Structures Reveiw

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    David Kaplan

    Mark,

    Completely agree here. I had a hard time deciding if I needed to relearn everything I learned in my Structures class in college, and I'm here to report that I did NOT.  When I took PPD and PDD, I decided to take the approach of focusing solely on structural concepts (e.g. how structures react under loading conditions, what happens when we change the structure like telling our engineer to remove a column because it's in the way), structural selection (i.e. which systems are best to use under certain criteria, especially when the Owner is looking to the Architect to suggest a system), and the most basic formulas, which for me was knowing "what is the Moment about point A on this diagram?"  That's literally all I walked into my exams armed with, and it paid off.  

    I would also stress (pun intended) that understanding seismic and wind loading conditions are important.  Know how buildings are designed to address lateral loads, but, don't walk into the exam knowing how to calculate them.  Know what approaches are taken design-wise to address them, know the concept of how these loads transfer through a building, and know what the lateral load-resisting systems are (e.g. moment frame, fixed frame, shear walls, etc.)

    I had an old ARE 4.0 Structural Systems study guide that I used.  In that guide, it covered everything I've listed above as well as complex structural formulas for how to size a truss and select the correct W shape for a beam.  I literally skipped over all that formula stuff and just read everything else.  Perfect for me.  I supplemented my studying with the FEMA guide for Earthquakes which was very helpful.  

    Can't agree enough - no one should be overstudying structural formulas.  It'll just be a few questions involving formulas if they happen at all, that has been the prominent opinion on this forum.  Take your best guess and move onto questions that are worth studying for.

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    Gang Chen

    Very good tips. The key is to think like an architect. An architect needs to know enough to be able to coordinate with a structural engineer, but s/he does not need to do all the specific structural calculations.

    Gang Chen, Author, Architect, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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    Timarie Thelma Trarbach

    David,
    Which old 4.0 guide are you referencing?
    Thanks!

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    David Kaplan

    Timarie,

    I believe it was a Ballast 4.0 study guide.  It was specifically for the Structural Systems test that was under the 4.0 version of the ARE.  Not sure I still have it, I think I loaned it out to a friend who is studying now.  

    If it's not Ballast, it's PPI.  

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    Timarie Thelma Trarbach

    Great, thank you!

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    David Kaplan

    Timarie - if you are going to get that book, just know that it includes all kinds of structural formulas (designing trusses, designing rebar, etc. etc.) I strongly encourage you to skip all of that.  In that book, with respect to formulas, I only focused on how to calculate moments about points in a free body diagram, and, I also understood what free body diagrams look like.  Mark's point above makes this case - you should know if given a free body diagram, what the moment diagram would look like (and shear).  I personally was not asked this on my exam, but I could see others having been asked this.  Again though - don't kill yourself here either.  If you do get asked that, it'll be 1-2 questions only.  Consider please the return on investment!!!

    This being said, the structural concepts were great, and it included both seismic and wind.  The wind chapter was particularly helpful.  For seismic, yes read it, but I encourage you as well to read FEMA Chapters 4 and 5.  Not only was it extremely helpful, but it includes a lot of easy to understand diagrams and pictures that really opened my eyes to this.  Great read - and it's free.

    Aside from this, the other great source was Architect's Studio Companion.  It gives a fantastic overview of all the types of structural systems and has a very helpful table that talks about when to use certain systems given certain criteria.  This book to me was the primary resource for both PPD and PDD, and it's amazing for MEP systems.  Also free online.

    Hope that helps.

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