Model building codes require all exterior walls of a non-engineered or conventionally constructed wood-framed structure to be braced against lateral loads from wind or earthquakes. Depending on the configuration of the structure, wall bracing might also be required for some interior walls.
The degree to which a structure's walls must be braced– and the type of bracing that is required– is dictated by the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) and by local building codes, and is influenced by the location of the home relative to hurricane- and earthquake-prone regions.
Determining the wall-bracing requirements for a structure is a complex process. In an effort to simplify it, Simpson Strong-Tie has developed a Wall-Bracing-Length Calculator—a quick and easy tool that helps calculate the required length of wall bracing in accordance with the 2009 IRC. The tool provides printed output of the bracing requirements along with a summary of input information and factors used in the calculations.
To determine the wall bracing amount a series of calculations must be completed using variables obtained from tables in the IRC. The variables are based on how the home will be constructed, and on its potential exposure to damage. A home that is located in a hurricane-prone or seismically-unstable region, for example, will require longer wall-bracing lengths than a home in an area less prone to natural disaster. Moreover, the taller the structure, the greater its exposure to wind forces and the more bracing it will need.
Please note that while the calculator does simplify the process of determining the required bracing, it is intended for use by an individual who has a firm understanding of the braced wall design provisions of the IRC. The tutorial that follows will guide you through each step of the calculator.
Tutorial to use calculator: http://www.strongtie.com/produ...bracing/tutorial.asp