In North America, prior to the 20th century most houses, commercial buildings, bridges, and utility poles used wood as the basic structural component. Today, many buildings are still made using modern wood structural materials. Recently, there has been increased interest in using wood for various types of transportation structures, including highway bridges.
This course briefly introduces the features of various types of building systems. Emphasis is placed on how these systems have adapted to the use of modern materials and techniques. For example, floor, wall, and roof sheathing are now commonly made from structural panel products, such as plywood and oriented strandboard (OSB) instead of wood boards. These panel products are quicker to install and provide improved structural resistance to wind and earthquake loadings. Furthermore, the use of prefabricated floor and wall panels along with prefabricated roof and floor trusses or I-joists are replacing piece-by-piece on-site construction.
A brief description of the uses of wood in railroad and highway bridges and other transportation structures is included.