Wind Load Calculator for Signs

ASCE 7-16 Validated & Ready for Calculating

Wind Load Calculators for Signs
Photo Credit: Pixabay / paulbr75

As an architect or builder, the design of whatever you are building should be visually rich and compelling. You desire to make a statement, but also to create something where overall functionality blends into the physical aesthetics of the structure. This is especially true with a commercial structure, but one aspect that is sometimes overlooked is the placement, appearance, and necessity of external signage. Any sign outside the building is its calling card, attracting customers, employees, and even casual visitors. Each sign also is an important structural characteristic of a business whose presence should not be taken lightly.

To get the job done right, it is imperative to follow all local and state building codes, not to mention guidance from the Uniform Building Code for U.S.-based structures, and standards put in place by The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations. Whether you design a sign yourself or contract with someone else, you must be sure to accurately calculate the wind load of the sign, a task easily accomplished manually or by using specialized software.

Types of Signs

Like different kinds of structures, signage can be affected by actors outside your control. This includes location, wind velocity, the size of the sign in height and width, how it is physically supported (free standing or attached), and other factors. What kind of sign does your client require or desire? Here are a few to consider:

  • Signs designed for advertising a product, often of the neon-lit style.
  • Awnings, which may include lights, signs, or printed directions.
  • Free-standing signs.
  • Signs apart from the building, close to a roadway.
  • Purpose-built signs, like Blade signs to control foot or vehicle traffic.
  • Non-illuminated signs.
  • Signage along an interstate roadway, which is normally much larger than all other types.
  • Signs that span multiple floors.

Why a Sign Wind Load Calculator

Customers expect you to deliver high quality work on time and within a set budget. If designing signage is one of your jobs, you can perform wind load calculations the old fashioned way – with pencil and paper. Or you can join the 21st century and utilize the latest sign wind load calculator software. The software is advantageous for a few reasons:

How to Use Sign Wind Load Calculator Software

You probably know all the data needed to calculate sign wind load, but if not, the software will about Footing Information, Sign Information, Support Information, and Topographic Factor Information. Each is needed for accurate results, and is vital to design and build safe, visually appealing signage.

  • Sign Information includes sign category, exposure, wind velocity, structural characteristic, sign location, and other data.
  • Footing Information includes width of concrete footing and the earth type.
  • Support Information relates to supports, type of surface, cross section, and damping ratio.
  • Topographic Factor Information means height of escarpment or hill, hill shape, height above ground level, and other data.

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