Business View Oceania | February 2021

19 20 BUSINESS VIEW OCEANIA FEBRUARY 2021 BUSINESS VIEW OCEANIA FEBRUARY 2021 FRAME & TRUSS MANUFACTURERS ’ ASSOC I AT ION OF NEW ZEALAND the Chair and Vice-Chair. The board or executive group members are drawn from a wide range of fabricator members and related trade, supply chain and industry members. We also have two part-time contract roles for administration and member services. Some of the important concerns that prompted the creation of the Association in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, such as consistent grading and treatment specifications for framing timber, have been resolved. These days there are other issues to deal with and to which the Association is turning our attention. A key current concern is industry training and skills development. New Zealand is experiencing strong residential building demand and frame and truss manufacturers are struggling with finding staff with the required skills and experience to help run their operations. A key skill that is in short supply for example is timber structure detailing, which is the task of using sophisticated software packages to convert an architectural design or house plan into a set of frames and trusses that comply with building code requirements to form the basis of the structure. Once the frame and truss designs are set up using the software, the required cutting instructions are directly downloaded to computer-controlled saws which cut out all the timber sections required with a high degree of accuracy and precision. So, the role of a detailer requires high levels of computer literacy, attention to detail and a good understanding of the building process. To its credit, the New Zealand government is offering strong financial support to individuals and employers to undertake trade skills training. FTMA works closely with key trade training organisations such as the Building & Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) to improve awareness and uptake of these support packages among the members. Another pressure common to most industries is the ongoing need to control costs while also improving product quality. Many truss and frame factories have invested in automation to reduce the need for direct human handling. Labour and building costs in New Zealand are relatively high compared to some other countries, so off-site factory prefabrication of key building components is an important part of controlling costs, saving time and lifting quality of new building development. Consequently, a number of FTMA members are also looking to how they can extend their participation into off-site manufacture beyond the core frame and truss set using the skills and infrastructure that are