- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 12 Apr 2019
This article needs more work. To help develop this article, click 'Edit this article' above.
- Dead loads include the weight of the building materials themselves, and are static and permanent. The dead load value is determined by adding together the weight of all permanently installed materials.
- Live loads are imposed on the building and are temporary and dynamic, such as the weight of occupants, furniture or anything else that can be moved.
In order to resist these loads, all elements of the floor must have the requisite strength and stiffness, typically determined by the maximum allowable deflection of the floor, i.e. how much, it will 'bend' under the maximum expected load.
Allowing for higher live loads increases the flexibility of a building, but also increases the cost. For example, historically, UK office buildings have been designed and marketed with live loadings of 3.5–4.0 kN/m2, however, this may be an over-provision. 2.5 kN/m2 for floors above ground floor and 3.0 kN/m2 at, or below, ground floor over may be more appropriate, with 7.5 kN/m2 over 5% of the floor area to allow for future flexibility.
See Structural systems for offices for more information.
There may be particular problems in older buildings which have been adapted for modern uses, resulting in live loads that are far higher than was allowed for by the original design. For example, historic houses converted to office use where there may be very high storage or equipment loads.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Bearing capacity.
- Beam and block.
- Biaxial bending.
- Braced frame.
- Concept structural design of buildings.
- Dead loads.
- Gross floor area GFA.
- Lateral loads.
- Limit state design.
- Live loads.
- Load-bearing wall.
- Structural engineer.
- Types of floor.
- Types of structural load.
- Uniformly Distributed Load.
- Wind load.
Featured articles and news
How dynamic briefing can result in an efficient project.
Achieving sustainable roads funding in England.
Your chance to comment on the draft BS 851188 - flood resistance products and flood protection products.
Rebuilding could take 20 to 40 years.
RSHP’s high-rise residential towers win a tall buildings award for excellence.
BSRIA study reveals strong growth in 2018.
Dame Judith Hackitt confirmed as keynote speaker – one year on from the Hackitt Report.
Save £100 on tickets.
Modern slavery in the construction sector.
What to bear in mind when claiming damages in construction.
How do we achieve sustainable clean-water infrastructure for all?