Chapter XI - Engineering Glossary

Basic Wind Speed:
A design wind speed based on a gust wind speed at 33 feet (10 meters) above ground in open, flat terrain.

Concentrated Load:
A load that is applied to a small surface area (point load).\

A part, element, or member, and not necessarily the whole of the structure.

Dead Load:
the estimated permanent building materials loads from roof, floor, wall, and foundation systems, and also from claddings, finishes, and fixed equipment.

A framing system that derives its strength from the presence of structural sheathing securely attached to the framing; used to resist building lateral (shear) loads in light frame construction.

Dwelling unit:
A dwelling unit is a structure suitable for housing a single family. Attached garages, appurtenances, and other accessory structu are considered to be part of the dwelling unit.

Earthquake load:
The equivalent static load as a result of a building’s inertial response to a design earthquake ground motion.

Ground snow load:
Loads from snow deposited and accumulated on the ground, used to determine snow loads on roofs.

Horizontal diaphragm:
A sheathed roof, floor, or other membrane system acting to horizontally transfer and distribute lateral forces experienced by buildings to vertical shear resisting systems.

Lateral force resisting system (LFRS):
An assemblage of structural elements or systems (i.e. floors and roof diaphragms and shear walls) designed to provide lateral resistance to wind and seismic forces experienced by a building.

Lateral Loads:
Lateral loads are transverse loads on a building or building surface that produces racking (shear) forces in the LFRS or out-of-plane bending loads on individual walls and components.

Live Loads:
Sustained and transient loads produced by human occupants, furnishings, non-fixed equipment, storage, and construction and maintenance activities.

A force or pressure acting on a building component or system that originates from the weight of the building materials (dead load), occupants and contents (live load), and environmental effects (soil, wind, snow and earthquake loads).

Load bearing wall:
Any wall meeting either of these Classifications:

Any metal or wood stud wall that supports more than 100 pounds per linear foot (1459 N/m) of vertical load In addition to its own weight.

Any masonry or concrete wall that supports more than 200 pounds per linear foot (2919 N/m) of vertical load in addition to its own weight.

Load Path:
The “pathway” by which loads are transferred through structural members and connections such that the building and its component parts maintain stability under design load.

Main wind force resistance system (MWFRS):
An assemblage of structural elements that receives and resist wind load (pressure) from multiple components or surfaces of a building or that comprise a large tributary surface area of the building.

Proof test:
Any predetermined and specified test required of a part, or assembly of parts, to verify its suitability for the intended purpose.

Shear wall:
A wall with racking (in-plane shear) strength that is capable of resisting design lateral building loads and is also known as a braced wall.

Snow load:
The load on a roof of a building from uniform and drifting snow deposits and accumulations.

Soil lateral load:
Horizontal loads due to lateral pressure from soil and water in the soil.

A level of a building generally intended for human occupancy with the story height measured between the floor and ceiling surfaces.

Structural safety:
The ability of the building and its structural components to adequately withstand design loading conditions and associated load effects with an acceptably low probability of structural failure.

Structural serviceability:
The ability of the building and its components to provide reasonable service to the occupants or owner regarding functional performance expectations of the structure, usually under normal conditions of use.

Tributary Area:
Surface areas supported by a structural member based on geometry (i.e. the spacing and span of the members) rather than stiffn

Wind-borne debris:
Man-made or natural materials that become air-borne missiles during extreme wind speeds.

Wind Load:
The wind pressure and forces exerted on a building and its components as a result of the basic wind speed with adjustments for exposure and other factors.

Scroll down for next chapter

Next Chapter