Designing Components That Are Carpenter-Friendly – Part 2

Designing Components That Are Carpenter-Friendly – Part 2

I have previously written about how reducing the amount of bracing in a job can make the job more carpenter-friendly. To view part 1 in this series, click here.

Carpenter-friendly designs provide a sales and marketing tool for those component manufacturers that keep that thought in the forefront of their mind. Recently while designing a multifamily roof system I approached the design from several different angles. My primary responsibility is to the component manufacturer that I was designing the job for.


In this case this particular component manufacturer:

  • Embraced the idea of carpenter-friendly design practices
  • Valued the relationship with the builder highly
  • Recognized that the builder had a long relationship with the framing contractor
  • Had a desire to reduce costs and increase efficiency

What did this add up to? A quality product with all considerations taken into account. All three parties involved (manufacturer, builder and framing contractor) came out as winners.


While designing there were many conversations about additions and deletions and about the kinds of discrepancies that are encountered by anyone who has worked with large multifamily or commercial projects.

One key theme was consistently surfacing throughout the conversations: Uniformity. This alone would lead to more jobs being awarded. How many manufacturers out there are doing this? This is where my own personal expertise comes in.

The key factors were:

  1. What the framing contractor wanted
  2. What the builder wanted
  3. What the developer wanted
  4. How to blend those wants and needs into one single efficient concept

One of the things we did to achieve the goals of our design concept was to eliminate as many “off spaced” trusses as possible. For example the setbacks used for the hip set were modified rather than fixed by custom lengths. In other parts of the country we are accustomed to using step down hip sets with odd setbacks, this is of course unnecessary but it is what people are accustomed to.

In the case of the multifamily project the overall run was considered and the setbacks for the step down hip ends modified to eliminate off spaced trusses, to utilize the “plywood is king” rule, and to maintain consistent spacing for the overall run. This not only simplified things, it reduced job site waste.


Modifying the setbacks does not make a difference to the component manufacturers the same flow exists, cutting, setup, build, banding, and delivery. Modifying the setbacks does not make a difference to the framing contractor who utilize the layout for placement, the modified setbacks did not matter to the builder especially if those same modified setbacks reduced material and labor costs. Everybody wins.

What ways are you designing to make things carpenter-friendly?

Bill Tucker – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.