Core Concepts for the Civil PE Exam:

Structural Depth

Civil Morning Breadth and PE Structural Exam Practice Problems and Quick Reference Manual 

PE Exam - Structural Depth

  • PE Core Concepts PE Structural Exam Review & Quick Reference Guide designed to break down the specific information needed for the exam on every topic from the NCEES Syllabus

  • Comprehensive PE Civil Engineering Structural Practice Exam​.

  • 40 Civil Breadth practice problems with detailed solutions

  • 80 Structural Depth practice problems with detailed solutions

  • Breakdown of all NCEES listed codes including ACI, AISC, IBC, ASCE, Masonry design, NDS, AASHTO, OSHA, and PCI 

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Structural Depth Online Study Guide
Click the topics below to expand the core concepts. This material is included in the Paperback edition

ASCE

Live Load





Snow Loads


Snow loads are determined from Chapter 7. There are 3 types of snow loads to know: ground, flat roof, and design roof.

Pg = ground snow load. This is the snow load on the ground as per a specific geographic area.

Pf = flat roof snow load = Pg(0.7CeCtIS)

Ce = Exposure Factor from Table 7-2

Ct = Thermal Factor from Table 7-3

IS = Importance factor from 1-5.2

Ensure this is greater than the minimum = 20IS

The design roof snow load Ps = CsPf

Determine CS from Table 7-2c .




Snow Drift


Snow drift is additional load due to snow building up against a vertical wall from wind. The additional load is approximated by a triangular cross section of snow. Figure 7-8 depicts the necessary variables. To solve:

First determine the density of snow:

g = 0.13pg + 14 < 30 pcf

Then using the density you can determine the height of the roof snow hb = ps/g

hc = the vertical distance from the top of roof snow to upper roof = height to upper roof - hb

If hc < 0.2hb, Snow drift does not need to be applied

Then using figure 7-9 determine the drift height hd which will be the larger of:

For Leeward drift use lu = the length of the upper roof

For Windward use lu = the length of the lower roof and only use ¾ of the hd as determined from figure 7-9

Then calculate the width of the drift, w, for hd < hc w=4h, if hd > hc w = 4hd2/hc however w shall not be greater 8hc

The variables are better depicted in the diagram below:




Site Classification and Occupancy


  • From Table 20.3-1 the site classification can be determined
  • Table 1.5-2 for the risk category




Seismic Base Shear and Force Distribution


Equivalent Lateral Force Procedure Section 12.8

The seismic base shear by the equivalent force method V = CsW

CS = Seismic response coefficient = SDS/(R/Ie)

Determine Ie from table 1.5-2 using the risk category

R = response modification factor from table 12.2-1

The lateral seismic force at a given level shall be:

Cvx = vertical distribution factor

V = total design lateral force or shear at the base of the

structure (kip or kN)

wi and wx = the portion of the total effective seismic weight of the structure (W) located or assigned to Level i or x

hi and hx = the height (ft) from the base to Level i or x

k = an exponent related to the structure period as follows:

for structures having a period of 0.5 s or less,

k = 1 for structures having a period of 2.5 s or more,

k = 2for structures having a period between 0.5 and

2.5 s, k shall be 2 or shall be determined by linear

interpolation between 1 and 2




Effective Seismic Weight


Effective weight is the load which can be accounted for to offset horizontal seismic forces. This includes the dead load and any additional loading as outlined in section 12.7.2 such as:

  1. In areas used for storage, a minimum of 25 percent of the floor live load (floor live load in public garages and open parking structures need not be included).
  2. Where provision for partitions is required by Section 4.2.2 in the floor load design, the actual partition weight or a minimum weight of 10 psf (0.48 kN/m2) of floor area, whichever is greater.
  3. Total operating weight of permanent equipment.
  4. Where the flat roof snow load, Pf , exceeds 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2), 20 percent of the uniform design snow load, regardless of actual roof slope.




Site Coefficients and Spectural Response Factors


SDS = Design Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods = 2/3SMS = 2/3FaSS

SMS = The risk targeted maximum considered earthquake ground motion acceleration parameter (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods.

Fa = Site coefficient defined in table 11.4-1

SS = Mapped (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods determined in accordance with section 11.4.1

SD1 = Design Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 s = 2/3SM1 = 2/3FvS1

SM1 = The risk targeted maximum considered earthquake ground motion acceleration parameter (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 s.

