A Probability-Based Load Criterion for Structural Design

by Bruce Ellingwood, (A.M.ASCE), Research Struct. Engr.; Center for Bldg. Tech., Nat. Bureau of Standards, Wash., D.C.,
C. Allin Cornell, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Mass. Inst. of Tech., Cambridge, Mass.,
James G. MacGregor, (F.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada,
Theodore V. Galambos, (F.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Wash. Univ., St. Louis, Missouri,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1981, Vol. 51, Issue 7, Pg. 74-76

Document Type: Feature article


Load factors and load combinations are explored which are compatible with the loads in the proposed 1981 revision of American National Standard A58 (Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and other Structures), and are intended to apply to all structural materials used in building construction. The proposed load criterion is intended to be used in probability-based limit states design. This differs from traditional working stress design or strength design in several ways. A set of values of the reliability index can be indentified to guide the selection of target reliabilities for the new probability-based design criteria. The proposed load criterion has features in common with the Load and Resistance Factor Design. Advice to specifications writers is given and advantages of the new approach to structural design are included.

Subject Headings: Load combinations | Probability | Load and resistance factor design | Construction materials | Building materials | Building codes | Limit states

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