What Are The Dead Loads Of A Building?

Before establishing a concept of dead load, we must first consider what weight is. This is the force with which an object is attracted to the earth at the rate of gravity. This principle is basic, and must be taken into account when making calculations in a construction structure.

This is very important because the weight of the building should not be considered, but also the objects, materials and people that will be housed in it. So it is necessary to establish a good resistance for the construction.

Now, in order to analyze the resistance of the structures well, the weight of the building must be considered, but also of everything that it will house. This last weight is what is known as loads, which are expressed in units of weight per length, or in units of weight per unit area.

On the other hand, the loads that fall on the elements are structural members of the building. Such members are built with a type of material and a certain volumetric shape. This is due to the fact that each one exerts an effort within the behavior of the building according to the application of the loads.

Types of Dead Loads in Buildings

Within a building, there are two types of structural loads: live loads and dead loads.

In the case of live loads, these are those that do not have exact knowledge of the position, size and quantity. Therefore, a statistical estimate is made that helps to foresee the impact of these on the structure. So, they will be live loads such as people, snow or wind.

However, dead loads refer to the weight of the elements that are immobile, fixed and attached, which are supported by the structure. Then, dead loads are considered to doors, windows or divisions. It is worth mentioning that the weight of the structure itself is considered dead load, it is also considered a dead load. The reason is that they must also bear their incidence.

If you build a building strong enough to support all kinds of loads, including your own, then it is guaranteed to have a much longer life. Of course, you also have to consider the maintenance that the structure needs as dead load.

Dead Load Characteristics

The main characteristic of a dead load is its weight. However, we can determine the dead loads of a building, taking into account the following aspects:

  • They are permanent loads, that is, they act throughout the process that the building remains in operation.
  • They are vertical forces, since your weight is directed downward vertically.
  • Dead loads have a constant magnitude.
  • The value of dead loads is accurately determined by knowing the dimension of the structure, as well as the properties of each material. So the weight and density of the objects are taken into account. It is worth mentioning that there is a tabulation that indicates the information of each material.

Examples of Dead Loads of a Building

Taking into account the characteristics of the dead loads of a building, some examples are:

  • walls
  • Plumbing and gas installations and sanitary systems.
  • Static thrust of land and water.

Calculation of the Dead Loads of a Building

Taking into account that the loads are defined according to the weight of the objects that are inside the building, then the estimate depends on the quantity of these. Therefore, all information that can be collected about the materials that will be used in the construction project is required. That is why the experience of a calculator is essential in order to obtain the most accurate results possible.

In general, before starting the project a preliminary estimate is made. This will be modified over time according to changes and revisions that the project has. Therefore, it is necessary for the calculation engineer to have all the information about the materials. In this way, these modifications can be reduced to the maximum.

The engineer to make the calculation, having as reference both the regional and national standard on construction. And it is that, according to the regulations, a weight is assigned to each material. And if not, then follow the approval technical sheets in each case.

To get an idea of ​​the calculation of dead loads, here are some examples. It is worth mentioning that the calculation is based on the material that is predominant in the constructions. So the calculation is done as follows:

  • Wood: 1.9 – 2.4 kN/m2.
  • Reinforced concrete. 5.3 – 6.2 kN/m2.

Units of charge are calculated by area force. This international system is expressed in Newton (N), unlike the British system which is expressed in pound or free/force. Meanwhile, a 1Kn is the same as 1,000N.

Units of charge are calculated by area force. This international system is expressed in Newton (N), unlike the British system which is expressed in pound or free/force. Meanwhile, a 1Kn is the same as 1,000N.

Now, the total dead load is obtained by adding the individual weights of the construction elements. Using the table of densities and weights, the professional calculates the dead load of the structure according to the dimensions. But, if the structure is a beam, then the weight of the material is multiplied by the cross-sectional area.

Examples of Calculation of Dead Loads of a Building

Using a T-shaped surface as an example, the multiple dead load is the weight times the cross-sectional area. It is worth mentioning that this charge is expressed in force per unit length. However, it should be noted that the measurements must be expressed in feet, so if necessary, the conversion must be done.

Since the beam has two pairs, then the weight must be multiplied by each of the areas, and the results added together. But to avoid so many complications, it is best to hire a calculation engineer to carry out such operations.

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