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New Scheme for Trussed Rafter Training

The Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) has launched a new training scheme to enable trussed rafter designers to prove their knowledge and experience and put theory into practice.

Trussed rafters provide a structural framework to support the roof fabric, ceilings or floors of buildings in both domestic and commercial structures. The manufacturing process for trussed rafters reduces emissions and pollution and there is minimal environmental impact from installation.

The Designer Development Programme (DDP) was launched at a special careers event held recently for TRA members to address skills shortages in the industry. The DDP has seven levels and is based on the completion of evidence books in which trainee designers must show their experience in five roof design scenarios.

Each set of five books is expected to take around six months to a year to complete, giving the trainees chance to encounter real-life design briefs in real-time. They must show their awareness of commercial and technical aspects of the projects and include knowledge of safety, efficiency, and best practice.

TRA chief executive Nick Boulton said: “The Designer Development Programme is a great step forward for the TRA and its members. It offers the next generation of trussed rafter and metal web floor designers a structured programme for their development and will provide them with a series of certificates and evidence books to show their progress and experience gained.”

Candidates must have completed introductory systems training and the TRA online Essentials Training, developed with Edinburgh Napier University, to undertake the DDP. Levels one and two are now available with seven trainees having already started the first level.

Leah Walters works at Donaldson Timber in Derbyshire and started off working in the reception there before deciding to re-train as a designer. She took part in the beta testing for the scheme and will soon be submitting her evidence books to her in-house assessor. She said: “It’s great to have been involved in testing the DDP. My assessor, David Murphy, has helped me make sure that I’ve experienced all the necessary types of roof design in my day-to-day work so that I can include them in my evidence books, and has supported me throughout.

“It was hard at first because I was new to design, but the books are interactive and link you to helpful notes at the back which play a really big part in your understanding. The books are easy to navigate and it’s straightforward uploading your designs. I haven’t felt under pressure to complete the books. I just set aside a few hours a week and felt I was learning on the job. It’s made me think more about feasibility, safety and the commercial aspects of a project before starting the design.”

The programme has been developed by the TRA’s training committee led by Richard George of timber engineering software provider MiTek. Other member companies involved in creating the programme include Wolf System, ETS Trusses, ITW Construction Products, Donaldson Timber Engineering, Armstrong Timber Engineering, National Timber Systems, Arnold Laver, Pasquill, Trussform, DWB Group and Crendon Timber.

You can read the full feature in the Spring Timber Construction magazine

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