A lateral force resisting system for disaster mitigation

In last week’s blog post I spoke about disaster mitigation. This week, I’ll talk about how Open Joist Triforce can be made part of a lateral force resisting system, which is typically used for disaster mitigation.

Strong winds or earthquakes can expose buildings to dangerous lateral forces. If these lateral loads are properly resisted, it can greatly reduce the damage to the structure.

A lateral force resisting system uses certain structural elements in a house or building. These collect the lateral loads and transfer them to a vertical force resisting element such as a shear wall, which then transfers these forces to the foundation of the building and then safely into the ground.

Structural elements and connectors must be assembled seamlessly, right down to the joist hangers and nails or screws, to create a proper load path into the ground.

Designing such a system is the responsibility of the building designer or structural engineer. They are the ones who calculate the load location, magnitude and direction, and are responsible for the proper choice of materials.

An important structural element in a lateral force resisting system is the joist. It acts as a drag strut. This means it is positioned parallel to the lateral forces and doesn’t resist them but rather transmits the load from one vertical member to another, towards the shear wall. TRIFORCE® open joist drag strut information can be obtained from a Triforce Distributor or Representative.

Other structural elements used for lateral force resistance include

  • Blocking, which can be used to strengthen the shear wall and diffuse the lateral load.
  • Strongbacks which can increase the cohesion of the floor system’s load resistance and help reduce overall vibration
  • Rim boards which when added to a floor system will improve its ability to withstand lateral loading.
  • So-called hurricane ties or hangers which are joist to wall connectors offering a much larger connection surface to wall or beam that is perpendicular to the joist, improving load transmission.

Although it is unlikely a home or building can be made completely « Storm-proof », it is at least possible reduce the likelihood of it being damaged by strong winds or earthquakes using proper design. Your customers will be happy to know that such “home hardening” can help reduce building insurance costs as well.

If you’d like to know more about how TRIFORCE® open joist can be part of a lateral force resisting system, let us know. We’ll be happy to help.

Triforce Spec Guide

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