Welcome to the inaugural edition of Rough Openings! Trussway Manufacturing has been the leader in the multifamily truss business for nearly 50 years. We’ve learned a few things along the way and we have a lot to say about the matter.

You’re going to get it from me straight—like black coffee or a shot of whiskey. I’m not going to sugarcoat the issues, and if you disagree, please by all means, let me know!

I’m calling this first blog the Rodney Dangerfield edition. I call it that because the one thing that really bugs me is the lack of respect our product category gets. I say this a bit tongue-in-cheek. Sure, consumers care about faucets, countertops and all the high-visibility, high profit margin accessories that come with a new living space. They might even care about the roof shingles and siding. Yet, if they only knew that the truss package—floors, roofs and rough openings–is the true heart and soul of any wood framed building, the bones if you will, and more important than anything else.

Ok. Reality check here. I’m not naïve enough to think that we can wage a campaign to increase consumer awareness and love for truss packages. However, I will wage an effort to show builders/developers that they should take great care in truss design since one mistake can make all the difference in the world.

Think of it this way. Truss packages account for approximately 5% of the total cost of a build. And, you don’t see them when builds are completed. So, what’s all the fuss?

Let’s look at what happens if trusses fall short. If a truss isn’t designed and manufactured well, then you could have performance issues or no room for the vital mechanicals—plumbing, HVAC, etc. Dimension incorrectly and the trusses don’t fit. Use cheaper grade lumber and smaller plates during design and trusses can break during handling.

All this can add up to project delays and warranty issues. Delays and issues cost money. Delays mean tenants can’t move in, so there is no revenue being generated. Warranty issues mean tenants are at best, inconvenienced, and at worst, displaced while repairs are made, leading to lower tenant retention.

Any manufacturer can draw lines two-foot on center and design a truss. Very few manufacturers though can look at a set of plans to find the conflicts and design their package to work around those conflicts. This ultimately can help eliminate problems in the field and lead to solid solutions that allow for ease of framing.

It is so much more than pieces of wood and plates.

The moral of this story is simple. Don’t underestimate the value of a well-designed, well-built truss. While a mere fraction of the cost of the total build, trusses are vitally important to the quality and performance of the finished product.

Rough Openings by David Pogue

David Pogue is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Trussway Manufacturing. Beginning his career in construction 38 years ago, before settling in as a 32-year veteran of the truss industry. David is well-versed in all phases of multi-family, single-family and commercial construction, design, estimating, operations and contract negotiation. With the experience gained from the successful completion of thousands of projects throughout his career, David has been a consultative influencer and advisor in the development of industry-leading truss software solutions and wood framing designs that are widely utilized in multifamily construction today.