Timber Frame Skillnets' Activities Improve Quality and Cut Costs

An independent evaluator’s report of the Timber Frame Skillnets’ activities for the last 24 months has concluded that proper training of site personnel can lead to substantial cash savings. The report notes that Skillnets’ funding enabled the development of an accredited training course for timber frame site erectors and that the Irish Timber Frame Manufacturers Association (ITFMA) had become a City & Guilds approved training centre. Calling this course a flagship project the report says that it had put training and certification in place in a key area.

The evaluator was also able to estimate the financial benefits of the course. The key benefit was a reduction in rework broken down into two main classes: minor reworks requiring a one person day and major reworks requiring a full team for one or two weeks.

Companies who sent erectors on the course subsequently found that once personnel had been trained the number of reworks halved leading to an average cost saving of Eur1,500 per house. Even if a timber frame company was only producing 50 kits a year, savings of up to Eur75,000 could be achieved.

“Obviously the driving force for developing the course in the first place was to improve the quality of work on site. And even though most of the erectors who attended the courses were all experienced individuals they still stated that they had acquired much knowledge that was both new and practical,” comments ITFMA manager Philip Mahony. “The old adage is that in recessionary times the training budget is the first to suffer. However the evaluator’s comments disprove that theory.”

The ITFMA has now received further funding from Skillnets to cover its training activities for the remainder of 2010. Under the banner of the Eco Construction Skillnet training of timber frame site erectors will continue and a wider range of courses will also be rolled out. Details of these will be listed on www.itfma.ie as they occur.

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