Ben McKinnon (Wood Products Processing)

Ben McKinnonPacific Building Systems, Vancouver Island, BC

Over the course of my work term, I was designing floors, decks and truss systems for Pacific Building Systems prefabricated homes company of Vancouver Island. I spent most of my days at work using a computer program called Mitek Sapphire to convert architectural and engineering plans to 3D models of houses. I then used the 3D model that I created to test whether the structure would stand, or if certain beams or floor joists would fail under the weight of the building. My official title was Floor Technician as I was mostly responsible for designing and creating material lists of floors. The floors that I design are then cut to length in the yard, and sent on ships and trucks all over the world to be unpackaged and assembled on site. At one point, a floor and deck I designed was sent up to Harding Lake Alaska to be built on site. While designing these houses on the computer, I have learned a lot about how these engineering centered programs work. I find it to be both extremely powerful and efficient once I gained an understanding of how it works. I was given the opportunity to go out to some local job sites and see how these floor systems are built. Seeing this first hand has helped me in the office, as I can begin to make connections between what I do in design and what effects it has on the contractors and tradesmen at the work site. This work term experience had been educational and eye opening and will no doubt help me as I move forward into future Co-op positions.