As many architects and designers know, post-frame construction is growing in the light-commercial market because of its many benefits, including cost, reliability, and ease of construction. According to Donald A. Bender, Ph.D., PE, and Drew P. Mill, EIT, in their November 2012 Frame Building News article, much of the structural efficiency of post-frame buildings is attributed to diaphragm action distributing lateral loads (e.g., wind and seismic forces) to the shear walls of the buildings. In their article, Bender, who is a professor at Washington State University (WSU), Pullman, WA, and Mill, a structural design engineer at KPFF Consulting Engineers, Seattle, WA, present a simplified design method that provides conservative designs for roof diaphragms, shear walls, post members, and embedded post foundations.
Meanwhile, the National Frame Building Association (NFBA), with financial support from the Softwood Lumber Board, has initiated a laboratory testing program at WSU to develop design values for steel-clad, wood-framed diaphragms and shear walls. Bender, who is WSU project leader, says, “Post-frame construction has great growth potential in commercial building markets, and design professionals need access to design data that are published in a code-recognized standard.” This project feeds into a larger NFBA-led effort to improve standards for post-frame building design.