Specifying wall assemblies that ease the labor crunch
AIA partner LP Building Products reveals how new approaches to wall design are saving builders time and hassle while boosting cost savings for architects
In a recent survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America, 78 percent of construction firms are currently having difficulty finding qualified workers and 82 percent think that it will be even harder to find workers in the next 12 months.
Adding to the challenge, workers in the building trades have an average age of around 50, and the industry is now hiring more entry-level workers whose skill set can’t match those of seasoned pros. In response, many architects, specifiers, and builders are taking a fresh look at framing products that are faster and simpler for novice workers to install.
“We were looking for an alternative to the shaft wall application because they are so difficult and aggravating to build,” says Wayne Baker, COO of Fleming Homes in Raleigh, North Carolina. For its townhomes at The Tapestry in Garner, North Carolina, Fleming Homes switched to UL U350 Type B wall assemblies featuring LP FlameBlock Fire-Rated OSB Sheathing. “Because of the ease of installation and the simplicity of the product, it saved us a lot of time. The process has gone much faster than with traditional shaft walls.”
UL U350 wall assemblies are designed so that inexperienced construction workers—and even volunteers from organizations like Habitat for Humanity—can easily install them. “Volunteers with no building experience are not able to construct traditional shaft wall assemblies,” says Sean Allen, director of construction and real estate for Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County in Delaware. “Trained framers need to drop in the plywood from a second story, which a volunteer isn’t equipped to do. The UL U350 assembly can be built by laying all the materials on the ground and then standing them up for easy installation.”
The UL U350 Type B wall assembly also offers greater architectural design flexibility and savings: The single layer of one-sided LP FlameBlock sheathing in the assembly eliminates the heavy, 1-inch-thick gypsum and associated hardware, resulting in labor and material cost savings plus a reduction in dead load compared to a shaft wall.
To learn more about the UL U350 wall assembly, visit LPCorp.com.
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