For too many years our industry has struggled to find the right words and titles of describing what it is that certain people in our industry do. The people we are talking about are what we currently call estimators and detailers. How many of us have placed an advertisement for a detailer only to receive an application from an applicant explaining that they can detail 15 cars a day! Seriously how many frames does that equate to?

Sure, you require an estimator, so you place the advertisement. How many types of estimators are there in the building industry. Builders, plasterers, plumbers, electricians etc.

Nothing really describes what these people do and, gives it a unique position tittle. Let’s face it, it’s all about the ‘TITLE’

It gives a job classification, something else we have never had in our sector before. In the past how did we set a wage when we had nothing to compare their skills with. Enough I say let’s get it right and make it clear for all.

This timber prefabrication industry has been around long enough to now be recognised with its own distinguished tittles and classification, we are an industry that is a huge part of the building industry economy so let’s make it, and own it!

So FTMA Australia suggests the estimator/detailer department now becomes the ‘Timber Systems Design Team’ and comprises of:

  • Timber Systems Designer (Level 1 to Level 4) which is the new title for all estimators and detailers within your company.
  • Timber Systems Design Executive is the Manager of your Design Team

Will this work? Will a sexier title attract the right people?

The answer is YES and already we have two examples to prove it.

  1. A fabricator in NSW used Timber Structural Designer to advertise for an estimator/detailer at their firm. Not only did they receive many applications from suitably qualified people, the person they ended up employing was undergoing a Diploma in building.
  2. A fabricator in QLD, following the FTMA presentation on this subject at the Multinail Conference decided to advertise for a Timber Systems Designer. This was last week and already they have received applications from, what they believe, are suitably qualified people and they will be interviewing next week.

In the first instance we thought the word Structural indicated they were engineers and given builders use Systems we thought this would be a better word which it did with example 2 above.

So how do we take this forward? FTMA Australia has currently developed Job Descriptions and Job Advertisements for these new roles which will help the industry uniform their advertising for positions in this field.

We encourage the wider industry to use these job descriptions and advertisements and they will be available to all FTMA members and non-members. On top of that we will also be developing the KPI’s for Level 1 – 4 for the Timber Systems Designers and these will be available to members in the near future which we hope will also assist fabricators in setting the right remuneration given these positions are not included in any award.

FTMA thanks Phil Ladson of Ladson Consulting who we have engaged to address the training and job titles within our sector. Many more exciting things coming in this field and I hope our industry gets on board as we need to be a little sexier to attract the right people.