Load and resistance factor design is an incredibly complex process involving gathering data, putting it through algorithms and calculating the amount of force a structure will be able to handle. The problem is that forces can act on a structure in a wide array of ways. If you’re building a bridge, you must consider wind, tremors, water currents, vehicles, pedestrians and other conditions. For a house, you have similar concerns, and must be prepared to handle the force of everyday life, extreme weather and a variety of other risk factors. Architecture, engineering and construction professionals must broaden their learning as they work to improve load and resistance factor design capabilities.
Improving load and resistance factor design
One of the major challenges associated with load and resistance factor design is the need to incorporate a huge range of variables into calculations, so much so that there is always a need to incorporate room for considerations that cannot be precisely calculated into the process. For example, reports from the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the ASCE – focusing on bridges and electrical transmission lines respectively – emphasize that specific environmental and equipment-related concerns can disrupt typical load and resistance factor design processes. This makes strategic problem-solving that goes beyond simply following standards essential.
Using training to move beyond standards
Industry standards and regulations are excellent tools for AEC professionals to leverage. The problem is that they are designed to provide a base minimum of what needs to be done to ensure safe, reliable specifications for a structure. That isn’t always enough when real-world conditions add unpredictability into the mix, something that is especially apparent in the case of load and resistance factor design. AEC professionals that want to be able to exceed standards to build especially robust structures must:
- Have an intimate knowledge of existing regulations so they understand baselines.
- Be aware of why regulations establish those foundational standards so they understand how to best move beyond them.
- Understand all of the variables – environmental conditions, geological issues, material dynamics, etc. – that can impact a structure.
With so many issues to consider, continuous professional development and training are critical. AEC professionals have an opportunity to build structures that will stand for generations, but only if they are able to follow load and resistance factor design best practices while staying on top of ongoing developments in the sector.
For more information on load and resistance factor design, preview RedVector’s LRFD training.