Whole House Builders?

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The Last Word
Issue #11242 - September 2019 | Page #125
By Joe Kannapell, P.E.

Why aren’t your trussers designing walls and EWP too, as we said they would twenty-five years ago? To pave their way, we would deliver more intelligent (“IntelliBuilt”) and optimized (“OptiFramed”) software, and builders would provide flawless “BIM” (Building Information Modeling) files. With these tools, sometime in the new millennium, a single designer would be capable of laying floors, roofs, and walls into a (flawless) digital model.

Short of this promise, do you at least have a model builder—one who keys the building envelope into component software and then hands the model to (separate) truss, wall, and EWP specialists to “do their own thing?” This was our fallback position, conceding that the skills involved in each of the disciplines were too valuable to “waste” on work outside their specialty. But even this has proven illusory.

A whole new generation of designers has arrived, and yet very few are tackling the whole house. What should we do differently, since BIM is under construction?

Create a tight-knit structures group, both physically and organizationally:

  • Truss designers with wall and EWP designers
  • New hires next to mentors
  • Remote designers often onsite

Promote pride and accomplishment:

  • Display their awesome work around your office
  • Show both the computer images and the finished product.
  • Pass on customer compliments to the entire group.

In today’s leading software, accomplished designers, like carpenters of the past, can perfect the plans (or BIM) and build the structure. Let’s empower them to become Whole House Builders, not just truss designers.

You're reading an article from the September 2019 issue.

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