How Did We Get Here?


This is a question that has been asked by many people, over many generations, about many different things. In order for us to have a clear picture of the future, we must first have an understanding of where we came from, and where we are presently. Which brings me to the point of my discussion…

As I have begun to learn the design of trusses with Gould Design, Inc., using the MiTek software, it has led me to recall all of the changes in the construction industry over the modern era. You see, my background prior to this endeavor was framing buildings. The understanding and comprehension of how loads, wind, snow, foundations, and gravity affect the way that we construct, the many years of trial and error, theories, and research that have been spent to bring us to where we are today.

One of the first things that I see is the way that the job site has changed. Long gone are the days of hand saws, cross cuts and spikes. These seemingly “outdated” tools have been replaced with circular saws, nail guns and air compressors. Modern tools and equipment have streamlined not only the job site but the manufacturing process to the point that structures and assemblies are being built faster and more productively than ever before. These are some of the elements that I have learned to take into consideration when designing trusses for a project. The tools, equipment, and facility all must be considered when determining what type of truss assembly would work best for a particular job.

Secondly, we have seen an extreme advancement in the quality and efficiency of modern building materials and equipment being used today. There are many new and/or redesigned products that make today’s structures stronger, more energy-efficient, and safer. Low E windows, high seer heat pumps, high loft insulation, just to name a few, are such products. When learning truss and structure design, one must take into consideration these new products. With the changing of settings this can be accomplished through the MiTek program.

Lastly, the advancement in computers and software have greatly increased the speed at which projects can get up and running. In MiTek we can take into consideration the issues that are faced in the field at the beginning stages of design and planning which cuts losses in the field. It also gives the opportunity to address parts of a structure in different ways to find the most efficient and effective way to build that particular section. The opportunity that has been given to me with GDI has truly helped me to recognize aspects of construction that I had never given a second thought to in the past.

So when I ask “How did we get here”, I am really asking, given the history of construction and the tools and materials that we have to work with, how can we contribute to the advancement of the industry?

Rolin Phillips – Design Trainee

Gould Design, Inc.