Professional Development – Truss Design: A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did – Part 6


There are several reasons why GDI has made me a better designer.  The first reason is the quality and depth of design resources.  Each customer fills out an extensive Customer Standards document that has been created by GDI and is sent to each customer so they can tailor their individual design requirements.  This document addresses everything from loading, labeling, hip set style, setback preferences, wall and cladding dimensions, webbing configurations, splicing guidelines, etc.  There is even a section that qualifies certain framing conditions and the desired style the customer wants.

The Customer Standard document is imperative as it goes hand in hand with the second reason GDI has made me a better designer.  That is due to the vast expanse of work diversity.  GDI has customers all across the United States and Canada.  While different areas of the United States uses different building codes and framing styles, certain provinces in Canada use the metric system and the French language.  If a designer has only worked in one region they would only have experience with the design issues encountered there.  For me that was South Florida.  The main focus for design there is extremely high wind zones.  I had heard of snow loads but had certainly not used them in Florida.  Suddenly I was exposed to seismic loading, snow loading, rain loading, drift loading, etc.  The metric system also added a twist as now there were new units of measurement to learn and the plans are drawn to the millimeter.  Some designs use Pascal, kilopascal, etc.  Add a different language to the mix and it makes for quite the challenge.

The third reason GDI has made me a better designer is again based on the customer diversity.  It is one thing to design a few houses in a day, or ten or more in a week, it is another thing to have each of those projects in a different region of the North American continent.  Add to that the factor that each project is done in a different version of software release.  It takes an extreme amount of organizational skill required to keep each client, set of standards, loading criteria, software version, time zone (for meeting deadlines,) language and unit of measure straight while switching between jobs.

The last, and arguably most important, reason GDI has made me a better designer is the fact that I have designed more trusses in the years following 2008 than in some years past.  This is an important point as there were many designers in the United States who lost their jobs due to the decline in the building industry while I was expanding my experience and learning new aspects on a regular basis.  This was all due to the incredible support and resources supplied and maintained by GDI.  I have never had a more enjoyable work experience as I have had working for 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.

Stay tuned for Part 7.

Jim Turner – Director of Business Relations: North America (Previously Design Manager)

Gould Design, Inc.