Local roof and floor truss manufacturer and building supply store J&H Industries found themselves faced with that challenge, after being approached by Dow and Duggan Log Homes International out of Halifax. The company is in the process of building two log homes in Greenland, and needed the roof trusses to work for that climage.
J&H Industries were not the first builders approached for the project, however they were the first that found a solution to the problems. The first hurdle was just being able to send the trusses by boat.
“It’s not just designing and building a truss. It’s designing and building it so it will fit in a container, and be easily put together at the far end,” says Mark Sloane,
Designing a truss to fit in a cargo container created another problem though. The way the building was designed would have created load-bearing problems. Sloane says that involved working with the designers to modify the structure.
“For example one of their internal walls wasn’t load bearing. We said if you can make the internal wall load bearing than we can create the design which will work.”
Once the solution was found, it was just a matter of meeting the building codes for Greenland.
Sloane says in the grand scheme of things it is a small order, however it certainly was interesting. Business has been busy for the company as well, says Sloane, building everything from baby barns to large scale commercial buildings. On the same week they shipped the trusses to Greenland, they also sent out 70 trusses for part of a farm.
J&H is a little more than just trusses though. While the company started out building just trusses when they began in 1978, the business has steadily been expanding since then. In addition to the traditional building supplies, they also design kitchens and bathrooms, and sell tools and painting supplies.
Earlier this year when Mike Quinn’s store closed, they added the Para Paints line to their own store.
Sloane says this is all in an effort to increase the retail side of things, while still serving the contractors.
“It’s not just designing and building a truss. It’s designing and building it so it will fit in a container, and be easily put together at the far end.” - J&H co-owner Mark Sloane
“(The customer) will come in and buy their paint, a piece of two by four and a bag of nails, which is great.”
J&H employs around 30 full and part time employees, from designers and builders to retail clerks and administration.
“I’ve got a really good and experience staff. Most have been here a long time, and know their trade and their customers.”
Sloane himself has been with the business for the past two and a half years, and manages it with wife and business partner Karen. Karen has owned J&H for the past 13 years.
Sloane came on with the company after retiring from the British Royal Navy. He says it was a bit of a learning curve to get up to speed with the business, but says overall dealing with people was still pretty much the same.
“In terms of dealing with people, I’ve done that all my life. There are quite a few similarities.”
The connection to the original owners is still there too. J&H stood for James and Huntley, and two of Huntley’s sons are still employed with the business.
The trusses will always remain a core part of their J&H’s business says Slone, and they hope that this job with Greenland will lead to more in the future. Most are shipped within province, with some going as far Newfoundland and St. Pierre et Miquelon. However this is the first time a truss has gone this far.
Sloane says it’s great to know one of their products is going to such a different location though, and it adds a feather to their cap.
“It speaks to the ability of our designers to make it work, and our reputation to ship it that far.”