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Types of Loads on Buildings

Analysis of structures is important for safe design and serviceability to resist loads coming from various sources. These loads re taken into account while designing so that the building does not fail under the application of these loads. These loads may be in the form of uniformly distributed load, concentrated load, triangular load and so on. All these have various points of application and so the center of mass is to be detected for making the calculations easy in every aspect. For example, in seismic zones, the earthquake load plays an important role which is to be considered in seismic analysis. Similarly, in some areas wind is the predominant force and it imposes load on the building which needs to be analysed before any disaster strikes. All these loads create a significant impact in performing structural analysis and any slight calculation mistakes can create life threatening situations.

Types of loads
There are various types of loads that are studied in the structural analysis which are –

Fig 1: Depiction of live and dead load in a room
Fig 1: Depiction of live and dead load in a room
Courtesy: BuildingHow

Vz = k1 k2 k3 Vb
Where, k1= Risk coefficient, k2 = Coefficient based on terrain, height, and structure size and k3 = Topography factor. The Design wind pressure is given by
pz = 0.6 Vz2

where, pz is in N/m2 at height z and Vz is in m/sec. Till a height of 30 m, the wind pressure is considered to act uniformly on the building. When the height is above 30 m, the wind pressure increases.
Fig 2 Wind load acting on a building
Fig 2: Wind load acting on a building

S = µS0
where, S = Design snow load, µ = Shape coefficient and S0 = Ground snow load. This load is not the outcome of single impact but the result of multiple impact of snow. Such loads cause imbalance on the roof of the structure and hence needs to be treated for the safe design of structures.
Fig 3 Snow load acting on a building
Fig 3: Snow load acting on a building
Courtesy: Band Premier Real Estate

Fig 4: Collapse simulation of an RCC Building
Fig 4: Collapse simulation of an RCC Building
Courtesy: Xinzheng Lu

All these loads have different impact on buildings. Different areas have different weather conditions which in turn have impact on variety of loadings. Some areas may experience combinations of loading too like DL+LL+EL or DL+LL+WL and so on. Several load combinations are needed to evaluate while designing of buildings and the maximum load is to be taken into consideration for the safe design of structure. Moreover, the building codes are different in different countries and so the loading calculations may slightly vary. It is to be remembered the standard values so that calculations become easy in every aspect of building design. Apart from these loads there are other loads that are considered in building design and are evaluated based on different building codes. Such loads are not vital compared to the loads explained above but are important to be considered for better design.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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