The Post-Frame Market Initiative, with the support of NFBA members and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, continues to promote the use of post-frame construction in the light commercial market through education, marketing and research. In the August 2011 issue of this publication, NFBA board chair Larry Edema described the many ways in which PFMI is working to change the perceptions of architects and engineers and to expand the market for post frame. This article focuses in on several of these efforts.
In Fall 2011, PFMI stepped up its webinar series, offering both the Introduction to Post-Frame Building Systems and an advanced session on Structural Design of Post-Frame Building Systems each month. These offerings are promoted to the list subscribers to the PFA e-newsletter, which has grown by more than 2,000 in the past year, and through the Architect Newswire, which reaches more than 30,000 designers and architects of commercial buildings. Presented by Dr. Harvey Manbeck, PhD PE, NFBA Technical Advisor, the webinars are invariably well received and their average attendance exceeds 80 participants.
Later this year, PFMI will roll out an updated version of a one-hour PowerPoint presentation, which NFBA members can use in their own communities to educate designers, architects, engineers and code officials about the advantages of post frame. The NFBA booth at the 2012 Expo will feature builders ready to share information about how they reach out to designers and other decision-makers and facilitate these “lunch and learn” meetings. Additional materials, including marketing suggestions and sample invitations, will also be available.
Autumn is a busy season for trade shows and provides many opportunities for NFBA to exhibit the Post Frame Advantage. In September, NFBA president Jeff Henry and several members of the NFBA staff spoke to architects, specifiers, engineers, facility managers, building owners, and general contractors at Construct, the commercial building event held in conjunction with the annual convention of the Construction Specifications Institute. During the same time period, Edema staffed the PFA booth at the 2011 AIA Ohio Valley Region Convention in Dayton, where he had an opportunity to talk about the post-frame advantage to architects from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
In Fall 2011, NFBA will take its PFMI booth and the message about the advantages of using post frame to AIA shows in Kansas, Illinois and Minnesota, as well as the Wood Solutions Fair in Dallas.
WoodWorks (www.woodworks.org), sponsor of the Wood Solutions Fair, provides resources to help engineers, architects, general contractors and developers build nonresidential structures out of wood more easily and at less cost. PFMI and WoodWorks have both benefitted from strategic investments made by the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, and share the same goal of expanding the market for softwood lumber products. NFBA is pursuing several opportunities to join forces with WoodWorks, including adding an Introduction to Post Frame webinar to its educational offerings, and distributing the Post Frame Advantage Guide at its exhibit booth.
The development of a three-hour fire wall is critical to the expansion of post frame and the construction of large commercial post frame buildings. There are currently no approved three-hour wood frame walls, so designers must use masonry or steel fire walls. A one-hour test of six small-scale panels with different combinations of gypsum wall board and wood post frame construction was completed in June 2011. Based on the results, a full-scale, three-hour fire wall test is being conducted at Underwriters Laboratories to meet International Building Code requirements. The firewall assembly being tested consists of four layers of 5/8-inch thick type X gypsum wallboard fastened to 2 x 4 girts spaced 16 inches on center and applied with the wide face of the post. The post is 4-ply 2 x 6 nailed laminated columns with 8-foot on center spacing. Results are expected to be published in early 2012.