Building Department


Wind Exposure Definitions (2009 International Building Code)

1609.4 Exposure category. For each wind direction considered, an exposure category that adequately reflects the characteristics of ground surface irregularities shall be determined for the site at which the building or structure is to be constructed. For a site located in the transition zone between categories, the category resulting in the largest wind forces shall apply. Account shall be taken of variations in ground surface roughness that arise from natural topography and vegetation as well as constructed features. For any given wind direction, the exposure in which a specific building or other structure is sited shall be assessed as being one of the following categories. When applying the simplified wind load method of Section 1609.6, a single exposure category shall be used based upon the most restrictive for any given wind direction.

  1. Exposure A. This exposure category is no longer used on ASCE
  2. Exposure B. Urban and suburban areas, wooded areas or other terrain with numerous closely spaced obstructions having the size of single-family dwellings or larger. Exposure B shall be assumed unless the site meets the definition of another type of exposure.
  3. Exposure C. Open terrain with scattered obstructions, including surface undulations or other irregularities, having heights generally less than 30 feet (9144 mm) extending more than 1,500 feet (457.2) from the building site in any quadrant. This exposure shall also apply to any building located within Exposure B-type terrain where the building is directly adjacent to open areas of ExposureC-type terrain in any quadrant for a distance of more than 600 feet (182.9 m). This category includes flat open country, grasslands and shorelines in hurricane-prone regions.
  4. Exposure D. Flat, unobstructed areas exposed to wind flowing over open water (excluding shorelines in hurricane-prone regions) for a distance of at least 1 mile (1.61 km). Shorelines in Exposure D include inland waterways, the Great Lakes and coastal areas of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. This exposure shall apply only to thos buildings and other structures exposed to the wind coming from over the water. Exposure D extends inland from the shoreline a distance of 1,500 feet (460 m) or 10 times the height of the building or structure, whichever is greater.
TABLE 1609.3.1
V3S 85 90 100 105 110 120 125 130 140 145 150 160 170
Vfm 71 76 85 90 95 104 109 114 123 128 133 142 152

For SI: 1 mile per hour=0.44 m/s.

  1. Linear interpolation is permitted.
  2. V3S is the 3-second gust wind speed (mph).
  3. Vfm is the fastest mile wind speed (mph).


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