Fv = Site coefficient defined in table 11.4-1

S1 = Mapped (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 sec as determined in accordance with section 11.4.1

From Table 20.3-1 the site classification can be determined

Determine the Seismic design category based on short period response acceleration parameters from Table 11.6-1

Determine the Seismic design category based on 1-S period response acceleration parameters from Table 11.6-2





AASHTO

General Requirements


Some main concepts include:

  • Excavation Safety: Except for excavations in rock, anything deeper than 5 ft must be stabilized to prevent cave-in. This may be achieved by providing appropriate earth retention systems or sloping at appropriate rates. This is determined by the depth of excavation, soil type, and other requirements. 1926 Subpart P – Excavations

  • Fall protection: Drop-offs must be protected from fall based on the height of the drop. Some examples of protection include temporary fences, nets, or lifelines. 1910 Subpart D – Walking Working Surfaces and 1926 Subpart M – Fall Protection

  • Power Line Hazards: For power lines which are electrified, all construction activities must be a minimum distance from the lines. This is based on the voltage of the lines. Typically the safe operational distance is 10 ft. for lines less than 50 kV and typically 35 ft. for lines greater than 50 kV. 1926 Subpart V – Electric Power Transmission and Distribution

  • Confined Spaces: Anyone required to enter confined spaces must be appropriately trained and equipped. Oxygen must be monitored and kept at an acceptable level. Subpart AA – Confined Spaces

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Equipment required by any personnel present on a job site. Examples are acceptable head protection and steel toed shoes. 1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment





ACI

Live Load





Snow Loads


Snow loads are determined from Chapter 7. There are 3 types of snow loads to know: ground, flat roof, and design roof.

Pg = ground snow load. This is the snow load on the ground as per a specific geographic area.

Pf = flat roof snow load = Pg(0.7CeCtIS)

Ce = Exposure Factor from Table 7-2

Ct = Thermal Factor from Table 7-3

IS = Importance factor from 1-5.2

Ensure this is greater than the minimum = 20IS

The design roof snow load Ps = CsPf

Determine CS from Table 7-2c .




Snow Drift


Snow drift is additional load due to snow building up against a vertical wall from wind. The additional load is approximated by a triangular cross section of snow. Figure 7-8 depicts the necessary variables. To solve:

First determine the density of snow:

g = 0.13pg + 14 < 30 pcf

Then using the density you can determine the height of the roof snow hb = ps/g

hc = the vertical distance from the top of roof snow to upper roof = height to upper roof - hb

If hc < 0.2hb, Snow drift does not need to be applied

Then using figure 7-9 determine the drift height hd which will be the larger of:

For Leeward drift use lu = the length of the upper roof

For Windward use lu = the length of the lower roof and only use ¾ of the hd as determined from figure 7-9

Then calculate the width of the drift, w, for hd < hc w=4h, if hd > hc w = 4hd2/hc however w shall not be greater 8hc

The variables are better depicted in the diagram below:




Site Classification and Occupancy


  • From Table 20.3-1 the site classification can be determined
  • Table 1.5-2 for the risk category




Seismic Base Shear and Force Distribution


Equivalent Lateral Force Procedure Section 12.8

The seismic base shear by the equivalent force method V = CsW

CS = Seismic response coefficient = SDS/(R/Ie)

Determine Ie from table 1.5-2 using the risk category

R = response modification factor from table 12.2-1

The lateral seismic force at a given level shall be:

Cvx = vertical distribution factor

V = total design lateral force or shear at the base of the

structure (kip or kN)

wi and wx = the portion of the total effective seismic weight of the structure (W) located or assigned to Level i or x

hi and hx = the height (ft) from the base to Level i or x

k = an exponent related to the structure period as follows:

for structures having a period of 0.5 s or less,

k = 1 for structures having a period of 2.5 s or more,

k = 2for structures having a period between 0.5 and

2.5 s, k shall be 2 or shall be determined by linear

interpolation between 1 and 2




Effective Seismic Weight


Effective weight is the load which can be accounted for to offset horizontal seismic forces. This includes the dead load and any additional loading as outlined in section 12.7.2 such as:

  1. In areas used for storage, a minimum of 25 percent of the floor live load (floor live load in public garages and open parking structures need not be included).
  2. Where provision for partitions is required by Section 4.2.2 in the floor load design, the actual partition weight or a minimum weight of 10 psf (0.48 kN/m2) of floor area, whichever is greater.
  3. Total operating weight of permanent equipment.
  4. Where the flat roof snow load, Pf , exceeds 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2), 20 percent of the uniform design snow load, regardless of actual roof slope.




Site Coefficients and Spectural Response Factors


SDS = Design Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods = 2/3SMS = 2/3FaSS

SMS = The risk targeted maximum considered earthquake ground motion acceleration parameter (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods.

