Wind Speed to Pressure (PSF)

Building code lists wind speed in MPH (Miles Per Hour). Oddly enough, building code also requires pressure (in PSF, Pounds per Square Foot) to determine wind loads on various building elements. Now, as an architect in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, we have some tremendous wind speeds, especially in our coastal areas. It’s not very useful, for an architect at least, to not have a handy conversion from MPH to PSF. But now you can.

rhode island architects need a wind speed map

Convert wind speed in miles per hour (MPH) to pounds per square foot of load (PSF) with these handy charts

And, even convert from PSF to N/m2 here:

Now, you can get on like a good coastal home architect and not worry that the lateral loads on your building haven’t been considered. Of course, you’ll still have to do the math to make sure you’ve prepared for the next hurricane that will visit the east coast or New England region. Best of luck with your wind speed! Note that you need these conversions for both residential and commercial buildings, and it’s a good check even if your structural engineer has calculated this for you. Building code is specific about increases in pressures and wind speed as well, depending on the area of the building (for example, the middle of the wall has a different pressure than the wall corner, roof edge, etc). Check the IBC, chapter 16.

coastal home architect in MA and RI designing hurricane proof homes

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