Originally established in 1985, Victoria-based Trussfab provides bearers, joists, pre-cut wall frames, prefabricated wall frames, long reach floor trusses and roof trusses to small- and medium-sized builders in the Dandenong area and surrounds. The business also offers also offer installation, taking jobs from stumps or a slab all the way to frame inspection stage.
The company was originally started up by Wayne Hayes, who sold the business to his cousin Hayden Dingle and Hayden’s wife Bianca in 2015.
Wayne worked with Hayden for many years to mentor and support him in purchasing the business,” says Angela Ellis, Trussfab’s Finance & Administration Manager. “Hayden started out on the factory floor straight out of school, and over the past years has worked his way to his dream of being the owner of Trussfab and taking it to the next level.”
Trussfab currently employs 21 people in the factory and eight in the office. The business also runs six carpenters on site.
“I believe the thing that makes Trussfab special is the experienced service we provide,” says Ellis. “We have detailers with over 30 years’ experience, and former carpenters and builders who work in the office give the option for builders and owner builders to come in and discuss issues and problems to solve on any job.”
Trussfab is currently keeping busy with the many retirement villages that are being built in the area. “These are enjoyable to work on just to see how quickly the go from a slab to a lived-in house,” Ellis says. “We’re also doing cliental work with people who have purchased through us for more than 20 years. This benefits us by knowing exactly how each individual wants things done.”
The business recently provided the trusses for a project on Channel Seven’s House Rules program.
“They contacted us and it evolved from there,” Ellis explains. “We thought it was a good option to put our name out there and an option to put our products out there for review by various people in front of a camera. We supplied all the wall frames, floor trusses and worked with the builders to put it all together in a real tight schedule. Keeping the secret for more than nine months was a bit of a challenge!”
Trussfab has been a Pryda licensee since the company was established. In fact, the business started across the road from Pryda in Healey Road in Dandenong.
“In those days if there was a problem, you just walked across the road, spoke to someone and things move forward,” says Dingle, Trussfab’s managing director. “Nowadays it is all done online and over the phone. Steve Gatti is our first contact with Pryda and his professional, friendly, helpful work ethic has helped me immensely in the transition to becoming the managing director and in streamlining all our processes.
“We work closely with him and his wealth of knowledge helps me in making the right decisions to moving the company forward. We have had two factory staff working doing the fast-track estimating and detailing which has been a great success, bringing the young through as potential future detailers and estimators.”
There has been much evolution and change in the timber industry for truss and frame fabricators, with products from suppliers now being far superior to what was available 20 years ago.
“Quality is the constant improver in my time in the industry,” says Ellis, who has been with Trussfab since 1997. “I started when there was F5, F8 or F17. The evolution of products such as machine grading, as well as LVL products to use in roof trusses have brought about much change.”
Technology has also replaced the need for old-school things such as the Yellow Pages or a fax machine. But Trussfab still likes to maintain a face-to-face relationship with customers.
“Our doors are always open for a friendly chat and to go over any issues with our customers,” Ellis says. “Even though technology has taken over, we still believe in old-fashioned customer service, where you can come in and put a face to a name. We are all Australian based, and everything we do is done in-house.”
Trussfab will continue to strive to provide ever-improving service and efficiency to its customers, and Dingle is feeling confident about the future of the business.
“As all fabricators in this industry have found over the last 10 years, finding qualified details and estimators is not that easy,” he says “Now that Pryda has the fast-track program in place it looks like there is light at the end of that tunnel. As the industry grows, to still having manufacturing done in Australia is something to be proud of and we need the government backing to keep it that way. The industry is growing in many different ways, but we hope that through working together we can keep in that way.
“Trussfab has a saying, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. We are proud of our accomplishments over the past 30 years, but we are always looking for improvements, be it in machinery OH&S (which is high on our list) or streamlining progresses and procedures. We are happy being the quiet achievers of the industry, and we will continue to focus on customer service and a quality product.”
For more on Trussfab, head to trussfab.com.au