Fa = Site coefficient defined in table 11.4-1

SS = Mapped (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods determined in accordance with section 11.4.1

SD1 = Design Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 s = 2/3SM1 = 2/3FvS1

SM1 = The risk targeted maximum considered earthquake ground motion acceleration parameter (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 s.

Fv = Site coefficient defined in table 11.4-1

S1 = Mapped (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 sec as determined in accordance with section 11.4.1

From Table 20.3-1 the site classification can be determined

Determine the Seismic design category based on short period response acceleration parameters from Table 11.6-1

Determine the Seismic design category based on 1-S period response acceleration parameters from Table 11.6-2





AISC

General Requirements


Some main concepts include:

  • Excavation Safety: Except for excavations in rock, anything deeper than 5 ft must be stabilized to prevent cave-in. This may be achieved by providing appropriate earth retention systems or sloping at appropriate rates. This is determined by the depth of excavation, soil type, and other requirements. 1926 Subpart P – Excavations

  • Fall protection: Drop-offs must be protected from fall based on the height of the drop. Some examples of protection include temporary fences, nets, or lifelines. 1910 Subpart D – Walking Working Surfaces and 1926 Subpart M – Fall Protection

  • Power Line Hazards: For power lines which are electrified, all construction activities must be a minimum distance from the lines. This is based on the voltage of the lines. Typically the safe operational distance is 10 ft. for lines less than 50 kV and typically 35 ft. for lines greater than 50 kV. 1926 Subpart V – Electric Power Transmission and Distribution

  • Confined Spaces: Anyone required to enter confined spaces must be appropriately trained and equipped. Oxygen must be monitored and kept at an acceptable level. Subpart AA – Confined Spaces

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Equipment required by any personnel present on a job site. Examples are acceptable head protection and steel toed shoes. 1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment





NDS

Flexure


Moment capacity in concrete beams is based on the tension in the member being equal to the compression. The moment capacity then is the area of steel multiplied by the strength of steel multiplied by the distance from the steel centroid to the centroid of the compression block. Therefore:

As = area of steel (in2)

Fy = yield strength of steel (ksi)

d = depth of tension steel (in)

a = depth of compression block (in)

And since Tension = Compression

Asfy = 0.85f’cba, and therefore a = Asfy/(0.85f’cb)

This is represented in the diagram below:

The minimum reinforcing in a concrete beam is the larger of the following two equations:

The maximum reinforcing does not have a simple equation but is a function of limiting the strain in the steel so that the mode of failure is not crushing of the concrete. This is done by setting the strain of steel to 0.005. Therefore:




Shear


The shear capacity of a concrete beam is the addition of the shear strength of the concrete and the reinforcing stirrups. Therefore:

s = spacing of stirrups (in)

Av = Area of vertical stirrups (in2). Note: the cross section for shear often includes multiple vertical bars. Av is the total area of all vertical legs

Spacing shall not be greater than = Avfy/50bw




Two-Way Shear





Axial


ACI also provides limits for the reinforcing of members in compression:

  • Code Requirements for columns:
    • Minimum Longitudinal steel > 0.01Ag
    • Maximum Longitudinal steel < 0.08Ag
    • Minimum Number of Bars:
      • 4 for rectangular ties
      • 3 for triangular ties
      • 6 for spiral ties
    • Minimum size tie is #3 for #10 bars and smaller, #4 for #10 bars and larger
  • Center to center tie spacing shall not be greater than:
    • 16(longitudinal bar diameter)
    • 48(tie diameter)
    • Least dimension of the column




Reinforcing Development and Details






ACI 530 Masonry

Weld Symbols and Types






PCI

Bending





Compression






OSHA

General Requirements


Some main concepts include:

  • Excavation Safety: Except for excavations in rock, anything deeper than 5 ft must be stabilized to prevent cave-in. This may be achieved by providing appropriate earth retention systems or sloping at appropriate rates. This is determined by the depth of excavation, soil type, and other requirements. 1926 Subpart P – Excavations

  • Fall protection: Drop-offs must be protected from fall based on the height of the drop. Some examples of protection include temporary fences, nets, or lifelines. 1910 Subpart D – Walking Working Surfaces and 1926 Subpart M – Fall Protection

  • Power Line Hazards: For power lines which are electrified, all construction activities must be a minimum distance from the lines. This is based on the voltage of the lines. Typically the safe operational distance is 10 ft. for lines less than 50 kV and typically 35 ft. for lines greater than 50 kV. 1926 Subpart V – Electric Power Transmission and Distribution

  • Confined Spaces: Anyone required to enter confined spaces must be appropriately trained and equipped. Oxygen must be monitored and kept at an acceptable level. Subpart AA – Confined Spaces

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Equipment required by any personnel present on a job site. Examples are acceptable head protection and steel toed shoes. 1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment





IBC

Bending





Compression






AWS

Live Load





Snow Loads


Snow loads are determined from Chapter 7. There are 3 types of snow loads to know: ground, flat roof, and design roof.

