Residential Structural Design for Home Inspectors Course

Welcome to InterNACHI's free, online "Residential Structural Design for Home Inspectors Course." This course is provided by our accredited college at  

Take the free online course now. 


This goal of this course is for the inspector to know how to perform phase, OverSeeIt inspections, pre-drywall, and new construction inspections on new residential buildings using fundamental structural principles and a comprehensive design approach to construction that draws on existing and innovative engineering technologies in a practical manner.   


Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • present a sound perspective on North American housing relative to its history, construction characteristics, regulation, and performance experience;
  • provide the latest technical knowledge and engineering approaches for the design of homes to complement current code-prescribed design methods;
  • assemble relevant design data and methods in a single, comprehensive format that is instructional and simple to apply for the complete design of a home; and
  • reveal areas where gaps in existing research, design specifications, and analytic tools necessitate alternative methods of design and sound engineering judgment to produce efficient designs.

Course includes:

  • 63 InterNACHI® CE credit hours;
  • 85,530 words;
  • student book;
  • inspection and writing assignment;
  • research and writing assignment;
  • 192 quiz questions in 13 quizzes;
  • 70-question final exam (drawn from a larger pool);
  • instant grading; and
  • a downloadable, printable Certificate of Completion.

You will learn the following topics:

Introduction to Residential Structural Design

  • Introduction
  • Structural Design Basics 
  • Conventional Residential Construction
  • Industrialized Housing
  • Alternative Materials and Methods
  • Building Codes and Standards
  • Role of the Design Professional
  • Housing Structural Performance
  • Common Performance Issues
  • Housing Performance
  • Hurricane Andrew
  • Hurricane Opal
  • Northridge Earthquake
  • Summary
  • Quiz
Structural Design Concepts
  • Introduction
  • What is Structural Design?
  • Load Conditions and Structural Systems
  • Vertical Loads
  • Lateral Loads
  • Structural Systems
  • Load Path
  • Vertical Load Path
  • Lateral Load Path
  • Summary
  • Quiz
Structural Design Loads
  • General
  • Load Combinations
  • Dead Loads
  • Live Loads
  • Soil Lateral Loads
  • Wind Loads
  • Determination of Wind Loads
  • Steps 1 – 5
  • Special Considerations
  • Special Considerations
  • Building Durability
  • Tips to Improve Performance
  • Snow Loads
  • Earthquake Loads
  • Determination of Earthquake Loads on Houses
  • Seismic Shear Force Distribution
  • Special Seismic Design Considerations
  • Other Load Conditions
  • Quiz

Structural Design of Foundations

  • General
  • Material Properties
  • Concrete
  • Concrete Masonry Units
  • Mortar
  • Grout
  • Soil-Bearing Capacity and Footing Size
  • Footings
  • Simple Gravel & Concrete Footing Design
  • Concrete Footing Design
  • One-Way (Beam) Shear
  • Two-Way (Punching) Shear
  • Flexure (Bending)
  • Bearing Strength
  • Plain Concrete Footing Design
  • Flexure
  • Reinforced Concrete Footing Design
  • Shear
  • Flexure
  • Minimum Requirement
  • Lap Splices
  • Foundation Walls
  • Concrete Foundation Walls
  • Plain Concrete Wall Design
  • Shear Capacity
  • Combined Axial and Bending Capacity
  • Reinforced Concrete Design
  • Shear Capacity
  • Combined Flexural and Axial Load Capacity
  • Slenderness
  • Moment Magnifier Method
  • Interaction Diagrams
  • Minimum Concrete Wall Reinforcement
  • Concrete Wall Deflection
  • Concrete Wall Lintels
  • Flexural Capacity
  • Shear Capacity
  • Check Concrete Lintel Deflection
  • Masonry Foundation Walls
  • Unreinforced Masonry Design
  • Shear Capacity
  • Axial Compression Capacity
  • Combined Axial Compression & Flexural Capacity
  • Tension Capacity
  • Reinforced Masonry Design
  • Shear Capacity
  • Axial Compression Capacity
  • Combined Axial Compression & Flexural Capacity
  • Minimum Masonry Wall Reinforcement
  • Masonry Wall Lintels
  • Preservative-Treated Wood Foundation Walls
  • Insulating Concrete Form Foundation Walls
  • Slab on Grade
  • Pile Foundations
  • Frost Protection
  • Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations
  • Permafrost
  • Quiz
Structural Design of Wood Framing
  • General
  • Material Properties
  • Wood Species
  • Lumber Sizes
  • Lumber Grades
  • Moisture Content
  • Durability
  • Structural Wood Panels
  • Lumber Design Values
  • Adjustment Factors
  • Load Duration Factor
  • Repetitive Member Factor
  • Horizontal Shear Factor
  • Size Factor
  • Column Stability Factor
  • Beam Stability Factor
  • Structural Evaluation
  • Structural Safety Checks
  • Horizontal Shear
  • Compression Perpendicular to Grain
  • Combined Bending and Axial Loading
  • Compression and Column Stability
  • Tension
  • Structural Serviceability
  • Floor Vibration
  • Shrinkage
  • Floor Framing
  • Floor Joist Design
  • Subfloor Design
  • Wall Framing
  • Load-Bearing Walls
  • Non-Load Bearing Partition
  • Headers
  • Columns
  • Roofs
  • Conventional Roof Framing
  • Roof Trusses
  • Roof Sheathing
  • Gable-End Wall Bracing
  • Quiz

