Timber Truss & Frame Estimating & Design Project

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Housing is the primary area in which timber trusses and frames are used. Given the continued increase in housing and multi-development construction activity these structural components are in increasing demand.These are integral roles in the day-to-day operation of a building project, and yet much of the work to estimate and design timber trusses and frames is commissioned overseas. These roles could be performed more efficiently and with better communication if performed locally. However, improved career pathways are required to make them appealing. This could be supported by reviewing and streamlining the current qualifications and units to make prerequisites and assessments less restrictive.
The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project out of the Forest and Wood Products Industry Sector IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2018-2021 (see pages 71-74).Skills Impact and the Forest and Wood Products Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see pages 71-74)

 

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Timber trusses and frames are an essential part of many modern homes and other buildings, providing the skeleton for walls and roofs. They’re designed to hold up the weight of a building, including any solar, air conditioning or hot water units, and to withstand weather, including strong winds. For this reason, timber systems designers play a crucial role in making sure a building is structurally sound, requiring knowledge of engineering, design and timber types. They’re responsible for making sure building codes and standards are adhered to and communication between the factory floor and construction businesses are fit for purpose.The demand for timber roof trusses and wall frames is projected to grow in Australia over the next five years due to continued increase in housing construction (Australian Construction Insights). However, there is also a continued shortage of timber systems designers in Australia, with a lot of current work commissioned overseas. While this is one solution to a skill shortage there are advantages to employing local designers and estimators. When it comes to making sure codes are being met and communication is running smoothly, nothing compares to having eyes in the factory floor and on the building site.
Industry have indicated that the current qualifications and units of competency in timber truss and frame design do not meet current job titles, roles and practices. The entry level Certificate II contains assessments that are not permitted to be used by school-based trainees, restricting uptake, while the structure of the current Certificate IV presents a barrier in its high number of prerequisites. A restructuring of the qualifications will support strengthening career pathways and attracting new workers to this profession.
Project Scope
This project will review three qualifications and 39 units of competency relating to timber truss and frame design and manufacture. It will also develop at least two skill sets to support career pathways. 

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Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Forestry & Timber’ as your industry of interest.
 
Relevant Occupations
  • Timber Systems Designers
  • Designer (Timber Truss and Frame)
  • Production Fabricator (Timber Truss and Frame)
FWPSSXXXXX Skill set for truss and frame estimating and design operations (new)
FWPCOR2201 Work effectively in the forest and forest products industry
FWPCOR2202 Communicate and interact effectively in the workplace
FWPCOR2203 Follow environmental care procedures
FWPCOR2207 Maintain quality and product care
FWPCOR3202 Conduct quality and product care procedures
FWPCOR3204 Visually assess materials
FWPCOR4201 Monitor safety, health and environment policies and procedures
FWPCOR4203 Monitor quality and product care procedures
FWPCOT2201 Stack and bind material
FWPCOT2210 Tally material
FWPCOT2219 Use hand-held tools
FWPCOT2227 Process orders and despatch products
FWPCOT2228 Store materials
FWPCOT2229 Dock material to length
FWPCOT2232 Cut material to shape using a saw
FWPCOT2235 Assess timber for manufacturing potential
FWPCOT3204 Prepare and interpret sketches and drawings
FWPCOT3214 Take off material quantities
FWPCOT3218 Quote and interpret from manufactured timber product plans
FWPCOT3220 Quote and interpret from computerised timber manufactured product plans
FWPCOT3236 Coordinate stock control procedures
FWPCOT3239 Create drawings using computer aided design systems
FWPCOT3241 Assemble timber wall frames
FWPCOT3242 Lay up timber roof trusses
FWPCOT3243 Operate a truss press
FWPCOT3263 Maintain and contribute to energy efficiency
FWPCOT3264 Build and maintain timber stacks
FWPCOT4202 Design timber structures
FWPSAW2205 Assemble materials using nail plates
FWPTMM2201 Cut material to length and angles
FWPTMM2203 Read and interpret timber truss, floor and/or frame fabrication plans
FWPTMM3204 Interpret designs to prepare timber roof truss drawings and documents using computers
FWPTMM3205 Interpret designs to prepare timber floor system drawings and documents using computers
FWPTMM3206 Interpret designs to prepare timber wall frame drawings and documents using computers
FWPTMM3207 Set up timber floor trusses
FWPTMM4202 Diagnose and calculate production costs
FWPTMM4205 Prepare and advise on a broad range of timber roof truss details using computers
FWPTMM4206 Prepare and advise on a broad range of timber floor system details using computers
FWPTMM4207 Prepare and advise on a broad range of timber wall frame details using computers
Project Team
Georgiana DaianHead of Skills Standards Development, ForestWorks gdaian@forestworks.com.au
Michelle ClaytonIndustry Skills Standards Specialist, ForestWorks mclayton@forestworks.com.au
Rob StowellIndustry Skills Standards Contractor
Project Timeline
July – August 2019 Initial ScopingAugust – December 2019Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and unitsJanuary – February 2020Drafts available for broad consultationMarch 2020Validation of final draftsApril 2020Finalisation of Training package componentsJune 2020Submission for endorsement
Opportunities for stakeholder input
Stakeholder input and feedback is appreciated and welcomed throughout the duration of this project. Stakeholder contribution is essential so that the units and qualifications reflect real work experience, addressing the training meets the needs and requirements of the industry.Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in January-February 2019, and again for validation of final drafts in March 2020. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the units.If you work in the sector, your input and help would be appreciated. Please feel free to register your interest for project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link below. Alternatively, please feel free to contact the project manager, Michelle Clayton on 03 9321 3500 or mclayton@forestworks.com.au
Technical Advisory Committee
A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will be established to provide technical input on the review and development of units and qualifications. The TAC may include technical industry experts, industry associations, employee associations, regulators and training providers. The support that the project needs from the TAC includes:
  • Provide input with respect to the project on areas of industry skill development requirements, job roles and key tasks and activities
  • Provide technical expertise that will inform the content of units of competency
  • Review and provide feedback to the draft materials
  • Provide input to clarify potential differing views on industry requirements
  • Share project materials with other experts for their input.
If you are interested and able to volunteer your time to this project, please contact gdaian@forestworks.com.au  

