Building Value for NFBA Members

-By Todd Carlson, Chair, NFBA Board of Directors-

Within a month of the Frame Building Expo and the official change of leadership on the board of directors, NFBA (National Frame Building Association) executive director Jeff Henry and I were in Chicago attending a two-day seminar for chief elected and executive officers that focused on building skills for effective leadership. One statement made early in the event caught my attention—something on the order of “What’s important is not what we (“the Association”) provide; it’s what the members receive.” The board is dedicated to delivering value to the membership, and our volunteer board members give generously of their time, expertise and financial resources, but we often question whether we are meeting the members’ expectations.

NFBAAs we begin to build on and leverage the great work done by the prior leaders, I’ve been focusing on how we can better determine what is valuable both to our builder members and to those we hope to attract as members. To put it another way, what will we (the board of directors and management team) change in our communication methods, timing, format and content that will generate feedback from the builder community and drive our work in the future? The association needs your input and response to questions about NFBA’s direction and work, and we will be actively seeking it over the next several months as we develop and refine a strategic plan and enhance the focus and deliverables of the Post-Frame Market Initiative.

Strategic planning is crucial to establishing where the NFBA is going, when it expects to arrive, and what benchmark will be used by the board to evaluate our governance decisions along the way. The same is true for our ongoing efforts to enhance the work of PFMI. The PFMI Committee directs a significant amount of the work that supports the goals and objectives of the association. An added benefit of our strategic planning will be the enhancement of communication across NFBA’s committees, eliminating duplication of efforts and providing opportunities to increase our effectiveness as a board.

I look forward to sharing our progress and, more important, hearing from you as you communicate your perspective on what is needed to strengthen the association and your business. Learning of your willingness to increase your own involvement to help us accomplish what is called for would be an added bonus!

Report from the NFBA Board of Directors

The board and the association continue to focus on education and safety. The 2017 Frame Building Expo moved us forward on both these fronts, as I mentioned in my message in the April issue of Frame Building News, which went to press just a few days after we returned from Nashville. Be sure to check out the Expo Highlights article on page 16 for additional coverage and photos of expo events.


Plans are shaping up for NFBA’s 2017 Post-Frame Marketing and Economic Summit, to be held August 28–29 in Indianapolis. The Summit will include overviews of the construction market and growth forecasts for the post-frame industry, leading economic indicators, and current issues affecting our industry. Economist Connor Lokar, of ITR Economics, will be returning as our keynote speaker. Not only did Connor’s 2016 presentation deliver insights about key economic indicators that have an impact on our business, but he won the audience’s trust as he shared his perspective on the current challenges in workforce recruitment and retention.

Roundtable discussion topics are being developed and will allow attendees to share their perspectives and apply the knowledge gained. This event, open to both member and nonmember suppliers and contractors, promises to provide stimulating content for those in leadership and decision-making roles and for builders and suppliers across the industry.

I encourage builder and supplier members alike to commit the resources necessary to send one or two employees to this event. Up-and-coming managers, sales and marketing leaders, materials managers and financial and supply partners should have a chance to experience the quality of the education and networking that this Summit offers. It’s a unique opportunity to focus on the industry and your own business. Stay tuned for details about registration, which opens in early June.


Of the proceeds from the silent auction held at this year’s expo, $8,726 was dedicated to the development of safety-related information and products. Test walls and structures are being planned for the testing of fall-protection devices, and work on a safety manual template for builders to adapt for use by their companies is progressing.

Update from the Technical and Research Committee

Research Project on Long-Span Roofing—NFBA is working with North Dakota State University to qualify for a program through the National Science Foundation to study the effects of long-span metal roofing expansion on panel joints and connections. Field experience shows that in certain instances the fasteners connecting the metal roof deck to the trusses and purlins are failing or backing out of the wood support members. This failure allows leakage through the roof deck, and in extreme situations, affects the diaphragm strength of the deck.

Design Manual for Post-Frame Non-Diaphragm Buildings (a joint project with the Natural Resources Conservation Service)—NFBA will coordinate the development of a design guide to be used by engineers when they are designing buildings that do not have walls clad with siding to create a diaphragm support system. Siding is an important element in post-frame design because load transfer takes place through this material into the posts and into the building foundation. The Post-Frame Building Design Manual, second edition, provides some insight into this area, but additional information will be valuable for designing this type of structure. Work will begin when the contract with NRCS is final. Project completion is planned for the first quarter of 2018.

Additional Chapters for the Post-Frame Building Design Manual—David Bohnhoff, PhD, PE, is writing additional chapters on connection design, girt and purlin design and mechanically laminated assembly design. Completion of the new chapters is expected in December 2017.

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Engineering Practice 486.3. Shallow Post and Pier Foundations—David Bohnhoff, PhD, PE, is leading the work on this document. Several T&R Committee members are participating in the peer review of an initial draft.

Research on Perforated Diaphragms—Research on the effect of windows, doors and wainscoting on the structural performance of diaphragm walls has been completed. A final report from project director Donald Bender, PhD, PE, Washington, is near completion.

In closing, I want to reiterate that NFBA aims to be the resource that post-frame contractors count on. To fulfill this goal, we need to know what your needs are so we can focus our efforts on providing relevant solutions. Please help us by staying connected. Contact information for me and the other board members is given below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Todd Carlson is chair of the NFBA Board of Directors and president of A.J. Manufacturing Inc., Bloomer, Wisconsin. He can be reached at

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