Advanced Design Topics in Wood Construction Engineering  -August 18-19, 2020 -  The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center - Blacksburg, Virginia
Advanced Design Topics in Wood Construction Engineering  -August 18-19, 2020 -  The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center - Blacksburg, Virginia


NOTE: Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Advanced Design Topics in Wood Construction Conference scheduled for August 18-19, 2020 has been canceled. Hopefully we will be able to resume offering similar in-person short courses next year.

Who Should Attend

The primary audiences for this course are engineers involved in structural design of IRC and IBC wood construction projects, residential designers, EWP designers and manufacturers, wood truss designers and manufacturers, industry suppliers, contractors, and building code officials, plan reviewers and inspectors.

Overview of Course Content

The selection of the twelve topics to be presented was based on the significance of the topics during the various stages of a wood construction project. Specifically, we will focus on load and material specifications, design methodologies, and implications of both design specifications and methodologies on the likely in-service performance of structural components and assemblies. Participants will earn 15-hours of continuing education credit (1.5 CEUs) and a certificate at the completion of the course. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is approved by the ICC Preferred Provider Program (#1632). The ICC Course No. is 23180.

The topics, practical significance, and instructor follow:

Durability Issues—Decay, Insects and Design/Detailing for Durability
An unstated assumption made by structural designers is that the wood products involved will be protected from decay and insect damage in-service. This presentation addresses the types of organisms and insects that can cause structural deterioration and ways to select materials and detail buildings to mitigate the risks.
Joseph Loferski, Professor, Virginia Tech

Wood Shrinkage Issues in Design and Construction
The shrinkage potential of wood products and assemblies in-service should be considered in the specification and design process. Basics of wood shrinkage, along with a sample of typical applications that can be affected by the shrinkage of wood products, assemblies, and connections will be analyzed.
Donald Bender, Professor, Washington State University

Balcony Design – IBC Changes and Wood Protection Considerations
Cantilevered balconies have limited structural redundancy, and as such, require special attention by design professionals and other parties involved in the construction process. In addition to reviewing the 2018 IBC balcony provisions that were motivated by the 2015 Berkeley balcony collapse, “good practice” design measures for redundant protection of the wood-framing in-service will be presented.
Frank Woeste, Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech

Deck Safety Topics and Testing: Lateral Loads, Ledgers, Guards, and Concentrated Loads
Actual load test data for ledgers, guards, and floors are extremely limited, and some cases, not addressed by the ASCE 7 load standard or the model building codes. Results from several laboratory testing projects will be presented and related design and code issues will be discussed.
Donald Bender, Professor, Washington State University

Low-Slope Roof-Design Design Considerations
The longstanding practice of specifying a ¼-inch/foot roof slope may not provide adequate protection against localized ponding or a partial roof collapse due to ponding. This presentation will offer solutions to provide long-term positive drainage and a design methodology for minimum slope assemblies supported by wood framing.
Scott Coffman, Construction Science & Engineering, Westminster, SC

Specifying and Constructing Floors to Accommodate Ceramic Tile and Stone
Hard surface and grout cracks can stem from a variety of deficiencies including the structural framing design, substrate specification and installation, and installation of the hard surface. This unit will focus on obtaining accurate framing system loads that include the installed tile/stone materials and design options to accommodate concentrated dead loads such as a large kitchen island.
Frank Woeste, Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech

Glulam Beam/Column Design and Evaluating “Checking”
Design standards specific to glulam beam and column design will reviewed and demonstrated by examples. In addition, a methodology to evaluate the structural integrity of glulam members in-service due to the presence of “checks” will be presented.
Donald Bender, Professor, Washington State University

Errors in Substituting Dead Load for Live Load in Wood Design
While it is common for designers to assume localized and elevated dead loads are offset by the code minimum live-load, the assumption is not consistent with building code and it does not take into account in-service performance impacted by differential deflection, long term creep, and the load duration factor. Common floor loading scenarios are analyzed and recommended practices presented to facilitate the design and installation of products to perform as intended.
Scott Coffman, Construction Science & Engineering, Westminster, SC

Mass Timber Update: Codes, Availability, and Testing
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) has created considerable excitement in the design community in North America. This unit will include a summary of applicable codes and standards, design specifications, US CLT manufacturers, and a sample of mass timber research challenges and on-going projects.
Donald Bender, Professor, Washington State University

Permanent Truss Bracing: Engineered and Prescriptive Design
Permanent truss bracing design or specification and installation remains a challenge at the practical level. This presentation will include two design methods for the design professional to consider, either an “engineered” permanent bracing design or permanent bracing design accomplished by specifying a “prescriptive” method (2019 BCSI) with supplemental bracing instructions for the contractor as applicable.
Frank Woeste, Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech

Floor Design Options to Minimize Annoying Vibration Complaints
Based on laboratory test results, a calculation method for predicting the likelihood of annoying floor vibration complaints in-service will be demonstrated. In addition, practical steps to improve floor joist, I-joist, or wood truss floor vibration performance through design and construction will be presented.
Frank Woeste, Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech

Investigation of Wood Floor Failures Under Dynamic Loading
In the aftermath of the widely publicized “Clemson” floor collapse and other similar floor collapses, designers and suppliers are seeking answers as to why the failures are occurring and how they can be avoided. Preliminary results of a WSU research study will be presented that include a survey of floor collapse cases in the U.S. and related dynamic load research information.
Donald Bender, Professor, Washington State University

Course Materials and CEU Credit

A notebook containing course materials, the 2019 Building Component Safety Information book, lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday, refreshment service, and a certificate for 1.5 CEU’s (15-hours) are included in the registration fee.

Sponsored by:

Virginia Tech Continuing and Professional Education, Virginia Tech

Photo of new construction.
Courtesy of Dr. Donald Bender, Washington State University

For More Information

For more specific information on course content, please contact Dr. Frank Woeste at (540) 951-0469, or e-mail:

Photo of WSU rocking walls.
Courtesy of Dr. Donald Bender, Washington State University

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photo of wood trusses and columns
Courtesy of Frank Woeste, Virginia Tech

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