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3 second gust and hourly mean wind speeds

The figure on the left is taken from the old code, CP3: Chapter V Part 2 1970 and that on the right
is from the new code, BS 6399-2: 1997. In CP 3 the basic wind speed is defined to be .the 3-
second gust speed, at 10m above ground in an open situation, that is likely to be exceeded on
average only once in 50 years. In BS 6399-2 the basic wind speed is defined to be the hourly
wind speed with and annual risk

!
Q of being exceeded of 0.02, irrespective of wind direction, at a
height of 10m over completely flat terrain at sea level that would occur if the roughness of the
terrain was uniform everywhere (including urban areas, inland lakes and the sea) and equivalent to
typical open country in the United Kingdom.
The two sets of basic wind speeds differ by a factor of about 2. The 3-second gust makes more
sense for building design, but the hourly wind (the hourly mean) is more representative of the wind
in a particular geographical location. Wind pressures are proportional to

!
1
2
"v
2
, but after applying
various factors to the basic wind speeds, the two codes give very similar pressures.
Clearly confusion can arise if the factors meant to be used with the 3-second gust are applied to
the hourly mean or vice versa. The factors involved are roughly 4 (2 squared). As a guide, wind
pressures are usually of the order of 1kN/m
2
.
Confusion is especially likely when codes from different countries (or national and European
codes) are used together, taking wind speeds from one and factors from the other.
Chris Williams