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Posted by Mary in PA on 9/14/2010 6:41:15 PM

Many months ago I had gotten two quotes for the trusses on the building, and they were within $100 of each other. One of the companies was literally a couple of miles down the road, and I had had very good experiences in dealing with the father-and-son owners. I had an opportunity to review the truss design with them using their computer program for that purpose. I was able to watch, learn and ask questions as they edited the truss assemblies in their computer program. It was very informative and I found them to be generous with their time and knowledge. They were clearly interested in providing both a good-quality and good-value product rather than just the code-minimum truss. They said it was exasperating to deal with some builders who are so keen to save every single penny that, while they barely meet code, they allow trusses that don't add to the quality of the building (i.e. bouncy floors, etc). And for a very small amount on the order of a few hundred dollars a much better result could be achieved.

I also had a good discussion with the father of the truss duo regarding entrepreneurial issues. Since I have a small-business background, it was very interesting to hear his opinions on how the economy had impacted his industry and company. Meeting good people like this, having a chance to see up-close how they apply their craft and glimpse how their business operates is, for me, a very positive experience associated with our owner-building project. My only regret was that John wasn’t able to be at this meeting as I know he would have found it interesting too.


So – as the framing got underway I stopped in at the truss company to officially place our order – aka drop off the deposit. They set a delivery date in about 10 days time which sounded fine to me. When I relayed this info to the framer he muttered, “Ten days, we’ll see about that.” Since the truss guys and the framer guy had known each other for years and were actually pretty good friends, I thought I would just let them work it out.


Just a few days later, I was happy to be making my daily site visit with John along too, since he hadn’t see the building since lumber started flying. As we approached the site John said, “Hey, they’re putting up the trusses!” At that moment I couldn’t see the site since I’m too short to see over the grass from the below-grade road, so I blurted out, “That’s impossible, they aren’t due for another seven or eight days.” But as we drove up the driveway, sure enough – trusses were airborne. It seems that our framer has quite a bit of pull with the truss company, and needed the trusses earlier in order to keep his schedule moving along. Our truss order was pretty basic and easy for them to build in a few hours, and since we were just down the road, they squeezed us in an afternoon hole they had in their schedule.

That was just fine with us – although I was surprised that they were delivering trusses without notifying me first, because it was all in the agreement of sale and posted in their offices that the balance was due in full before any trusses would be set (I guess they had gotten burned on that once or twice before). What if we hadn’t happened along when we did? I guess they trusted us to pay them – which was nice to know. Happily, we had our checkbook with us, so we were able to cut a check before the truss guy left the property. The framer stayed on schedule. The truss guy got the work out of the shop and paid for all in a few hours time. We were a step closer to an actual building. It all worked out great and the weather was just fine. And it was darn exciting too!


Truss company provides crane and operator with trusses.
Framer and his assistant make quick work of the task.
Final truss has OSB already attached.
Main trusses done. North side Lean-to shed will be next. Note smoothed-out farm terrace (soil) at left. High temps & no rain slow germination.

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