As residential construction—particularly among production builders—continues at full bore, the demand for structural components, including wall panels, floor trusses, and roof trusses, has been increasing steadily to meet demand. Until recently, however, component manufacturing employees seeking information on specs, storing, loading, handling, installing, and bracing of metal plate–connected wood trusses had to choose between competing—and sometimes different—standards established by either the Wood Truss Council of America (WTCA) or the Truss Plate Institute (TPI).
Seeking to end those discrepancies while also embarking on a new era of partnership, WTCA and TPI signed a joint publications agreement on May 28 to create a single set of documents to replace TPI's “Handling, Installing & Bracing” booklet and summary sheet and WTCA's “Jobsite Warning Poster” and “Truss Technology in Building” documents addressing jobsite safety when building with components. “The development of the agreement had been suggested and discussed as long as 10 years ago, but it was never fully acted upon,” says TPI president Bill Turnbull. “The component manufacturers were using both organizations' publications. In some cases, there was competing and overlapping literature aimed at accomplishing the same goal with differing information and formats.”
In addition to establishing single-source industry information and standards for design and manufacturing, both WTCA and TPI also felt the need to make the new material more understandable by the people who typically are installing trusses, according to WTCA president Dan Holland. “For that reason, there are a lot of visual explanations of installation techniques rather than text, and we feel the resulting documents are much more user-friendly, particularly because of visual explanations and the consistent use of color,” Holland says, adding that creation of the documents also included input and collaboration from experienced truss manufacturers and framers.
According to Turnbull, the publications partnership between WTCA and TPI is already creating a collaborative atmosphere between the organizations and should serve well as a model for future projects. “I definitely see the component industry growing in all areas into the foreseeable future, and both WTCA and TPI are committed to advancing the industry through education and providing relevant information in all forms available,” he says. “This would include third-party quality control, inspection programs, software, videos, and other types of media. We are not just limiting this to literature and brochures. Our joint goal is to ensure the proper design, manufacture, and installation of our products.”
Citing the most recent component market statistics available from the U.S. International Trade Commission indicating a 2002 market size of $10.7 billion, Holland says components will continue to rapidly grow an already large share of the wood-framed construction market. “Traditional roles will not be the norm,” Holland says of the growing market. “Vertical integration will increase, not only with building material dealers handling more components but also with component manufacturers handling more building materials and doing more building design.” As the size of the market increases, the partnership between WTCA and TPI will help industry employees avoid jobsite problems, increase the safety of the installers, and ensure product performance, Holland adds.
Order and pricing information on all of the documents, which range from several dollars to several hundred dollars depending on size and scope of order, are available at www.woodtruss.com/pubs or by calling 608.274.4849, ext. 8.