Timber Framers

Kenny has been designing & engineering timber frames for almost 10 years and has been in the construction industry for 30 years. His experience in the field, including framing houses and cutting timbers, has given Kenny the hands on experience that most engineers do not have. Sizing a post or a beam in itself is fairly simple, but how these elements are connected and act as a framing system are the difference makers.

This is especially true with timber frames. With many clients, one of the most appealing aspects of a timber frame is an open floor plan. This requires larger openings and longer spans, and when mountain snow loads can often exceed 100 pounds per square foot, the sizing of the timbers and connection design can prove to be quite challenging. Typically, spanning these larger openings can be achieved by using timber trusses.

With 15 years of designing trusses for several Colorado manufacturers, Kenny understands how the loads are applied to a truss and how these loads transfer to axial forces through the truss members. Knowing the material properties and design values for the various species of timbers used in timber framing is crucial.

There’s a term that is often used when it comes to designing structures – “value engineering.” What does this really mean? Wikipedia defines it as such:

“Value engineering is systematic method to improve the “value” of goods or products and services by using an examination of function. Value, as defined, is the ratio of function to cost. Value can therefore be increased by either improving the function or reducing the cost. It is a primary tenet of value engineering that basic functions be preserved and not be reduced as a consequence of pursuing value improvements.

The reasoning behind value engineering is as follows: if marketers expect a product to become practically or stylistically obsolete within a specific length of time, they can design it to only last for that specific lifetime. The products could be built with higher-grade components, but with value-engineering they are not because this would impose an unnecessary cost on the manufacturer, and to a limited extent also an increased cost on the purchaser. Value engineering will reduce these costs. A company will typically use the least expensive components that satisfy the product’s lifetime projections.”

Kenny does not quite see it this way. For starters, Kenny believes that timbers frames should last forever! Now this may not be totally realistic. But when we consider the Buddhist temple in Tibet that is still standing after 1300 years, how long do we anticipate the lifetime of a structure to be?

As for value, “the ratio of function to cost,” we clearly see that less expensive or reduced costs does not mean greater value. With timber framing, materials are only a portion of the overall costs. If a timber frame and its connections are designed so that both shop & field labor are more efficient, the overall costs are reduced and the value increased.

Kenny knows what it takes to cut and raise a timber frame, and the costs associated with each. Coupled with the passion & enthusiasm for timber framing in general, Kenny’s goal as a designer and engineer is to create a structure that will not only last for more than a lifetime, but one with the greatest value.