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The increasing complexity of homes, the use of innovative materials and
technologies, and the increased population in high-hazard areas of the United States have
introduced many challenges to the building industry and design profession as a whole.
These challenges call for the development and continual improvement of efficient
engineering methods for housing applications as well as for the education of designers in
the uniqueness of housing as a structural design problem.
This text is an initial effort to document and improve the unique structural
engineering knowledge related to housing design and performance. It compliments
current design practices and building code requirements with value-added technical
information and guidance. In doing so, it supplements fundamental engineering principles
with various technical resources and insights that focus on improving the understanding
of conventional and engineered housing construction. Thus, it attempts to address
deficiencies and inefficiencies in past housing construction practices and structural
engineering concepts through a comprehensive design approach that draws on existing
and innovative engineering technologies in a practical manner. The guide may be viewed
as a “living document” subject to further improvement as the art and science of housing
We hope that this guide will facilitate and advance efficient design of future
housing whether built in conformance with prescriptive (i.e., “conventional”) practices or
specially engineered in part or whole. The desired effect is to continue to improve the
value of American housing in terms of economy and structural performance.
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