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ASD or LRFD for Wood Design

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I saw the thread on ASD and LRFD design and assumed off the bat that they
were referring to steel, concrete or masonry design. However, yesterday I
discovered that there is a movement to use LRFD for the design of wood
structures. At first I thought this ludicrous since wood has a higher factor
of safety due to the variance in quality on the material. In a discussion, I
was reminded of the proprietary wood products on the market where the
materials have much tighter tolerances and much less inclination to
So, a couple of questions come to mind:

1. What types of projects will engineers be most inclined to design my LRFD
2. Considering that framing represents around 17% of the project cost - will
the benefits of LRFD yield significant savings and if so, in what size
3. Will this create a more competitive market for proprietary wood products
compared to the cost of sawn lumber. In other words if the same project can
be designed by LRFD to maximize the materials - will we start seeing more
residential structures designed by LRFD so as to use, what some consider,
better materials at the same cost associated with ASD design for sawn

As a small office engineer - I have not used LRFD methods. Of course, until
lately I'd never used rigid analysis for wood structures. Looks like most of
us wood engineers are getting a real education. Seriously, I would not mind
the idea of using LRFD in order to use Proprietary wood products like
Timberstrand which have not been well received because of the cost
difference. This may make that material more attractive to the home market.

Any comments or opinions?

Dennis S. Wish, PE
Structural Engineering Consultant
(208) 361-5447 E-Fax