Pg = ground snow load. This is the snow load on the ground as per a specific geographic area.

Pf = flat roof snow load = Pg(0.7CeCtIS)

Ce = Exposure Factor from Table 7-2

Ct = Thermal Factor from Table 7-3

IS = Importance factor from 1-5.2

Ensure this is greater than the minimum = 20IS

The design roof snow load Ps = CsPf

Determine CS from Table 7-2c .




Snow Drift


Snow drift is additional load due to snow building up against a vertical wall from wind. The additional load is approximated by a triangular cross section of snow. Figure 7-8 depicts the necessary variables. To solve:

First determine the density of snow:

g = 0.13pg + 14 < 30 pcf

Then using the density you can determine the height of the roof snow hb = ps/g

hc = the vertical distance from the top of roof snow to upper roof = height to upper roof - hb

If hc < 0.2hb, Snow drift does not need to be applied

Then using figure 7-9 determine the drift height hd which will be the larger of:

For Leeward drift use lu = the length of the upper roof

For Windward use lu = the length of the lower roof and only use ¾ of the hd as determined from figure 7-9

Then calculate the width of the drift, w, for hd < hc w=4h, if hd > hc w = 4hd2/hc however w shall not be greater 8hc

The variables are better depicted in the diagram below:




Site Classification and Occupancy


  • From Table 20.3-1 the site classification can be determined
  • Table 1.5-2 for the risk category




Seismic Base Shear and Force Distribution


Equivalent Lateral Force Procedure Section 12.8

The seismic base shear by the equivalent force method V = CsW

CS = Seismic response coefficient = SDS/(R/Ie)

Determine Ie from table 1.5-2 using the risk category

R = response modification factor from table 12.2-1

The lateral seismic force at a given level shall be:

Cvx = vertical distribution factor

V = total design lateral force or shear at the base of the

structure (kip or kN)

wi and wx = the portion of the total effective seismic weight of the structure (W) located or assigned to Level i or x

hi and hx = the height (ft) from the base to Level i or x

k = an exponent related to the structure period as follows:

for structures having a period of 0.5 s or less,

k = 1 for structures having a period of 2.5 s or more,

k = 2for structures having a period between 0.5 and

2.5 s, k shall be 2 or shall be determined by linear

interpolation between 1 and 2




Effective Seismic Weight


Effective weight is the load which can be accounted for to offset horizontal seismic forces. This includes the dead load and any additional loading as outlined in section 12.7.2 such as:

  1. In areas used for storage, a minimum of 25 percent of the floor live load (floor live load in public garages and open parking structures need not be included).
  2. Where provision for partitions is required by Section 4.2.2 in the floor load design, the actual partition weight or a minimum weight of 10 psf (0.48 kN/m2) of floor area, whichever is greater.
  3. Total operating weight of permanent equipment.
  4. Where the flat roof snow load, Pf , exceeds 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2), 20 percent of the uniform design snow load, regardless of actual roof slope.




Site Coefficients and Spectural Response Factors


SDS = Design Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods = 2/3SMS = 2/3FaSS

SMS = The risk targeted maximum considered earthquake ground motion acceleration parameter (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods.

Fa = Site coefficient defined in table 11.4-1

SS = Mapped (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods determined in accordance with section 11.4.1

SD1 = Design Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 s = 2/3SM1 = 2/3FvS1

SM1 = The risk targeted maximum considered earthquake ground motion acceleration parameter (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 s.

Fv = Site coefficient defined in table 11.4-1

S1 = Mapped (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 sec as determined in accordance with section 11.4.1

From Table 20.3-1 the site classification can be determined

Determine the Seismic design category based on short period response acceleration parameters from Table 11.6-1

Determine the Seismic design category based on 1-S period response acceleration parameters from Table 11.6-2





Advanced Statics

General Requirements


Some main concepts include:

  • Excavation Safety: Except for excavations in rock, anything deeper than 5 ft must be stabilized to prevent cave-in. This may be achieved by providing appropriate earth retention systems or sloping at appropriate rates. This is determined by the depth of excavation, soil type, and other requirements. 1926 Subpart P – Excavations

  • Fall protection: Drop-offs must be protected from fall based on the height of the drop. Some examples of protection include temporary fences, nets, or lifelines. 1910 Subpart D – Walking Working Surfaces and 1926 Subpart M – Fall Protection

