Building Designer Resources

We've gathered these resources to create and promote design tools that will make engineering evaluation, specification and implementation of innovative products easier. As this group of resources grows, these tools will range from design examples to “calculator” like tools. Please check back regularly for the latest state-of-the-art design support information.

IRC Wood Wall Bracing Calculator

This wall calculator is a tool designed to simplify and assist in complying with the complexities of the International Residential Code’s (IRC) wall bracing provisions while making it easier to consider various code-compliant wall bracing options for an optimal wall assembly design.

Wood Wall Calculator

This wall calculator is a tool to help coordinate energy code thermal insulation compliance and building code water vapor control compliance for a proposed wood frame wall assembly on a commercial or residential building.

Steel Wall Calculator

This wall calculator computes assembly R-values and U-factors for steel-framed walls. 

NFPA 285

Easily find NFPA 285 compliant foam sheathing products.

Clean Power Plan Energy Code Emissions Calculator

Use the calculator for:

  • Guidance and scoping to determine how building energy codes can contribute to meeting 111(d) targets over Phase I and Phase II timelines of 2017 to 2040
  • Visualization of energy and emission savings contributing for both residential and commercial buildings
  • State Compliance Plans for air quality and emissions-related policies

IRC Wall Bracing Guide

The main objective of this guide is to provide designers, code officials and builders with a basic understanding of how to apply the IRC bracing provisions for code-compliant dwellings. A second objective is to demonstrate how the IRC bracing provisions can be used to create maximum value in a diverse housing market.

Durability by Design 2nd Edition: A Professional’s Guide to Durable Home Design

This guide published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development examines durability as a critical pillar of building sustainability and presents a collection of important durability measures and practices for the designer.

Commercial Details Using Foam Sheathing

These details, created for the state of Massachusetts, represent several possible solutions for integrating foam sheathing continuous insulation into the building envelope.

Construction Guide: Next Generation High Performance Walls

This guide from Building America addresses various means of applying foam sheathing on 2x4 wood framed walls in climate zones 3-5, including integration with other components (e.g., windows and cladding) for foam thicknesses up to 1-1/2”. It also addresses air barriers,  water vapor retarders, and use of foam sheathing as a WRB or in combination with a separate membrane WRB.