Earthquakes cannot be prevented but sound design and construction based on research and compliance with building code requirements can reduce their effects. Worldwide, it is estimated that several million earthquakes occur each year, but most are too small to be felt. They can occur anywhere; however, the likelihood of earthquakes strong enough to threaten buildings is especially high in certain geographic areas.

exterior shot of 5 story building

Stella includes a five-story Type III-A wood-frame building and four-story Type V-A wood building on a shared Type I-A podium | Photo: Lawrence Anderson,

In North America, where wood-frame construction is common, loss of life due to earthquakes has been relatively low compared to other regions of the world. The relative good performance of wood buildings is often attributed to the following characteristics:

  • Lightweight
  • Ductile connections
  • Redundant load paths

Learning Objectives – After this course, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss seismic-resistive design requirements for wood-frame buildings with a focus on compliance with the 2012 IBC and ASCE 7-10.
  2. Explain the analysis procedure commonly used for determining seismic design loads of wood frame buildings in the U.S.
  3. Describe the two most common wood-frame seismic force-resisting systems.
  4. Describe the role of structural configuration and redundancy in seismic design

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