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American Wood Council

DES1100-A – Opportunities For Wood in Low-Rise Commercial Buildings


PDF SelfStudy

This course is intended for building designers and code officials who want to learn more about the use of wood framing systems in low-rise commercial projects. Cost, versatility, ease of use, and adaptability, renewability, and sustainability are some of the reasons wood is used. Depending on the application, aesthetics and the growing body of research supporting wood’s biophilic qualities—i.e., the positive impact that exposed wood can have on a building’s occupants—may be the biggest driver for its use. Intended to provide practical information that can be applied to projects, the course begins with code-related topics, including cost implications of construction type, opportunities for achieving unlimited area, and implications of multi-tenant occupancies. It provides an overview of wood wall and roof systems commonly used in commercial buildings, and highlights key design considerations.

After reading this article, you should be able to:

  1. Explain how wood-frame systems can be used to achieve design objectives commonly associated with commercial structures, such as tall walls, flat roofs, parapets, and open-front floor plans.
  2. Identify cost savings associated with Construction Types III and V compared to Types I and II, per the International Code Council’s Building Valuation Data.
  3. Discuss opportunities for achieving unlimited area for wood-frame commercial buildings under the International Building Code and implications of multi-tenant occupancies.
  4. Review applications of wood-frame construction in low-rise commercial buildings, with an emphasis on restaurant, retail, and office occupancies.

Equivalencies: 1.0 Hours of Instruction = 0.1 Continuing Education Units (CEU) = 1 Professional Development Hours (PDH) = 1 Learning Units (LU)

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