How many times as a Timber Systems Designer do we start putting details of a building into the software, only to find that the ends don’t connect! Ahhh what does it matter, what’s 300mm between friends, the trouble is the last thing we will be is friends if we supply the project that is out by any amount.

Architects and draftsman make mistakes as well, and as usual it cost someone down the track. In this instance it cost you, for you then have to do the calculations work out which dimensions are correct. This will probably include contacting the customer to confirm the correct dimensions, who will likely need to contact the architect/draftsman and then get back to you maybe within 24 hours.

So, the job you have started is now on hold, the information you have put into the software is now mostly useless and you will more than likely delete what you have done and start again once you have the correct dimensions.

The other measurement that is often missing is the one where a step in or out of the wall line occurs, this is a very frustrating missing dimension. It means you have to add up one side, subtract it from the other or parts of the other side, find a common dimension point to start adding and subtracting, and watch out for the inside/outside of frame and external cladding as they catch you out and cause grief to all concerned.

As part of the back to the basics industry training, it’s about checking the information you have is sufficient.

  1. You have the required plans, floor, elevation sections etc. engineering
  2. These plans provide the information as in roof material, pitch, wall heights etc.
  3. AND, check the dimensions add up. It doesn’t take long to quickly check a few strings of measurements to make sure it all adds up.

So number 3 isn’t something you need to do in front of the customer, but it is certainly something that should be done prior to starting any computer input along with all the other information requirements.

“PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN THE CURE” is the quote from many.

Whilst it is frustrating to think that we have to spend our time checking another person’s work, it’s a part of what we do and the accuracy that is expected of a Timber Systems Designer. It is also a time saver in the long run and helps keep out that frustration that creeps in when things don’t add up. We all know that sometimes it starts with just the little things, but then it gathers momentum and all of a sudden the job is turning to #*!% all because we didn’t do the right preparation.

Take the time to save time.


Contributed by Phil Ladson of Ladson Consulting.