. And so Joe, you mentioned earlier that that these wall panels, if I’m understanding right on the, on the first floor here had the sheathing, on the panel already. The upper floor had it, but that band joist was, was kind of missing. Why is that?

Uh, so we hold off the, the layer sheathing in the center, uh. A reason for doing that is to really tie in that first floor and that second floor wall system, uh. And then we actually, it’s also a code requirement here, code requirement. So it ties the walls together for the shear. And I suspect you need extra shear because we are literally right on the coast, right?

Correct, yeah. So we’ll actually be doing another layer of, uh, our zip on top of this. But we’re getting all our shear from the, the uh, CDX that’s here now. Oh fascinating. So zip r on the outside Wade, what’s the benefit of that cuz you already sheathed? Feels like you’re putting two layers of sheathing on, what what’s the use?

Oh it’s just, you know, a lot of clients come to us for how we build the types of home we build, which are, you know, comfortable energy efficient homes. And uh, one way to achieve part of that goal is proper wall insulation, uh, and having your thermal brake. So we’re going to be using the zip R9 here for our exterior, in insulation. Yeah, so we’ll have a nice thermal brake. It’s going to act as our WRB. We’re still insulating the uh, the exterior walls, we’ll be doing a mineral wool, with a smart membrane vapor barrier on the inside.

So okay, you’ve got your exterior insulation on the zip panel plus your insulation on the wall. That’s fantastic. I it, now you guys also do a lot of shingle style. Is there, is there an additional benefit to using the zip bar compared to let’s say just an exterior insulation here?

Uh well, I mean when you shingle and you’re nailing up these shingles, there’s I don’t know how many but prob hundreds of thousands of nails probably, right? Or whatever it is, that’s going into uh, the wall. So to have an entire nail, yeah, entire base of a solid wood to nail your shingles to is obviously beneficial. Yeah, that’s fantastic, complete thermal break with a zip R9 plus a complete nail base, that’s pretty awesome.

Now Joe, one thing I’m noticing here is that I don’t see any rafter tails, but the plywood’s hanging off. What’s happening here?

Uh, so Cape Cod Panels provides all the rafter tails. What we like to do is run that whether it’s sheathing and, and in this case we’re running the r zip all the way to the underside of the roof sheathing. And then we attach our rafter tails in there, so we’re getting that continuous thermal as well as WRB is brought up to the underside of the sheathing. And then we’ll do a uh, liquid flashing between those two joints so that we’re having once again a continuous thermal and WRB going from wall to roof. That’s fantastic.

Wait, I’ve, I’ve really seen you do some very airtight houses and it makes sense when you’re on the coast like this, that wind’s blowing off the, the water at 40, 50 miles hour on a normal day, not even a storm day. So having a really tight house makes a big difference, doesn’t it?

Yeah, it’s a huge difference. I mean, you know, with having a proper WRB system and then doing things like we’ll probably use uha fum tape to connect our bottom of our panel to our foundation, as Joe said, connecting the roof to the wall, uh, by having that kind of “Monopoly house” that we all talk about, detail between roof and wall, yep. Uh, and then our like mudsill detail and other things that we implement for uh, air stealing techniques, obviously make a big difference.

Yeah, so that Monopoly framing you mentioned, you can really see it here on this gable where the plywood is, is held over, uh, to make it simple to add that uh, additional framing that you’re going to need after the air barrier is up. So the zip bar, once it’s all taped and liquid flash to the underside of your sheathing, that’s your air barrier. And then you can add that additional framing so there’s nothing uh, poking through that air barrier like rafter tails, which are really hard to detail. It’s doable but it’s less good than doing this Monopoly framing.

I’m not really impressed, guys. Anything we missed on this system that you want to point out? I think a couple things that come to mind when we, we’ve just been talking about this type of system is one, the quality of the lumber, because it’s in a controlled environment vers having a bunch of lumber show up to the job site.

You kind of, you have what you have when it’s here. When you’re stick framing it, right? So sometimes you obviously throw away stuff that’s warped and twisted but some stuff that maybe is okay to use, sometimes the fram will throw that up as, as a stud or whatever it may be, right?

With the factory doing this and they’re, they’re purchasing the material and they’re selecting the best quality material for our studs and the sheet and everything. So there’s that factor. And as we all talked about earlier and Joe made up a good point here, is it’s a quiet job site, ah, the saws and everything aren’t constant.

Of course as I say that, there’s an impact goes up but you know, as you’ve been here and you’ve noticed, it’s been fairly quiet. There isn’t a lot of compressors running, the saws and table saws and that sort of thing isn’t going, CU, you’re not cutting you know thousands of pieces of wood, yeah. It’s assembling, so it’s nail gun and a couple saws so the, the neighbor actually came over and she was quite pleased with how quiet the job sites except for now.

And even from a timing or from a sound and and courteous to your neighbor, framing is happening in a short period of time, yeah. So even what machines are running for that time is like 3 weeks tops. And then we’re starting to get to outside and or outside finishes and interior roughing. And and we’re framing quite a bit quicker, like not even just 10% faster, right?

More like, what can you give us any rough perc, about two months here we, two months stick frame this versus this system. This is we’re saving about 2 months, which is maybe 50% uh, faster or 40% faster something like that, hard to say exactly. I would say yeah, probably in the 40% range if I had to guess.

And I’m assuming you’re going to pay a little bit more for panelized, right? Because we’re building some of this offsite, is that made up in speed? Would you say absolutely, big time?

Uh, now guys, if you haven’t seen, Wade has whole arm of his company that builds on Block Island, which is literally several miles off the coast. That everything needs boed of, it’s actually this direction I out there, off the Horizon see the Bluffs right over there, yeah. I’m guessing you guys might start doing this in Block Island as well.

W we are, we have uh, we have a house that Joe has designed in the hopper with a cave Cod panel right now, uh, the foundation just went in. We’re hoping to have panels for that house on the island uh, by mid January. Going to be a game changer for us out there.

That’s fantastic. Love it gentlemen, thank you for uh, amazing tour, gorgeous house, really like seeing this Monopoly framing. I think we got a couple really good tips, uh, for people out there. If you guys aren’t familiar with wkp, uh, we’ll put a link to the Instagram feed, it’s wkp construction, right? Yep.

Uh, and the other thing you need to do is if you haven’t seen it, wait, it’s just wrapping up our building on an island series over on the buildshow.com. That’s our build show network.

He’s shooting videos from his amazing Rhode Island job sites and Block Island job sites on a weekly basis. That being said, guys, you know how I finish out my videos right? Joe, follow us on TikTok or Instagram otherwise we’ll see you next time on the build [Music] show.

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