Print this page Print this page

Calculating Design Loads for Residential Structures

George E. Thomas, PE

Course Outline

This course focuses on Design Loads and Calculations used in typical residential design. These design loads include live, dead, wind and seismic and are subject to acceptable practice and provisions of the ASCE 7 standard - Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of the course, the student will:

Intended Audience

Architects, Engineers, Residential Designers, and Builders

Benefit to Attendees

The information gained form this course will allow for the engineer to apply the various loads that affects a residential structure.

Course Introduction

Loads are the primary consideration in any building design. They define the nature and magnitude of hazards or external forces that a building must resist to provide reasonable performance (i.e., safety and serviceability) throughout the useful life of the structure. The anticipated loads are influenced by a building's occupancy and function, size and shape, and climate and site conditions. The type and magnitude of design loads affect critical decisions such as material selection, construction details, and architectural configuration. In optimizing the value (i.e., performance versus economy) of the residential building, it is essential to apply design loads realistically. The course provides methods for determining if design loads are complete and tailored to a typical residential condition.

Course Content

In this lesson, you are required to download and study the following course content in PDF format:

Calculating Design Loads for Residential Structures

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Course Summary

This course demonstrated an analytic method of determining designs loads and the required calculations to support those loads. It also demonstrated the various conditions that effect design loads and the requirements and judgment the engineer must use in applying load tables and equations to residential design.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.