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Most modern homes and a range of other buildings rely on timber trusses and frames as an essential element of the building structure. The demand for timber systems designers is projected to grow over the next five years due to continued increase in housing construction (Australian Construction Insights). However, there is a shortage of timber systems designers in Australia. Industry have indicated that the current qualifications and units of competency in timber truss and frame design do not meet current job titles, roles and practices.Consultation is underway to review and update three national qualifications, to better reflect job roles in the area of timber frame and truss design and manufacture, as identified in the 2018-19 IRC Skills Forecast. These qualifications are:
  • FWP20716 Certificate II in Timber Truss and Frame Design and Manufacture
  • FWP30916 Certificate III in Timber Truss and Frame Design and Manufacture
  • FWP40416 Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design
While the manufacturing job roles were not a priority area in the 2018-2019 Skills Forecast, they also need to be reviewed as part of this project because of the current configuration of the qualifications.

Next steps

The draft units of competency and qualifications will be made available on this webpage for broad stakeholder consultation and feedback from February 2020 (under the ‘Drafts Available’ menu above).Thank you to those stakeholders that have been involved and provided feedback and advice so far.The project will work with industry stakeholders over the next two months to configure the structure of the nationally recognised qualifications based on the feedback below.Please feel free to register your interest for consultation opportunities by contacting Dr Georgiana Daian at gdaian@forestworks.com.au. Please also follow projects updates by following the newsletter subscription link at the bottom of this page.

Consultation and development activities so far

The project team has undertaken a range of site visits in Melbourne and Brisbane during August and September 2019 to gather information about the job roles in frame and truss plants. Key findings are outlined under the headings below.The frame and truss industry consists of approximately 280 frame and truss manufacturing businesses and three large industry suppliers. Most businesses are small and medium-sized, with a few large businesses. The manufacturing plants are based and operate in areas with a high concentration of residential construction activity predominantly in NSW, VIC and QLD.The suppliers produce and sell frame and truss equipment, connectors, ancillary products and design software to frame and truss manufacturers. Manufacturing businesses use the supplier software to design, estimate and detail costs of, and assemble and deliver frames and trusses for customers.

Job roles in Timber Systems Design

The industry faces a long-lasting shortage of truss and frame designers. In this job role, people produce accurate estimates and designs from architectural plans using design software.The skill shortage led to a growth in offshore outsourcing services. However, the practice has proven not suitable for most small and medium-sized manufacturers, where the job is required to produce designs for custom output as opposed to volume output. The expertise needs to be local and in-house to handle orders, communicate and develop relationships, and work within timeframes for customers.

Job Roles in Manufacturing

Generally, there is low uptake and recognition of formal qualifications for the manufacturing job roles in the industry:
  • Training is done informally and in house.
  • Recruitment usually occurs on attitudinal skills rather than qualifications.
  • In most workplaces, the manufacturing jobs are limited to an area of truss and frame manufacture (such as a. frame, b. roof truss or c. floor truss) and a part of the manufacturing process (such as a. cut timber, b. assemble frames/roof trusses/floor trusses and c. bind/store the product), not the end-to-end process.

Workshop

Following the site visits, the project Technical Advisory Committee recently conducted a one-day face-to-face workshop in Melbourne to develop proposed pathways for both design and manufacture. These are currently being finalised by the Technical Advisory Committee. 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Forestry & Timber’ as your industry of interest.
 

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