Roberts & Dybdahl, Inc., is a leading Midwest wholesale distributor of lumber, lumber products and building materials. According to its website, the company’s focus on service is a key factor in the success of its leadership in the market. As a part of that commitment, Roberts & Dybdahl has in-house engineered wood technicians at each of its eight distribution centers.
As an extension of the company’s dedication to service, Roberts & Dybdahl produces engineered wood plans for its customers. Tim Huston, an EWP technician and floor designer for the company, said he had used a variety of CAD-based programs in the past, but he wanted software that would offer layout, take-off and design capabilities in one tool to help increase productivity.
Huston turned to LP Solutions Software, a whole-house CAD-based design program offered to LP® SolidStart® Engineered Wood Products customers. “Our old software did no engineering at all. We had to engineer by hand or use a different tool. Now I do all of my plans in LP Solutions,” Huston said.
The program provides object renderings, framing and design automation, parametric modeling, and materials list generation.
“LP Solutions is really easy to use. It’s helped our productivity tremendously. Before we started using it, we were lucky to get four plans out of here in an eight-hour day. Now, on a good day, we can do eight to ten,” Huston said.
As a floor designer for Roberts & Dybdahl, Huston said he enjoys the floor system design provided by the software, which includes load transfer from floor to floor. “It’s nice to be able to go into your design values and look at all the capacities of your joists. I can see where the floor is the weakest and where it’s the strongest. It gives me a picture of the consistency of the entire floor.”
LP Solutions Software incorporates true editing in 3-D, allowing users to see different layers in the design and find potential errors, reducing the likelihood of mistakes. “The ability to create things in three dimensions is especially helpful with our multi-level projects,” Huston said.
The software has also helped Roberts & Dybdahl take their customer service to the next level with the program’s materials list generation. “We’ve had numerous occasions on commercial jobs where an engineer will require design values on every joist on the job. We’re able to print those right from the software, create a PDF with them, and send them to the engineer.”
Houston has completed more than 1,000 jobs since switching to LP Solutions Software in 2009, and he says the software has increased productivity by about 35 to 40 percent.
“It was easy to transition to LP Solutions. LP came to Des Moines and put on a two-day training seminar,” Huston said. “One of the
best things about this software is the learning curve. Anyone who has any kind of background in floor design can learn this software fairly quickly and become efficient in a short amount of time.”