ILEVEL BY WEYERHAEuSER
Industry: “If there’s one word to describe current trends in structural framing, it is optimization. There is recognition in the design and building communities that structural frames are often overbuilt for what’s needed for code compliance or occupant comfort. Plus, traditional framing practices can create huge amounts of waste. In both cases, that’s lost profits. The trend now is to build homes with just the right materials in just the right places, and to reduce the amount of cutting on the jobsite,” says Carlos Guilherme, vice president of engineered lumber products, iLevel by Weyerhaeuser.
Product offering: “iLevel offers Trus Joist engineered lumber that can meet demanding structural requirements such as tall walls more than 10 ft. high, open floor plans and lateral bracing in narrow wall segments,” Guilherme says. “We also offer specialty lumber with the strength and stability to stay straight and true after installation. The range of products helps avoid overbuilding by allowing better selection of the appropriate solution, and less risk of having to replace products after they’re installed. Some of our more popular materials include TimberStrand LSL, Parallam PSL, Framer Series Lumber and iLevel Shear Brace.”
Where it’s going: “We’re seeing a greater focus on value engineering for the structural frame. At the beginning of the depressed building market, conversations tended to focus on product price, but now building teams are moving more toward overall value. Many are investing in higher-performing materials that can actually help control costs. Also, with spending a little more for a precut framing package, there is less jobsite labor and disposal fees,” Guilherme says. “Coming up next, the industry can expect more enhancements in solid-sawn lumber, additional performance with OSB, and new applications for engineered lumber.”
Industry: “Framing activity for new homes has slowed with the slowing of new home construction. Builders have increased the use of framing sold by major dealers on an installed basis. Large builders generally use third-party framers to install framing products in new homes. These trends are not very prevalent in structural installs accomplished by remodeling professionals, who often self-install structural products,” says Jeff Hoffman, vice president business development, LiteSteel Technologies.
Product offering: “LiteSteel beam from LiteSteel Technologies provides framers with a code-approved, easy-to-use structural framing solution. LSB is on average 40 percent lighter than hot-rolled steel of engineered wood products,” Hoffman says. “Standard carpenter’s tools work well with LSB; it can be easily cut with a skill saw using a carbide-tipped steel culling blade.”
Where it’s going: “The above trends on installation and contractor use will continue to expand among builders of new homes,” Hoffman adds. “Remodelers will increasingly be asked to remove load-bearing walls to provide homeowners with the open spaces they crave. Structural solutions such as LiteSteel beam will make it much easier for trade professionals to satisfy the needs of their customers.”
Industry: “Framing contractors and material suppliers have been forced to significantly reduce their operations, head count and margins to simply survive the downturn. Manpower and capabilities are much thinner today than ever before. At the same time, there is high demand for precision and zero waste to preserve every ounce of profitability they can. The conversion of stick framing to predesigned components is still a great opportunity for the industry to improve its accuracy and efficiency,” says Gregg Renner, vice president marketing, MiTek Industries.