When in “Rome” Pay Attention to the Chunk and Wind…AND the Cladding!

Chunk and wind is a term used extensively in the local fishing community where I live. It is a phrase that describes a technic of casting a bait out into the water and then retrieving (winding) it at a swift and steady pace back to the boat.  This is a technic that I have used a great deal with some moderate success.  When fishing with a friend a few years back, I noticed that he was catching quite a few more fish than I was catching, using the same bait and what I thought was the same retrieve.

After paying a little closer attention to what he was doing, I realized that the retrieval he was using was a bit slower and at a different cadence than what I was using. I learned right then that subtle changes in the way that we do things can make a huge difference in the successes that we may have.

Just like all of those years of fishing the same way, I have spent many years building structures using the same techniques. I started in construction working summers with my dad when I was in my early teens.  Just like many of the others starting out, I carried a lot of blocks, mixed a lot of mud, dug miles of footers, and carried tons of shingles up a ladder.  After a few summers of general laboring and paying attention to the process of how things were built, I finally got the opportunity to take on a small project of my own.

Twenty some odd years, code and building style changes later, I had developed my own chunk and wind way of building. Everything from the 1200 sq. ft. cabin to the 6000 sq. ft. office building, the framing had become the same process only with different size footprints and larger load paths.

When I started Professional Development I was challenged to learn a great deal. I saw some success using the same techniques that I had developed while building.  But in order to have great success, I had to change my cadence and slow down.  One of the biggest things that I have learned is to pay closer attention to the “little” details.  When working in the same area all of the time, I had gotten used to taking into account the same old stuff I was familiar with:

  • Framing styles
  • Architectural drawings
  • Code requirements
  • Soil densities
  • Wind and snow loads
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Cladding

Professional Development with Gould Design, Inc. training in MiTek for truss design has taught me to take a closer look at all of the specifics of a project.  Many times it’s the subtle changes that make a huge difference between good and great. Whether building a storage shed for the lawnmower or a 100 unit apartment complex, many important things have to be taken into consideration.  The dimensions of the structure, how the loads will transfer, and the size and type of foundation, just to name a few.  With all of these things that we must place so much importance on, there is one that many times we overlook and that is the cladding.


One of the biggest misunderstandings that I had when I started Professional Development was that the plans that I was designing from, had taken into account the way that stucco, brick, rock, etc. was done in the region that the structure was being built in. I have since realized that cladding is sometimes done differently from region to region.  For instance, brick in the South East U.S. may be formed, constructed, and attached totally different from brick in the South West U.S.  The same could be said about the way stucco is applied.

As I said, this is an area that many overlook and misunderstand. In turn it not only affects the design of the roof truss but also affects the manufacturing of them.  The reason that GDI requires criteria from the component manufacturer is because they have intimate knowledge of the cladding practices in the areas to which they distribute their product.  This not only makes the trusses more consistent for the customer, but also for the manufacturer.

In conclusion, the plan is a guide, but the criteria helps to zero in on the mark. So when starting the next design for that lawnmower shed or the 100 unit apartment complex, “When in Rome” should be our motto.


Slowing down and paying attention to the small details is what Professional Development has taught me the most. What has training in your truss facility taught you the most?

Rolin Phillips – Design Trainee

Gould Design, Inc.