ASCE/SEI 7-2016: Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures

A construction working on constructing a building that follows ASCE/SEI 7-2016

While there is, with certainty, an exact number of buildings in the world, it would be impossible to count them all successfully. Regardless, the many existing structures throughout the world make up an irrefutably important international collection. Commonplace throughout the entirety of human existence, the function of shelters remains as necessary now as ever. Among the many considerations for building design and construction is that of loads, or forces or other actions that result from the weight of all building materials, occupations, environmental effects, and other factors.

ASCE/SEI 7-2016: Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures addresses the issue of loads, providing minimum loads, hazard levels, associated criteria, and intended performance goals for buildings and structures that are subject to building code requirements. The information provided by the standard is intended to be used with the design strengths or allowable stress contained in design specifications for conventional structural materials.

When the ASCE/SEI 7-2016 standard and these design specifications are used together, they are deemed capable of providing the intended performance levels for which the provisions of the standard have been developed.

ASCE/SEI 7-2016 tackles many issues and concerns associated with building loads in its comprehensive approach, but before the document devotes any of its content to discussing each of these in detail, it addresses load combinations. These are to be expected, as magnitudes of various loads are exerted onto building and structures throughout their lifetimes. The standard advises that structures, components, and foundations be designed so that their design strength equals or exceeds the effects of the factored loads in each combination that it describes in further detail.

A building under construction that follows ASCE/SEI 7-2016

As for the building loads themselves, there are two general kinds: dead loads, the weight of all materials of construction incorporated into the building (walls, roofs, floors, ceilings, etc.), and live loads, loads that include anything that can possibly be moved in or out of the structure over the course of its life (people, furniture, equipment, etc.).

Other anticipated building and structure loads specified in ASCE/SEI 7-2016, are dependent on weather and climate. These include rain loads, snow loads, ice loads, and wind loads. Furthermore, while resulting from weather patterns and local climate, certain loads can only present a sizeable effect in particular regions. For instance, geography is a primary attribute for the effects of flood and tsunami loads. The standard identifies regions in which these loads may be of prime concern, such as California and Hawaii for tsunamis.

Similarly, ASCE/SEI 7-2016 discusses, in depth, seismic design, something that is especially important for buildings in regions that fall on fault lines.

In addition to performance goals and minimum loads, the standard describes procedures for applying alternative means to demonstrate acceptable performance.

ASCE/SEI 7-2016: Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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