Product offering: “MiTek’s latest software technology Sapphire is a 3-D software built for structural component manufacturers that produce trusses, wall panels and engineered wood products. With its companion application, Sapphire Viewer, the structural model can be shared and reviewed by builders, architects, engineers and the lumberyard,” Renner says. “It is a collaboration tool that provides unparalleled precision in the design, estimating and construction of residential projects.”
Where it’s going: “We think the key trends are a continuing decline of available skilled labor in the field, and higher costs of all waste — design time, materials, transportation costs, jobsite labor and cycle time,” Renner says. “We are very focused on predesigned solutions to these — designed in highly capable software, produced in an efficient environment, delivered as predesigned and prefabricated structural components.”
Industry: “Like most of the housing industry, the framing industry is depressed — and in particular the single-family residential market. There are single-family framing projects underway, but it’s much more selective these days and on a much smaller scale than during the boom five or six years ago. There are still many single-family homes on the market as short sales or bank-owned, and that needs to be resolved before building will start up again in earnest. Multifamily housing, however, is doing much better,” says Tom McClain, product manger, Simpson Strong-Tie.
Product offering: “Simpson Strong-Tie is looking at a more systems approach to solutions with its product lines. It isn’t enough just to offer the least expensive widget if it’s not intuitive and doesn’t work seamlessly with the other widgets. Our current product offering includes innovations which have reduced the number of fasteners used, eliminated certain fasteners all together, reduced timely labor costs and offered full foundation to roof solutions — all while maintaining current code requirements, structural integrity and safety,” McClain says. “Our product lines continue to evolve with the industry and most importantly, with the needs of our customers. Our lateral systems offering, which now includes prefabricated Strong-Wall shearwalls, one- and two-story Strong Frame moment frames and ATS rod systems with a new sophisticated take-up device, provides customers with a variety of solutions to meet the unique framing challenges of custom home designs.”
Where it’s going: “Builders will be more selective when they start back on larger scale production. During the boom they were building wherever they could as fast as they could. Now, I think they’ll concentrate on value, such as proximity to transportation, eco-friendly features and smaller house sizes,” McClain adds.