Tampa Hall Ltd.
For more than five decades, Tampa Hall Ltd. (Tampa Hall) has been a symbol of building innovation across central Canada. The Ontario-based manufacturer has led the charge in researching, developing and advancing the use of engineered building components in residential, commercial, institutional and agricultural developments throughout Canada, the northeastern U.S. and even Japan for 53 notable years.
Tampa Hall was founded as a cooperative business enterprise by a consortium of prominent southern Ontario builders in 1960. Two of those founding firms, Freure Homes and Tamroth Construction, continue as successful, multi-generational building companies today.
“My father began expanding the business, first from engineered roof trusses to full-scale, manufactured structural wood framing systems for homes,” shares Jordan Rothwell, now second-generation president of Tampa Hall. “I’ve been in the building industry for most of my life, but I came back to run the company full-time in 2008.”
Committed to the same curiosity and drive to build better as the company’s founders, Rothwell continues Tampa Hall’s tradition of firsts today. The company remains based in Ayr, Ontario, with a team of 50 innovation-driven individuals, allowing Tampa Hall to expand its reach outside of provincial borders.
Building on a Pioneering History
In 1953 Tampa Hall’s partner firms, in collaboration with the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), assembled one of Canada’s first gusseted wood-trussed rafters. The 24-footlong roof truss marked a pivotal point in Canadian building material manufacturing and a change in motion for the industry.
As Tampa Hall continued to build on pioneering wood frame construction, the company developed, patented and copyrighted the first-generation, preinsulated air-sealed two-by-four R-Wall in the 1980s. The company now manufactures the next-generation patented Thermal Composite Structural Panel (TCSP) R-Wall.
“The TCSP product is versatile,” says Rothwell. “It is available in a full range of not only stud sizes – including 2-by-4 to 2-by-10 – but also stud spacings, wall heights, exterior sheathing options and thermal resistance values.”
This range enables Tampa Hall to manufacture and supply ready-to-install panels with the exact thermal resistance required by the builder, as well as for the given climate zone and building heating system. According to Rothwell, electrically heated buildings in Ontario require higher resistance levels in the building’s thermal envelope.
The TCSP product is a game-changer for the company. “Not too long ago, the majority of our walls were manufactured as hollow-cavity, ready-to-install panels, comprising wood studs, plates, lintels, window and door openings and exterior sheathing,” Rothwell explains. “Today those same panels are now increasingly thermal composite, fulfilling both structural and energy conservation functions.”
Rothwell and his team have continued the Tampa Hall tradition with ease, and even expanded the company’s reach. Tampa Hall now also manufactures a range of structural building products, including 84-footlong wood trusses, something that was almost unimaginable in 1960.
Since the company’s inception, the families that own and operate the firm have been delivering a better way to build, starting with structural wood framing systems, including engineered roof trusses, wall panels and floor systems available as a complete framing package.
“We supply these packages to dealers and manufacturers in our domestic and international markets, from the northeastern U.S., especially New York and as far as Japan,” notes Rothwell. “Within our domestic market, we provide components with or without site labour for single-family residences, multifamily housing and institutional buildings.”
Tampa Hall has been building better and smarter long before computers and software simplified the design and manufacturing of trusses. During the pre-CAD and CNC era, the company’s consulting engineers conducted load tests on its early trusses, with results being critical in assuring each of the company’s customers, as well as building officials that the product was both safe and durable. According to the company’s website, the trusses – then and now – will withstand significantly greater loads than most conventionally framed rafter roofs. According to Rothwell, CAD and CNC are mainstays in the company’s manufacturing systems today.
Since early research conducted by Tampa Hall’s founding partners in the 1950s, the company has played an active role in additional advancements in framing construction technology. Such improvements for the company include: the change from T&G timber decking and sheathing to plywood sheathing for floors, walls and roofs; the switch from framing walls on-site and in the elements to factory manufactured wall panels; the introduction of engineered floor joists, such as metal-plated flat trusses, metal-webbed space joists and wood l-joists; oriented strand board; high strength laminated veneer lumber (LVL), high strength metal framing connectors and machine stress-rated (MSR) lumber.
A Solid Frame First
After years of improving building components, Tampa Hall’s core business remains in manufacturing wood framing packages. “We work directly with architects, designers, builders, developers, contractors and framers to ensure your project is on schedule, on budget and conforms to the designers’ specifications,” shares Rothwell.
Tampa Hall offers energy efficient structural wood framing packages for residential single-family homes, multifamily homes, commercial and institutional buildings, heath care facilities and agricultural buildings. “We frame everything from a single-family residence to a multiunit condo,” explains Rothwell. “Individual family homes are often our favorite, because we get to see a high level of direct satisfaction with our customers. A couple of years ago, we were even featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for an extensive residential framing system.”
Despite recent setbacks as a result of the recession and the housing market coming to a near halt, Rothwell says Tampa Hall keeps moving forward. “We have continuous quality improvement driven by our company culture and everything from our supply chain on,” he notes. “We have a tremendous heritage to build on and our high-quality people are looking to continue the tradition.” After half a century in business, Tampa Hall Ltd. remains focused on developing the most efficient, cost-effective and sustainable building materials and systems on the market.