Truss, wall operation expands in C-Falls

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Bill Metteer and Justin Moe move a newly finished wall recently at the new Western Building Center plant in Columbia Falls. (Chris Peterson/Hungry Horse News)

Crews at Western Building Center’s truss and wall plant in Columbia Falls recently moved into a new 24,000-square-foot facility as demand for housing and commercial framing continues to grow.

The new facility houses the company’s wall and floor trussing operation, while the roof trusses are made in an adjacent building, noted Manager Don McGrady during a recent tour of the facility, which opened just a few weeks ago. It’s located behind Super 1 Foods, next to the existing truss plant that’s still in use.

The company can provide all the framing needs for a contractor or a homeowner — they just need to bring in the plans for the structure. Western Building Center takes the job from there — delivering the frames to the job site.

Then they just have to be assembled.

“We sell time,” McGrady said.

The process of creating a frame starts with a plan, then the specifications are entered into a computer. The data is sent to a saw that cuts and marks the lumber according to the specs.

Crews then assemble the frames using both hand and power tools according to the plans. A specialized roller is then used to press the frames together. Walls are nailed together by crews using commercial-grade nail guns. The process is very efficient and quite fast compared to a framing crew working out in the elements, McGrady noted.

And it’s not just residential homes. The company also has made framing for hotels, motels and other structures. They even made their own new warehouse — nearly all of it is wood.

The company started out in the truss business several years ago and has steadily grown since then. The Columbia Falls facility employ 23 workers on the floor and an additional 12 office staff.

Western Building Center as a whole has more than 300 employees across its stores in Montana. It is the largest retail lumber yard in the state.

The company uses locally sourced lumber from F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. in Columbia Falls.

“It’s not all Stoltze, but I sure try to get their products as much as I can,” McGrady said. “They’re a great outfit to work with.”

Business has been brisk, McGrady said. The company centers most of its work on projects in Montana, though it has done some in Idaho, as well, he noted.

To contact the WBC framing division, visit the company’s website at:

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