CM Perspective: Trusses Do Matter!


CM Perspective: Trusses Do Matter!

As Trussway Manufacturing approaches 50 years in business, we have taken a deep, introspective look at our business, our industry, and the future. 

Jeffrey Smith

Jeffrey Smith is President and CEO of Trussway Manufacturing in Houston, Texas. He serves as an SBCA Board Member and Vice Chair of the Quality Committee.

As a business, it all starts with employees who deeply care about passionate, best-in-class service to our customers, delivering high quality products that take a whole project approach. At Trussway, though, “whole project,” doesn’t stop when the product is delivered. 

One of my biggest pet peeves, and one of the main issues facing our industry, is the general lack of respect trusses receive. While they may rank slightly ahead of stick framing, roof and floor trusses play second or even third fiddle to the more “glamorous” parts of construction, namely kitchens, bathrooms, and even the roof treatment. True, trusses represent less than five percent of the overall build cost. However, they have a major impact on the quality of the build and living experience for occupants. They are the true heart and soul of a living space, the bones if you will, and more important than almost anything else.

Now we’re getting to the heart of it.

Truss manufacturing isn’t just about wood and plates. It’s about building the type of quality into the design and construction that ultimately makes occupants more comfortable.

A poorly designed truss can lead to improper deflection and noise. Noise can translate into unhappy tenants who move out, leaving owners with empty units to fill. And, we all know it’s a lot more expensive to market and fill an empty unit than to keep an existing tenant in place. For instance, an apartment complex in Houston recently had signs in the elevator offering a $1000 incentive for new tenant referrals. That’s quite a costly recruitment effort!

This whole concept of occupant comfort gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to design and construction. We often think in terms of meeting construction deadlines, but do we spend enough time thinking about how what we do affects the building occupants?

It is important for truss manufacturers to embrace this concept: a comfortable tenant is a happy, rent-paying tenant, helping builder/owners maintain a healthy bottom line. Trusses DO matter and are a critical element. I would argue we need to own this responsibility and design/build accordingly.

As the building industry grows and as construction practices evolve, it’s time for the industry to be at the forefront of positive change.