With a wealth of construction experience, Phil Daniels isn’t afraid to ask for the right tools to get the job done. MiTek is right there with him, helping beat the clock on major projects.

Founded in Hull almost 40 years ago DWB Roof Truss Ltd works with architects, contractors, housebuilders, and homeowners all over the UK to provide some of the country’s most trusted timber roof trusses, floor joists and rafters. Proud to be called a family business DWB has spread into the heartlands of Essex, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire, and Kent.

For Managing Director, Phil Daniels, that comes with an immense feeling of achievement, but not pride. “Pride comes before a fall” says this level-headed son of the East Riding. Phil and his team work hard today, with one eye kept firmly on tomorrow. It’s this kind of thinking that formed the basis of DWB’s successful relationship with MiTek.

How is MiTek helping Phil and the team succeed?

Phil’s seen a lot of changes since joining DWB in 2001. The industry evolves and it’s easy to get left behind. About 12 years ago, he noticed that his architect clients were specifying Posi-Joist in their drawings instead of asking for a generic open web joist. It popped up here and there at first, but soon it was on virtually every design the team received. They couldn’t help but be curious.

It took three or four demonstrations of MiTek’s Posi-Joist system and software platforms before DWB signed up to a three-year deal. Switching was a big decision, but it’s one that Phil hasn’t regretted for a second, he says:

“The relationship started with Posi-Joist. Posi-Joist was the buzzword, the one that people recognised. It was specified on every drawing. And we thought ‘OK’ we need to look at this. It was a big decision to move our systems and software over, but we’ve never looked back. That was 12 years ago.

“We just built on this, and it grew beyond our expectations.”

Right away, DWB could say with confidence that they had the exact products that specifiers wanted. No substitutions or replacements. That led to more sales and more converts. And once you’ve converted a house builder to Posi-Joist, says Phil, they simply don’t go back.

During this 12-year relationship, DWB were aware of the power that MiTek’s PAMIR design software gave them for floors. “Following an extensive review of its’ roof design capabilities, we were convinced that a change to MiTek for our truss design and manufacture was the right decision for our business.”

“When Pamir came across, that just blew the world out. It was a gamechanger. As soon as we got it in, we just hit the ground rolling. It streamlined everything.

“We saw instantly three, four months after switching. We could see more work coming through. And that was right at the beginning.”

On the business side of things, DWB had way more control over exactly what they were selling. Their quote chain could expand, making it easier to win more work more efficiently while controlling prices better. The whole of its sales and design processes have been revolutionised.

That puts Phil and his colleagues in a good position when the big jobs come up, ones that really test their mettle…

Laceby Manor: Putting Skills to the test

Nowadays, Laceby Manor is one of the UK’s premier golf courses, set against 150 acres of the Lincolnshire Wolds, with some of the best facilities a resort could offer, from wild swimming areas, champagne bars, to Laceby’s latest addition, a luxury spa. It got that way, in part, thanks to the partnership between DWB and MiTek. But from the moment the architect and main contractor Rase Steel passed their initial ideas for the spa to Phil, it was clear that time was not going to be on their side.

The challenge at Laceby Manor was always going to be the incredibly tight time scale, one which most contractors wouldn’t entertain.

This job began with an honest, perhaps brutally honest, discussion about what was and wasn’t realistic within the given two-week timeframe. The structural engineer, for example, specified solid timber floors. That would mean drum bolting every single piece of steel to face fix to every single piece of timber; somewhere around 750,000 nails worth of work.

DWB could do better, as Phil explains:

 

 

“It was high on the client’s priority of requirements that the floor especially is well constructed, removing any opportunity for shrinking and creaking.  When we looked at the project we said look, we can get better performance here by using Posi-Joist.”

“Top-Hanging” all the Posi-Joists supported from the steel portal frames can’t be done with any other product, but the results spoke volumes. Phil adds: “We didn’t use a single hanger in the construction of the floor, and we’ve made it perform even better and carry more load than standard joists.”

The final floor performed better and took two weeks less time to install. In fact, the entire floor and roof of the spa were completed in just seven days.

“Kelvin Norton and the other joiners really cracked on with this project, I knew it could be done quickly but the chaps really smashed it out the park!”

These impressive time savings were made possible using Posi-Joist with DWB assembling the rafter and joist components off-site in its factory, before transporting the parts to site, where Kelvin and his team were ready to slot them into position. With DWB manufacturing everything off-site in its factory it saved weeks on site says Phil:

“Those seven days for the floor and roof would have been more than five weeks if Kelvin and the guys had to create it all on site, with traditional methods.

The project was complex, so with the help of MiTek’s team, they designed the solution with buildability in mind ready for DWB to manufacture and install the components on site with simplicity and ease. The simplicity of installation was supported with the use of MiTek 3D, a digital tool which allowed for greater interaction between DWB, the architect and end client. Using the software, they gained a greater understanding of the project and could collaborate effectively on the design complexities, identifying and resolving potential issues.

This type of close working partnership is typical of how MiTek supports its clients and goes the extra mile to find a solution for the customer.

PAMIR and Posi-Joist let Phil’s team do what they do best; designing and manufacturing, safe in the knowledge that it’ll all fit together when it reaches the site and can be installed with minimal labour requirements. This is a big advantage in today’s labour stretched market. The builders at Laceby Manor benefitted from less activity around them while they worked; more free space to do their jobs safely and efficiently.

The Manor resort is open for business, looking amazing, and Phil is eagerly awaiting his invitation to the golf course. It’ll arrive any day now, he’s sure.

Building relationships and strengthening ties

The bond between DWB and MiTek is anything but run-of-the-mill. Nothing demonstrates that better than when Anthony, MiTek Business Development Manager, and Phil discovered their shared interest in country music and ventured out to a Kiefer Sutherland gig:

“Once you’ve done that, it’s hard not to get along professionally”, says Phil with a smile. Any time Phil had a question, he could pick up the phone and get some straight talk from Anthony even if sometimes the answer is hard to swallow.

But even after all this time, our ties are still getting closer. The next step is for DWB to make use of our Dedicated Services team. Right now, the design market is incredibly competitive, with a notable skills shortage that means training a new designer to DWB’s standards could take up to six years.

DWB doesn’t fancy waiting those six years, there’s a commercial imperative. Instead, they can count on MiTek to connect them with a trusted, qualified, and experienced designer. Based in Vietnam, they work while the UK sleeps, effectively giving the DWB team 24/7 design capabilities.

That gives them a strong competitive edge, which they’ll need as the future of the construction landscape begins to change…

What does the future hold for DWB and MiTek?

New UK building regs are on the horizon, calling for many houses to have mechanical heat ventilation and blown air systems. “That’s going to get a lot of builders scratching their heads at how they’re going to fit it all through their existing beams”, says Phil.

Some will make do. Lots of others will realise that open web solutions like Posi-Joist are the best way forward and make the switch.

“We’ve always said, once you’ve converted a house builder they don’t go back. Come cost, nothing. Once they’ve tried a Posi-Joist, they just don’t go back.”

DWB is already ahead, sitting on decades of combined experience providing the best products and systems for futureproof homes. Capabilities that will stand DWB in good stead as more and more housebuilders and architects specify Posi-Joist.

At MiTek, we’re looking forward to helping Phil and the team meet the future head-on, with an expanding range of services and an ever-closer partnership. Who knows, Kiefer might even be touring again!

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