  • Power Line Hazards: For power lines which are electrified, all construction activities must be a minimum distance from the lines. This is based on the voltage of the lines. Typically the safe operational distance is 10 ft. for lines less than 50 kV and typically 35 ft. for lines greater than 50 kV. 1926 Subpart V – Electric Power Transmission and Distribution

  • Confined Spaces: Anyone required to enter confined spaces must be appropriately trained and equipped. Oxygen must be monitored and kept at an acceptable level. Subpart AA – Confined Spaces

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Equipment required by any personnel present on a job site. Examples are acceptable head protection and steel toed shoes. 1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment





Misc. Structural Topics

Live Load





Snow Loads


Snow loads are determined from Chapter 7. There are 3 types of snow loads to know: ground, flat roof, and design roof.

Pg = ground snow load. This is the snow load on the ground as per a specific geographic area.

Pf = flat roof snow load = Pg(0.7CeCtIS)

Ce = Exposure Factor from Table 7-2

Ct = Thermal Factor from Table 7-3

IS = Importance factor from 1-5.2

Ensure this is greater than the minimum = 20IS

The design roof snow load Ps = CsPf

Determine CS from Table 7-2c .




Snow Drift


Snow drift is additional load due to snow building up against a vertical wall from wind. The additional load is approximated by a triangular cross section of snow. Figure 7-8 depicts the necessary variables. To solve:

First determine the density of snow:

g = 0.13pg + 14 < 30 pcf

Then using the density you can determine the height of the roof snow hb = ps/g

hc = the vertical distance from the top of roof snow to upper roof = height to upper roof - hb

If hc < 0.2hb, Snow drift does not need to be applied

Then using figure 7-9 determine the drift height hd which will be the larger of:

For Leeward drift use lu = the length of the upper roof

For Windward use lu = the length of the lower roof and only use ¾ of the hd as determined from figure 7-9

Then calculate the width of the drift, w, for hd < hc w=4h, if hd > hc w = 4hd2/hc however w shall not be greater 8hc

The variables are better depicted in the diagram below:




Site Classification and Occupancy


  • From Table 20.3-1 the site classification can be determined
  • Table 1.5-2 for the risk category




Seismic Base Shear and Force Distribution


Equivalent Lateral Force Procedure Section 12.8

The seismic base shear by the equivalent force method V = CsW

CS = Seismic response coefficient = SDS/(R/Ie)

Determine Ie from table 1.5-2 using the risk category

R = response modification factor from table 12.2-1

The lateral seismic force at a given level shall be:

Cvx = vertical distribution factor

V = total design lateral force or shear at the base of the

structure (kip or kN)

wi and wx = the portion of the total effective seismic weight of the structure (W) located or assigned to Level i or x

hi and hx = the height (ft) from the base to Level i or x

k = an exponent related to the structure period as follows:

for structures having a period of 0.5 s or less,

k = 1 for structures having a period of 2.5 s or more,

k = 2for structures having a period between 0.5 and

2.5 s, k shall be 2 or shall be determined by linear

interpolation between 1 and 2




Effective Seismic Weight


Effective weight is the load which can be accounted for to offset horizontal seismic forces. This includes the dead load and any additional loading as outlined in section 12.7.2 such as:

  1. In areas used for storage, a minimum of 25 percent of the floor live load (floor live load in public garages and open parking structures need not be included).
  2. Where provision for partitions is required by Section 4.2.2 in the floor load design, the actual partition weight or a minimum weight of 10 psf (0.48 kN/m2) of floor area, whichever is greater.
  3. Total operating weight of permanent equipment.
  4. Where the flat roof snow load, Pf , exceeds 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2), 20 percent of the uniform design snow load, regardless of actual roof slope.




Site Coefficients and Spectural Response Factors


SDS = Design Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods = 2/3SMS = 2/3FaSS

SMS = The risk targeted maximum considered earthquake ground motion acceleration parameter (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods.

Fa = Site coefficient defined in table 11.4-1

SS = Mapped (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at short periods determined in accordance with section 11.4.1

SD1 = Design Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 s = 2/3SM1 = 2/3FvS1

SM1 = The risk targeted maximum considered earthquake ground motion acceleration parameter (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 s.

Fv = Site coefficient defined in table 11.4-1

S1 = Mapped (MCER) Spectural response acceleration parameter at a period of 1 sec as determined in accordance with section 11.4.1

From Table 20.3-1 the site classification can be determined

Determine the Seismic design category based on short period response acceleration parameters from Table 11.6-1

Determine the Seismic design category based on 1-S period response acceleration parameters from Table 11.6-2





 
 
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