Professional Development – Truss Design:  A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did – Part 14

When I came to Gould Design, Inc. (GDI), my experience with Wood Trusses was little to none.  I have spent my career designing steel trusses. I thought I had an idea of what to expect, but it turns out there is quite a bit more to Wood Trusses than meets the eye.  Wood Truss design requires a vast knowledge and understanding of 3 main aspects:

  • The MiTek design software
  • The Manufacturer’s output capabilities and preferences
  • How to decipher the construction documents

GDI, with over 250 years of design experience throughout North America, has provided me with the tools and education in these areas to help me move forward in becoming a valued designer.  The knowledge I’ve gained from GDI in these 3 areas has been critical to my growth.


Design Software:

The Design Software, MiTek Sapphire, is the primary tool used by GDI for Wood Truss Design.  GDI has provided me with access to MiTek University and their highly experienced Mentors which has made the learning process direct and comprehensive.  Through the training, I’ve learned to layout and design Wood Trusses efficiently and accurately using the software.  Tips and “Tricks” provided by the GDI Training Mentors (my mentor, Richard, has 40 years of design experience) have proven to be very helpful in navigating the immense capabilities of Sapphire. With so many commands available, GDI has shown me how to utilize the strengths of the software to produce complete designs.

Manufacturer’s Preferences:

Another important aspect of Wood Truss Design is learning the individual Component Manufacturer’s output capabilities and preferences.  Regardless of the Manufacturer, everyone wants efficiency and savings.  GDI has shown me that the key to achieving this for the Manufacturer is by following their criteria as accurately as possible.  Each client GDI services, they assist the Manufacturer in developing a specific guideline that covers their preferences for Truss design.  This ranges from Hip Framing and Setback preferences, to material types and web configurations to be used.  This document is vital for ensuring customer satisfaction. I was shocked to learn that out of nearly 200 clients in GDI’s database, only 2 have provided GDI with any sort of criteria proactively.

Construction Documents:

The final, and perhaps the most difficult, aspect of Wood Truss Design is being able to properly interpret Construction Documents.  This can be extremely difficult depending on the quality of the drawings.  The majority of plans do not contain all of the necessary information, or the information is presented in a manner that is almost hidden.  Working one-on-one with GDI’s Training Mentors, I’ve been able to work through some challenging designs.  GDI has provided steps and “rules of thumb” to help in extracting the information needed to produce a complete and accurate design.

The 3 aspects of Wood Truss Designed touched on above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what GDI has to offer in knowledge.  For more information on GDI please visit

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.

You can read Part 6 in this series here.

You can read Part 7 in this series here.

You can read Part 8 in this series here.

You can read Part 9 in this series here.

You can read Part 10 in this series here.

You can read Part 11 in this series here.

You can read Part 12 in this series here.

You can read Part 13 in this series here.

Stay tuned for Part 15.

Patrick Humphreys – Design Trainee

Gould Design, Inc.