Industry buying group Lumbermens Merchandising Corp. (LMC), based in Wayne, Pa., has established an alliance with Keymark Enterprises, the developer of a whole-house design software system called KeyBuild, to provide automated design, structural engineering, field implementation, and other services to Lumbermens members and their builder-customers.

Under the agreement, Keymark will take sets of building plans, input them into KeyBuild, and evaluate them for structural integrity, conduct pre-engineering, and create precise materials lists in an effort to eliminate material waste. Following its quality con-Tech Alliance trol process, Keymark will transmit the plans to builders in an electronic format. The builders will pay Keymark for the services, with the expectation that builders' costs will be offset by the savings they achieve. Keymark will work with LMC members to market the service to builders as a way to save money, and LMC members will be able to position themselves as more strategic suppliers.

“As a builder, I could take this exact list to a lumberyard and say ‘price this,'” explains Chuck Krausert, sales and marketing manager for Keymark.

One Lumbermens member says the system shows promise, particularly in the area of waste reduction. “We feel it has a lot of potential. We're quite intrigued with the service, but it's so new that we have not had the opportunity to use it,” says Frank Sanford, vice president at Sanford & Hawley in Unionville, Conn.

Adds Vernon Dando, vice president of LMC, “This is a tool that can probably help builders with their cost and efficiencies. If a dealer can bring that to them, it's helpful.”