Professional Development – Truss Design A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did: Part 4

Professional Development – Truss Design A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did: Part 4

I have written in my past 2 posts about things I learned while in Professional Development with Gould Design, Inc. that I never learned at my day job. This post, since I am now out of Professional Development or as we call it “PD” and am a designer I would like to touch base on how all those things that I learned have now helped me in my career and talk a little bit about what I have learned that isn’t a part of the actual job of designing.

With the learning experience in PD, it brought excitement and lots of energy because I am one of those people who thrive on learning. I can’t get enough. But with that, it also brought confusion and disappointment. Since I was employed by a USA manufacturer, GDI would only allow me to perform design work in Canada. I have heard about integrity in action, but I have never quite seen it in action like this before.

You see, Canada does things almost completely different from we do it here in my area of the USA. I went into PD thinking, I got this. There is no plan I haven’t seen. Well lo-and behold, bam! Right out the gate with the first exercise of drawing in roof planes by hand and calculating out heels by hand, I didn’t do as well as I had liked.  I nailed drawing in the roof lines but completely whiffed on the heel heights. This was because here in my area, we don’t have a set heel height to use. Typically if a plan doesn’t spec one, I use an 8” energy heel for code. There aren’t any soffit heights to match as Canada has.


That right there told me, man; you have a lot to learn. Then there was the cladding issue. Here in my area, a lot of builders either do not use it or dimensions are given from stud to stud. Very rarely is a plan any different. With Canada, that is not the case. Everything is dimensioned from outside cladding to outside cladding. So you need to know your stuff when it comes to material that is being used. With that, Canada takes into account of the heel heights with the thickness of the cladding. Not so for us here in my area. It was quite the learning experience in the first few weeks of PD trying to figure it all out. But because of it, as I have said, I believe I am a much better designer because of it. Not only do I have a very good understanding of most USA framing tendencies, I now understand framing tendencies north of the border.

To sum it up, the very basic things I thought I knew, I completely took for granted!

  • Cladding
  • Heel Heights
  • Soffit Drops
  • Dimensioning

Overlooking these elementary points could have caused me to fail, had I not been required to enter Professional Development. I cannot imagine needing to go back and learn about these “grade school” points. I was mistaken!

One more thing I would like to point out that I have learned with PD and about GDI is the gratitude and recognition that I have gotten. It’s not that I need a pat on the back and have someone say “good job sonny, keep up the good work.” It’s that it’s kind of nice to know what you did was right. I can’t tell you enough, the gratification that I get when I go out to a job site of my biggest customer and they tell me how good of a job I am doing. Or if I make a mistake on a job, they make excuses for me as to why I messed up. It’s a great feeling.

With GDI, it’s a constant thing. Management has always made a point to let you know when you’re doing a good job. On the flip side, when you’re not doing such a good job, they have given you a way to improve. With a proven PD program, anyone can succeed. Several times GDI has been called upon to go on location to train its client’s employees. These kinds of things are what makes people grow and become stronger in their respective fields and everyday life. I hope that with these few posts I have helped shed some light on what exactly Professional Development and GDI have to offer.

You can read Part 1 in this series here.

You can read Part 2 in this series here.

You can read Part 3 in this series here.

Stay tuned for Part 5.

Zach Failing – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.