I want to learn house construction engineering in very cold climate (Sweden), wooden and brick.

It should cover the following questions (you don't need to answer it):

  • How the roof, walls and ground is designed and dimensioned.
  • How to determin where to put load bearing walls.
  • Why the walls structure are the way they are, and how do they carry the load.
  • how to determin which wall is load bearing in an existing structure.
  • How to know where to inforce a structure when a modification is needed like adding a window or another floor.

I want to use this information to design 40 square meters expansion to my current house made of wood. And because I think it is very interesting subject to study.

Where do I begin?

Keep in mind that I'm interested mostly in construction in very cold climate zone.

Most of the courses/tutorials are for larger buildings or unusual house architectures.

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    There's a reason that architects spend years studying their craft, and carpentry can't be learned on a computer screen. Like farming and many other trades, and has to be learned in person. I suggest you go work for a local home builder for a few months. Even then you won't have all the knowledge you need to design an addition for your home, but you may be able to complete the work yourself under the guidance of others. – isherwood Sep 2 '18 at 12:53
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    Not architecture, but structural engineering that I am after. Also, I find it difficult to believe that it is not possible to learn the basics online or in a book. – Aus Sep 2 '18 at 13:28
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    In such an extreme weather location, I would suggest you instead focus on new techniques like sustainable, eco-friendly construction. Earth sheltered, passive solar, thermal mass, hyperinsulation, ground-sourced, etc. etc. etc. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 2 '18 at 18:48
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    I started with this book. hellokids.com/c_14958/reading-learning/stories-for-children/… – Kris Sep 2 '18 at 23:54

I hate physics, but structural engineering is all about physics.

The concept of “designing” structural walls, roofs, foundations, etc. is really the intersection of material’s substance and the concept of load transfer. That is to say, to design roofs, walls, etc. and their connections, you must understand materials and how they move under stress.

For your project, I’d try to understand “common” framing methods. “Common” because they can be accomplished and “common” because they are at least cost.

You ask if it’s different in U.S. than Europe? Yes, in fact, it’s different in Oregon than in California. Observe and learn where you are located.

  • I agree that the best way is too look at best practices. but some times it is difficult to understand how certian things works. Like how rectangular wall frames can stand without collapsing while no diagonal support is present. – Aus Sep 2 '18 at 15:22
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    I agree learning local framing and building techniques is a big deal here. I would also believe any building method in use today has a book on how two or a online video.+ – Ed Beal Sep 2 '18 at 16:44
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    @ I agree with Ed...you can find HOW to do almost everything on line. The WHY is tougher to learn. – Lee Sam Sep 2 '18 at 17:48
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    Look to youtube for 3 ~1hour videos on framing by Larry Haun. He is working in California, so there are some differences, but you'll get a basic understanding of how stick built structures are done. You'll see headers put in over doors/windows. You'll see internal bearing walls built (hint: they are perpendicular to the rafters). You won't see much in the way of energy efficiency because (a) California and (b) it was done a while ago. – Aloysius Defenestrate Sep 2 '18 at 18:05
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    @AloysiusDefenestrate, I watched those videos after you mentioned it, now I'm ordering the books. This is exactly what I was looking after. – Aus Sep 5 '18 at 6:43

It's good to know the basics. But there are all sorts of new technologies emerging that allow you to build extremely efficient and sustainable homes. They aren't even necessarily more money, though they can be more trouble when getting permits because approvers are not familiar with them.

So definitely do look at alternative methods of construction -- such as

  • thermal mass (insulation outside a concrete or stone structure so the stone holds heat),
  • passive solar design (windows angled to soak the winter sun into that thermal mass, while being shaded to block the summer sun, southern Sweden is a good latitude for that, northern Sweden not so much obviously),
  • earth sheltering (very cheap insulation)
  • hyperinsulation combined with any of these
  • heat pumps that are ground-sourced, if an appropriate ground source is available
  • many, many more.

They cost more to build, but you're paying locals once, instead of strange petro-governments forever.

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