Resistance to Using Building Components
If you’ve ever been in a conversation with an overly enthusiastic proponent of a new innovation, you can appreciate that sometimes an innovations worst detractors are its chief proponents. Spending any amount of time on a construction message board provides many examples of the decades old debate between stick framing vs. component building. This article isn’t intended to “beat” anyone else’s point of view, but rather to encourage less conflict and more conversation and mutual understanding.
As a framer, I used to be a hardcore proponent of the stick frame methodology and so I can speak to the resistance to trusses from a first-hand perspective. Because we are creatures of habit and because metal plated wood trusses represent a disruptive innovation in the construction industry there will be resistance. Resistance to trusses is multi-faceted and often consists of misperceptions. I want to deal with one misperception that I hear and have seen on the web: skilled framers suffering loss of livelihood.
Loss of Livelihood
Many framers have spent years mastering their craft. These skills should be applauded.
- The ability to visualize complex 3D structures from 2D drawings (often poorly drawn)
- Figure out complex trigonomic equations
- Order the correct length, size, and number of wood members
- Plan and cut from the ground
- Managing other framers like a conductor to complete the roof assembly
While many of the functions once performed by roof framers will now be performed by the truss company (the design and profile of the roof), there are opportunities for skilled framers to continue to use their skills IF they are willing to adapt. After all, it will get them off the jobsite faster and on to the next one. Isn’t that the goal?
Skilled framers are needed to:
- Correctly read plans in order to ensure that walls are placed properly and at the right height
- Ensure trusses are placed correctly according to the layout (and troubleshoot better placement if the layout won’t work),
- Add any over-framing for areas not provided by the truss company,
- Communicate with the truss company (salesperson and designers)
- Train the next generation of framers.
There is also the opportunity for framers to take their hard won knowledge and skill into the truss industry as salesmen or designers. If a truss company is on top of things, it will be searching out these individuals because of the instant value and credibility that they lend to the company. Who better to sell or design trusses then a framer? As people we respond much better to other people who have similar experiences and who speak the same language. Who better to win over framers then other framers?
What are your thoughts? Are you willing to give building components a shot?
Tim Hoke – Design Professional
Gould Design, Inc.