Structural Design of Roof Framing
  • Roof Styles
  • Roof Framing, Part 1
  • Roof Framing, Part 2
  • Roof Framing, Part 3
  • Quiz
Structural Design of Lateral Resistance to Wind and Earthquake
  • General
  • Overview of Whole-Building Tests
  • LFRS Design Steps & Terminology
  • The Current LFRS Design Practice
  • Lateral Force Distribution Methods
  • Tributary Area Approach (Flexible Diaphragm)
  • Total Shear Approach (“Eyeball” Method)
  • Relative Stiffness Design Approach
  • Shear Wall Design Approaches
  • Segmented Shear Wall Design Approach
  • Basic Perforated Shear Wall Design Approach
  • Enhancements to the PSW Approach
  • Basic Diaphragm Design Approach
  • Design Guidelines
  • Shear Wall Design
  • Wood Structural Panels
  • Portland Cement Stucco
  • Gypsum Wall Board
  • 1x4 Wood Let-In Braces and Metal T-Braces
  • Other Shear-Resisting Wall Facing
  • Combining Wall Bracing Materials
  • Shear Wall Design Capacity
  • Perforated Shear Wall Design Approach
  • Segmented Shear Wall Design Approach
  • Shear Capacity Adjustment Factors
  • Species Adjustment Factor
  • Nail Size Adjustment Factor
  • Opening Adjustment Factor
  • Dead Load Adjustment Factor
  • Aspect Ratio Adjustment Factor
  • Overturning Restraint
  • Shear Transfer (Sliding)
  • Shear Wall Stiffness & Drift
  • Perforated Shear Wall Load-Drift Relationship
  • Segmented Shear Wall Load-Drift Relationship
  • Empirical, Non-Linear Load-Drift Equation
  • Portal Frames
  • Diaphragm Design Values
  • Diaphragm Design
  • Shear Transfer (Sliding)
  • Diaphragm Stiffness
  • Quiz


Structural Connection Design

  • General
  • Types of Mechanical Fasteners
  • Nails
  • Bolts
  • Specialty Connection Hardware
  • Lag Screws
  • Wood Connection Design
  • Adjusted Allowable Design Values
  • Nailed Connections
  • Bolted Connections
  • Lag Screws
  • System Design Considerations
  • Sheathing Withdrawal Connections
  • Roof-to-Wall Connections
  • Heel Joint in Rafter-to-Ceiling Joist Connection
  • Wall-to-Floor Connections
  • Design of Concrete & Masonry Connections
  • Concrete or Masonry Foundation Wall to Footing
  • Friction Used to Provide Shear Transfer
  • Key Used to Provide Shear Transfer
  • Dowels Used to Provide Adequate Shear Transfer
  • Anchorage and Bearing on Foundation Walls
  • Bearing Strength
  • Evaluating Problems with Fasteners
  • Summary
  • Quiz

