When the architectural plan says ‘’or equivalent’’

As a builder, you’ll sometimes come across these two words in an architectural plan: ‘‘or equivalent.’’ These two words can give you pause.

‘‘Or equivalent’’ do I or don’t I?

You may be ok with what was specified as first choice, but as a builder having just gone through a few difficult years (along with the rest of the construction industry), your immediate reaction might well be ‘’can I find a suitable alternative that is less expensive?’’. This is tempered by the knowledge that if you decide on choosing an equivalent, your choice will likely be the subject of some back and forth between you the architect and the owner. In the interest of saving time and hassle, you have to make sure the product you propose can fulfill its role and have some added value such as lower price or technical innovation. It certainly can’t be inferior in any way.

Weighing your options

For example, you might see something like ‘Open Web Truss or equivalent’’. You have to decide pretty quickly if you are going to search for an equivalent as order times for Open Web Truss can be anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks. Could I-Joists be the way to go? They have good lead times but you’d have to give up the advantage of open webbing, which can make MEP installation so much easier and faster. To match the strength and rigidity of the Open Web Truss, additional shoring up of the I-Joist may be necessary too. It does have the advantage of being trimmable on site, though. In the event that there is a change in plans or mistake, being able to trim a joist right then and there is a big plus.

The Open Joist Triforce alternative

Open joist Triforce could be considered as another ”or equivalent” option. It’s strength and rigidity, along with its open web design make it an excellent candidate. Widely used 18’’ Open web trusses, may even be replaced by 16’’ Open Joist Triforce, provided the load criteria is met. Pricing and trimmability are two more of its advantages. The Open Joist Triforce is also well distributed. One final but important consideration: as Barrette Structural, the maker of Open Joist Triforce tends to associate with distributors that deliver more than once a week, orders are fulfilled promptly.

Taken as a whole, the characteristics of the Open Joist Triforce make it a very convincing ”or equivalent”alternative. If you give Open Joist Triforce a try, we suspect your conversations with the architect and the owner, at least on this subject, shouldn’t take up too much of your time.

Triforce open joist
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