AWC releases Guides to Wood Construction in High Wind Areas

Jun 15, 2015

LEESBURG, VA. – The American Wood Council (AWC) has released a series of updated easy-to-use Guides to Wood Construction in High Wind Areas. The guides can be found on the AWC website:

The guides, based on provisions contained in AWC's 2012 Wood Frame Construction Manual (WFCM), establish a specific set of prescriptive, wind-resistive structural requirements for wood-frame buildings of sizes and shapes specified in the "Applicability" section of each. The provisions of the guides, developed specifically for builders, are directed toward ensuring structural integrity for resisting wind loads.

The 2012 WFCM is the referenced document for high-wind wood-frame construction in the International Building Code (IBC). Use of the high-wind provisions of these WFCMGuides therefore results in design solutions that prescriptively meet the requirements of the WFCM, IRC and IBC, where applicable.

"While wind load requirements may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, national standards recognize that wood buildings can be designed to effectively resist these forces," AWC Vice President of Engineering Bradford Douglas said. "About half of the states in the United States have adopted the 2012 International Residential Code, which means the 2012 WFCM and these guides are accepted in those states."

Separate documents address wind design requirements for 115-, 120-, 130-, 140-, 150- and 160-miles-per-hour (Exposures B and C) wind zones. Areas vulnerable to hurricanes include the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts where basic design wind speeds are greater than 115 mph.

The 2012 Guides are comparable to earlier versions based on the 2001 WFCM which have been widely distributed and used along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. However, wind load provisions changed in the building-code-referenced 2010 edition of Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures (ASCE/SEI 7-10) and the 2012 WFCM has incorporated those changes.

Other wind speeds and exposures not addressed in the guides are covered in the 2012 WFCM.