Professional Development – Truss Design A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did – Part 8

Professional Development – Truss Design A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did – Part 8

Over the last couple of months I have been working my way through the Professional Development program with Gould Design, Inc.  The Professional Development program or ‘PD’ for short is a program that all new designers with GDI go through to familiarize themselves with how the company works and the differences that they will see from work in different regions.

My first thought going into PD was, ‘I am not sure if they can show me something that I don’t already know.’  I have been in the truss industry for over 20 years and designing trusses for a good portion of that time.  I thought that I had seen it all and that my ways, even though they have evolved over the years, were the correct ways to do things.

PD was a big adjustment!  I had really only designed trusses in the Pacific Northwest.  I had learned different techniques for other designers and salesmen through different trainings or functions, but really they were all from the same general area.


Now with GDI, since I have a day job with a manufacturer in the USA, all of the work that I have seen in PD has come from Canada.  This is done to preserve a good and ethical relationship between GDI, MiTek and my present employer.

Holy cow is Canada different!  Now I have to especially watch out for:

  • Cladding: Different styles that I have NEVER had to pay attention to before
  • Overall Heights: Ensuring that the overall height of the roof does not exceed the maximum height called out on the plan

The maximum height dimension is on some of the house plans on the west coast, but it is rarely paid attention to.  In Canada, the height of the fascia in relation to the building is what determines the heel height of the truss.  If the plans call for the bottom of the fascia to match the top of plate, then that is what it needs to be.  Where I am from, a lot of the builders want the overhangs to be cut a couple of inches long so that they can have the option to trim them back if they want.  There is no foresight into the fascia lining up with the wall.  I am not saying that this is wrong; it is just a scenario that does not enter the building scene unless a building has long overhangs.

In getting back to my main point, there IS a lot that I can be shown through PD, if I have an open mind.  Being exposed to new ways of framing and new ways of trussing a roof is exciting, even though it can be a little frustrating at times.  I have said to my wife on more than one occasion that ‘I feel like I have never designed trusses before.’  That statement mainly comes from the difference in design techniques between regions and countries.

I have already put into use some of the layout techniques that Canada uses for use in my day job, making me more productive!  I believe that Professional Development is a powerful and much-needed tool if a person is to succeed as a remote designer for an outside manufacturer.  Without the practice jobs given in Professional Development, a designer’s chances of succeed would be limited, especially if he was designing for an area outside of anywhere that he has ever performed design work. I think that it has paid off for me already going through the Professional Development phase with GDI.

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.

You can read Part 4 in this series here.

You can read Part 5 in this series here.

You can read Part 6 in this series here.

You can read Part 7 in this series here.

Stay tuned for Part 9.

Design Trainee

Gould Design, Inc.