Simpson Strong-Tie Literature at Your Fingertips

A couple of years ago, my brother-in-law asked if I could stop by the swim club where he is a board member. He was overseeing a construction project to upgrade the buildings and patio covers, which involved dry-rot repairs and the addition of Simpson Strong-Tie® connectors to create a continuous load path. He wanted me to meet with the contractor and make some suggestions for alternate connectors. The as-built conditions didn’t work for the specified connectors at a few locations, and there were some spots where he thought the connectors were “ugly.” I’m probably in the minority on this, but I think shiny galvanized steel connectors are just beautiful. So the “ugly” comment stung a little bit.

Once I got over my hurt feelings, I grabbed my Wood Construction Connectors catalog, a Deck Connection and Fastening Guide, and a few other fliers and technical bulletins that I thought might be helpful and drove across town to meet them. With literature in hand, we were able to come up with ways to work around the more difficult areas, and also select some more aesthetically pleasing architectural connectors at prominent locations. I thought we were done, and then the contractor had a few more questions on anchoring that I needed an Anchoring and Fastening Systems Catalog to look up some information on – and I didn’t have one! I managed to muddle through with my smartphone and find the information online, but couldn’t help but think that there had to be a better way to access design information when you are out of the office.

ipad overviewThe better way has arrived in the latest version of the Simpson Strong-Tie® Literature Library mobile app. It was just launched this month and is much more comprehensive than the first version. There are several new features that I wanted to highlight for you.

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How Do You Use Technology To Make Your Job Easier?

I confess to being a bit of a technology junkie. I think it was around 1995 when I first overcame my fears and cracked open my computer case, installed a new hard drive and upgraded to an enormous 8 megabytes of RAM. While I still enjoy building my own home computer every now and then, it seems like keeping up with technology is a full-time job. For every new website or app, you can expect two or three more just like it to follow. Trying to filter through all of that information to find what’s useful to your specific job, process or project can be impossible.

I’ve found it’s usually best to let the need dictate the technology, versus the other way around. When I was designing buildings, contractor sketches or descriptions of field issues were often not clear (especially the ones that had been faxed 5 times!). Sometimes we could figure it out with several phone calls, but other situations would require a field visit. A photograph would work, but developing film and sending the photos would take too long. The development of inexpensive digital cameras so field questions could be e-mailed with photos really streamlined my process for responding to field issues.

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