New talent, new leadership, new structure and embracing new technology were just some of the highlights from the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) Annual AGM, which took place last month.
One of the key speakers, Alison Watson, founder of Class of Your Own, inspired delegates when talking about the Design Engineer Construct! programme. She explained how easily the construction industry can collaborate with local schools to give a taste of what a career in the built environment is really like.
Celebrations were in order for two trussed rafter designers who achieved the highest scores in the TRA’s online training. Top scorers Frank Kyne of Wyckham Blackwell and Gabor Vince of Taylor Lane Timber Frame Ltd, will travel to Sweden courtesy of Vida Wood, to visit the forest and mill to experience the felling and logging process.
The AGM was the first official TRA event with Nick Boulton as chief executive and he took the opportunity to announce a new structure to help the TRA move with the fast pace of construction.
Regional chairs will become project champions for this year, heading up an array of projects that were also announced at the AGM. Projects include the spandrel panel guide that will also cover care homes and apartments; the development of a gable panel guide; updates to the installation guide; and a quality assurance scheme for clad panels designed to make checking the specification easier for building control.
Fire safety was another key issue and leading building inspector, Geoff Wilkinson, warned of how the repercussions of Grenfell Tower rippled across the whole construction industry, not just those whose products had been used on the tower.
Geoff gave a comprehensive history of building regulations starting with the Great Fire of London in 1666 and fast tracking to the 1980s. Since then many changes have been made to building regulations and Geoff spoke of how ambiguous they are. At the time of the AGM, the Hackitt Report had not been published but Geoff warned the members to be ready and vigilant to ensure that their products are not substituted and to check that certification can prove their products are genuine.
With Brexit looming, technical standards and the need to embrace technology for the future were discussed. The TRA is now a ‘Relevant Authority’ for BIM, as granted by the CPA for LEXiCON to ensure that all trussed rafters and metal web joists are consistently represented in BIM models. All members comply with BIM Level 2 protocols and earlier in the year committed to using Eurocode 5 for all new drawings and for all legacy drawings from 1 July 2018.
Delegates also received feedback on the success of the new TRA website and how it is helping housebuilders and roofing professionals to find information more easily and get answers to technical queries.
TRA chairman, Jonathan Fellingham, closed the AGM by highlighting the importance of inspiring the next generation to consider a career in the construction industry, and the need for members to find robust solutions to fire safety.