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Calculating and designing Lateral Force Resistance Systems (LFRS) for Wind and Earthquake Forces in Light Frame Construction

George E. Thomas, PE

Course Outline

This course provides methods for evaluating the lateral resistance of individual subassemblies of the LFRS (i.e., shear walls and diaphragms) and the response of the whole building to lateral loads (i.e., load distribution). Traditional design approaches as well as innovative methods, such as the perforated shear wall design method, are integrated within this course. While the code approved methods have generally "worked," there is considerable opportunity for improvement and optimization. The information and design examples presented at the end of this course provide a useful guide and resource that supplement existing building code provisions. Also, this course fosters a better understanding of the role of analysis versus judgment and in promoting a more efficient design.

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 this course, the student will:

Intended Audience

Architects, Engineers, Residential Designers, and Builders

Benefit to Attendees

The information gained from this course will allow for the engineer to design Lateral Force Resistance Systems (LFRS) to wind and earthquake forces for light frame construction and residential structures.

Course Introduction

This course will address the design of wood structural systems and construction materials commonly used in Lateral Force Resistance Systems (LFRS). The course focuses on structural design that specifies standard dimension lumber and structural wood panels (i.e., plywood and oriented strand board sheathing, etc.). Design of the lateral force resisting system (i.e., shearwalls and diaphragms) is approached from a system design perspective. Many elements of light frame construction work together as a system to resist lateral and axial forces imposed on the above-grade structure and transfer them to the foundation. Within the context of simple engineering approaches familiar to engineers, system-based design principles are addressed in this course.

Course Content

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

Calculating and designing Lateral Force Resistance Systems (LFRS) for Wind and Earthquake Forces in Light Frame Construction

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

In summary this course was developed to help facilitate and advance efficient design of Lateral Force Resistance Systems (LFRS)used in light frame construction and residential housing whether built in conformance with prescriptive (i.e., "conventional") practices or specially engineered in part or whole. The desired effect of the information presented is to continue to improve the value of engineers in terms of economy in construction and performance.


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.