Ideally, architectural plans go from paper to finished building with the same materials. Of course, in the real world, this is seldom the case. Changes in the scope of the project, in timelines, and in scheduling of the work, can all have an effect on what materials end up being used onsite. When these changes occur, the architect, the builder and the owner must do their due diligence to agree upon the changes, so that each material conversion fits the project perfectly. It is also important to accurately track the implementation of these changes. No one wants to end up with misunderstandings that can endanger the finished product, the contract, and the business relationships between those involved.
Sometimes change orders can simply be based on bringing in a less expensive material to compensate for a scope change on another unrelated part of the project. Material changes often come from budget considerations.
The owner and contractor may go back to the distributor to seek advice on what materials can be converted. In some instances, the parties involved can find a material does the job perfectly, for less.
Floor systems are no exception to these kinds of change orders, and often when a project is spec’d with steel joists or deep plated trusses, a high performance lower cost alternative is available. The key to this kind of conversion is, of course, that the new product be within the specification range. The type of projects in which wood joists can substitute for steel joists will generally be multi-family, hotel/motel and light commercial construction. Because of their strength and lightness, certain wood joists can be expected to provide full performance, ease of use, and the sought after benefit of lower cost.
For example, an open-joist Triforce® can substitute for steel joists at up to 30 feet lengths (using up to 16’’ depth). It is also possible to replace a steel joist by two open-joist Triforce to carry the equivalent load, and still save money. Remember that the steel joists will likely involve a concrete pour, making them a very expensive option. Open-Joist Triforce has also been used in the past to convert 18’’ deep plated trusses.
Advanced materials such as these can certainly help you stay ahead of the game and cut costs without sacrificing performance and they are definitely worth investigating if you think your project is within the multi-family or light commercial category. If it is, why not check out our specification guide?
If you’d like to discuss further into detail about possible material conversions on your project, talk with your distributor or contact us directly. We’d be happy to help.