Good news for anyone involved in construction: The industry added 23,000 specialty trade contractor jobs in November 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bad news? Construction employers will likely struggle to fill new positions, as a labor shortage triggered by the 2007–2009 Great Recession continues to dampen more robust growth for the builder economy.
In fact, the number of builders reporting a critical shortage of labor has grown from 21% in 2012 to 46% in 2014, 52% in 2015 and 56% in 2016, says Paul Emrath, who tracks industry economic statistics as the vice president for survey and housing policy research for the National Association of Home Builders.
Continue reading “Laying Foundations: Simpson Strong-Tie Mentoring Future Construction Leaders of America”
Warm winter wishes for a joyful holiday season and a happy new year!
On a Sunday morning in late August 2014, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake surprised Napa, California residents and caused structural damage to many homes and businesses in the area. One of the most powerful earthquakes in Napa’s history, local news outlet KQED reported $300 million in damage to homes and commercial properties.
Napa is right in our backyard, about 60 miles north of Pleasanton. Many Simpson Strong-Tie employees felt the quake, but fortunately no one was injured. If you’ve ever been in a large earthquake, you would probably agree that it’s a frightening and unsettling experience. And unlike other natural disasters, there’s no warning. Here is one woman’s story about the Napa earthquake:
Continue reading “Protecting Your Home from Earthquakes”
This week’s post featuring a Simpson inspired DIY bar cart was written by Jen Woodhouse from The House of Wood.
Hello! Jen Woodhouse here, happy to be back on the Building Strong blog, sharing my DIY bar cart just in time for the holidays! Tis the season for entertaining and this bar cart with removable tray is the perfect addition to your festive holiday party.
Continue reading “Build An Easy DIY Bar Cart For Your Next Holiday Party”
Modular construction — sometimes also known as prefabricated, prefab, prebuilt, manufactured, factory-built, or panelized construction — ain’t no stroll in the trailer park. Although double-wides and modular prefabs sometimes roll off the same factory floor, the similarities end there between mobile homes and true modular construction, which is gaining a foothold in markets as builders and developers look for higher-quality, more efficient construction processes.
Like component construction, modular building takes much of the labor off of the construction site and puts it on a factory floor, where assembly can be value-engineered to minimize waste and maximize speed and overall product quality. And while modular building includes trusses and panels, modular component facilities are much more than your run-of-the-mill truss plant.
Continue reading “Modular Building: a Faster, Higher-Quality Alternative to Stick-Built Construction”
There are a couple of turkeys that like to hang out around our home office in Pleasanton and, no, I’m not referring to any of my colleagues — we actually have a gang of wild turkeys that comes up from the creek behind the office. Almost every day, these colorful birds feel safe enough to stroll onto the office walkway pecking for food outside our office windows and doors. It’s surprising to me that these beautiful creatures could be so fearless (or is it simply naïve?), especially around Thanksgiving time. Their presence reminds me that being fearless is important, because nothing new would ever be discovered if we were too afraid to venture outside our comfort zones.
Continue reading “Turkeys and Gratitude”
This past spring, my wife, Jamie, decided to bring home six chickens. Then she pointed at me and said, “We’re going to need a chicken coop.” Well, six months later, the chickens were still sleeping in our old rabbit hutch at night and free-ranging around the yard during the day. One morning I went to let them out and saw all six of them tightly packed into a hutch designed for one rabbit, and I knew the time had come.
When I sat down to design these chicken coop plans, I knew that we wanted something awesome. We wanted to design a coop with clean, modern lines that had a simple yet great-looking exterior. This thing will be sitting in our yard all the time, so we knew just any old coop wouldn’t work. Jamie and I sat down to research chicken coop plans but nothing was exactly what we wanted. We didn’t want the standard look of boxes attached to boxes. We wanted everything housed in one single unit, under one roof.
Continue reading “Chicken Coop Plans: How to Build a Modern Chicken Coop”
Of all the possible mistakes that pop up across East Coast construction sites, one easy-to-correct framing blunder continues to vex even the best builders and structural engineering experts – the use of incorrect fasteners. Despite the industry’s best training efforts, the availability of print handbooks and installation guides, and even easy-to-understand smartphone videos and graphics, framing laborers are seemingly content to bang away at various anchors, straps and plates using whatever nail happens to be loaded in the gun.
“Even with great advancements in building designs and roof and framing systems, the bigger issue remains how well those designs are executed in the field,” explains Simpson Strong-Tie builder service rep Kevin Kelly. “No matter how much training we do and how many pocket install guides we publish, the biggest issue with framing connectors is always the use of incorrect fasteners.”
Continue reading “How to Fix the Most Common East Coast Framing Errors”
This week’s post was written by Jen Woodhouse from The House of Wood.
Hi friends! I’m excited to be back to share how we built this gorgeous DIY pergola with Simpson Strong-Tie’s new Outdoor Accents® line. If you’d like to read about how we built the floating deck, click here.
If you recall, we built the floating deck and pergola for our neighbors, who also happen to be a fellow military family. The deck and pergola are our welcome home gift to their deployed soldier. Aren’t they amazing? I’m so thrilled that we were able to work with Simpson Strong-Tie and give our neighbors a beautiful new outdoor space that they can enjoy for years to come.
Continue reading “Your DIY Pergola Makes Everything Even Cooler: Part 2”
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Take framing, for instance. In November 2009, Simpson Strong-Tie Pacific Northwest Outreach Coordinator Jim Mattison penned the article Framing Hardware Dos and Don’ts for the Journal of Light Construction, outlining some of the most common framing errors as seen in the field, including notching studs and joists around anchors, using incorrect fasteners and overdriving nails with pneumatic nailing equipment.
So what’s evolved out there on the jobsite in the eight years since? “Not much,” bemoans Mattison, who says common framing mistakes still vex most of the builders he visits across the Western US. “When it comes to installing the hardware, the problems that plagued the industry in 2009 persist today, and while some of the hardware has changed in configuration and use, simple installation errors regarding use of incorrect fasteners and fastener overdrive are still happening frequently.”
Continue reading “Repetitive Training Needed to Fix the Most Common West Coast Framing Errors”