- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 23 Oct 2019
A load-bearing wall, (sometimes referred to as a 'bearing wall'), is a wall that supports vertical load in addition to its own weight and is an active structural element of a building. Load-bearing walls typically provide separation between the internal spaces of a building and transfer loads from other parts of the structure to the foundations.
The use of load-bearing walls date back to the earliest forms of construction. Gothic architecture introduced the flying buttress which allowed much larger interior spaces to be created by transferring the majority of the weight to the buttresses rather than the load-bearing walls. The development of high-rise buildings and particularly skyscrapers, which utitlised a skeleton frame construction, removed the limitations placed on building design by load-bearing walls.
The loads that are usually supported by a load-bearing wall include those from the roof, any wall that sits directly above it, and floors, which can sometimes be built into or sit on top of an internal wall.
Load-bearing walls are commonly constructed using concrete, blockwork and/or brick. The thickness of the load-bearing wall is gauged according to the building type, the number of floors requiring support, the materials used to construct the wall, and any other imposed loads.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
New editor covered facilities management, operations and construction in the US.
Exclusive log cabins on the North Antrim coastline.
Proactive forestry for strategic water management.
CIOB urges construction to share PPE with healthcare providers.
Why not write that article you've always meant to?
One of the seven man-made wonders of Arizona.
A more flexible approach is needed.
A quick step-by-step introduction to the BREEAM process.
First pioneered in the USA and then France.
The European BACS market has been showing signs of growth.
Free ICE publication for World Water Day.