Residential Structural Design for Home Inspectors Course
Course #3402, Student Catalog 

Student WorkTime CalculationEstimated Clock Hour Time for the Average Student
Attendance for "Seat Time" 1# of minutes of student attendance / 5017.1
Participation in Learning Activities 2# of minutes of online student participation / 505.0
Interactivity 3# of minutes of student interactivity / 500.5
Reading the Course Text 4# of words in the course / 100 words per minute / 5017.1
Reading the Course Textbook 5# of words in the book / 100 words per minute / 508.5
Academic Engagement 6# of words in the course / 100 / 504.0
Direct Communication 7# of minutes of communication / 500.5
Instructional Video Learning 8# of minutes of video / 500.0
Reinforcement Q & A  9# of questions X 1.85 / 503.6
Writing Assignment of the Inspection  104.0 hours per assignment4.0
Writing Assignment of the Research  114.0 hours per assignment4.0
Academic Activities for an Inspection  128.0 hours for each inspection assignment8.0
Performing an Inspection  138.0 hours for each inspection8.0
Total clock hours
63.0 clock hours
63.0 InterNACHI CE Hours
6.3 CEU

And, in keeping with InterNACHI's commitment to Continuing Education, this course is open and free to all members, and can be taken again and again, without limit.

Reminder to members:  InterNACHI's Code of Ethics 1.10 requires that you comply with all government rules and licensing requirements of the jurisdiction where you conduct business.  InterNACHI's courses and Standards generally exceed the Standards of Practice that you are required to abide by locally. 

The course has been approved by:

Upon completion of this course and passing of the final exam, the student can download and print their own Certificate of Completion which is auto-generated in their own name.  

The student's (InterNACHI member's) information is recorded on InterNACHI's servers for membership compliance verification, and automatically logs completion into InterNACHI's online Continuing Education log.

Non-members may view only this first page of the course.

Members will need their username and password. If you have forgotten your password, CLICK HERE (instant response) or email and request it (don't forget your name). 

InterNACHI... #1 in inspection education.

Other inspection courses.

Some features which make InterNACHI's courses superior to existing continuing education options:

  • The course is free for all InterNACHI members.
  • The course is written in pure XHTML code for quick loading.  The course loads fine on old computers and loads fast, even with dial-up.
  • The course is designed using a hierarchal menu coupled with a sequential page navigation.  This provides the student with the option to easily repeat areas of weakness.
  • The course permits the student to start, stop and restart any part of the course as often as desired.
  • There are a variety of images within the course, including diagrams, illustrations and photos. 
  • The illustrations can be enlarged for clearer viewing by clicking on them.
  • The text is integrated into InterNACHI's Inspector Glossary.  Rolling over blue-colored terms provides their definition.
  • The final exam uses multiple-choice questions that reference the images. 
  • The course's quizzes and final exam have numerous advantages over traditional exam systems:
    1. The course, quizzes and final exam incorporate built-in intelligence which identifies and strengthens each student's unique subject weaknesses.
    2. Not only is each question weighted with regard to score, but each answer is weighted, as well as the correctness of each answer being weighted.
      1. Answers to easy questions are weighted such that the student is penalized, in terms of score, for answering incorrectly, but rewarded modestly for answering correctly.
      2. Answers to difficult questions are weighted such that the student is rewarded, in terms of score, for answering correctly, but not penalized for answering incorrectly.
      3. Answers to questions regarding basic safety, or questions every inspector should know the answer to, are weighted such that the student is severely penalized, in terms of score, for answering incorrectly.
  • Upon passing the final exam, the student can print out a Certificate of Completion which is auto-generated in their own name.

The student's (InterNACHI member's) information is recorded on InterNACHI's servers for membership compliance verification, and automatically logs completion into InterNACHI's online Continuing Education log.

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You may also be interested in:

Other approved and accredited inspection courses.

Structural Issues for Home Inspectors book.