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Load Types

Load Types and Combinations

Structural framing needs to be designed for loads that fulfill clients performance
requirements, to transfer loads stably through proper load paths, and to fulfill code
requirements for spans and headroom heights for the specific type of usage.
Vertical loads
1. Live loads based on the specific type of use
2. Superimposed dead loads (floor finishes, non-structural partitions, ceilings, and services)
3. Fixed equipment loads
4. Soil self-weight
5. Dead load or self-weight of the structure
Horizontal Loads
1. Lateral wind loads that should be distributed at center of mass
2. Soil, surcharge, and water loads
3. Notional horizontal loading (loading that are used for structural stability of column and
4. Seismic loads
Some loads that affect the internal stresses of the structural members are not considered in design
calculations include temperature, expansion, shrinkage, contraction, inertial, and support
movement forces.
Load Combinations
LC1: 1.4DL + 1.6LL
LC2: 1.4DL + 1.4WL
LC3: 1.2DL + 1.2Ll + 1.2WL
DL = Dead Load
LL = Live Load
WL = Wind Load
Note: Superimposed dead loads (SDL) should have the same factor of safety as that of dead

Typical Loads

These loads are often used for scheme design purposes. It should be noted that these loads are
preliminary estimates and should not be used for actual design. These loads are only for
reference to check preliminary sizes of members required to support the loads.
Superimposed Dead Load
Floor finish (screed) 50mm
Floor finish (screed) 50mm
Raised floor
False ceiling
Ceiling and Services
External walling:
Curtain wall
Cavity walls made out of masonry
Steel wall framing
Windows0.5 kPa
3.5 kPa
0.5 kPa
0.5 kPa
Bituman roofing
Concrete tiles0.3 kPa
0.5 kPa
Asphalt for insulation
Metal outer covering1 kPa
0.5 kPa
0.5 kPaLive Load
Office3 kPa
Classroom3 kPa
Corridors5 kPa
Wind uplift for metal decks1 kPa

1.2 kPa
2.0 kPa
0.5 kPa
0.5 kPa
0.5 kPa
1.0 kPa (minimum)

Wind Loads
Wind load values are based on the height of the structure, in which design wind pressures with
respect to height about site or ground level can be obtained. Values are also dependent on the
shape of the building, in which shape factors can be obtained. Wind forces are derived with the
following equation obtained from the Code of Practice on Wind Effects in Hong Kong 2004.
Wind load cases that govern critical load combinations include tall and slender structures and
roof slabs with long spans.

Source: Code of Practice on Wind Effects in Hong Kong 2004

Source: Code of Practice on Wind Effects in Hong Kong 2004

Source: Code of Practice on Wind Effects in Hong Kong 2004

Soil Loads
Active soil pressures are generally used for soil load calculations. Active pressures are
applied loads induced by the soil onto the contained environment. Passive pressures are forces
induced by the soil's resistance to applied loads. Passive pressures are generally not conservative
for calculations. This is because there will be a worst case scenarios if the soil mass is removed
or when an empty space develops between the wall and the soil due to hydration. There will be
no passive resistance due to lack of forces induced by soil resistance and there will only be
passive resistance until the wall moves towards and is in direct contact with the soil for the soil
to resist the wall mass. Constants used to determine soil pressures include the angle of repose

and soil/wall friction.

Soil load calculations are often calculated for soil pressure induced onto retaining walls and
basement walls. Here are some typical loads used:
Uniform surchage load = 10 kPa
Soil load = 20 kPa using dead load factors
Hydrostatic water pressure should also be designed for, assuming it acts onto height of the
wall. However, full hydrostatic head will be used for soils with high water table.
Propped retaining wall Ko = 0.7
Overconsolidated clays Ko = 1.5
Overconsolidated sands Ko = 1.0
Other pressures
Pressures that need to be considered when constructing retaining walls, basement walls or
any other substructures include the following.
1. Earth pressure
2. Water pressure (accounting for extreme flood conditions, buoyancy where groundwater is
taken the full basement depth)
3. Surcharge from adjacent structures

Fluid Loads
Fluid loads should be calculated by using the static pressure of liquid and its effect on its
containment (pressure = density x height of fluid in the contained environment).
Common uses include water tanks and basement walls.

Vehicle Loads
Vehicle loads should be incorporated into the structures design, when the structure consist of
parking lots, ramps, highways, loading bays at industrial buildings, bridges, and any other
structure that has vehicles moving on it. Not only do self-weight of the vehicles should be
included in the design, vehicle impact loads should be included, as well as, the design of kerbs
and rails and other protective and preventative measures for vehicle impact.
Normally, 2.5 kPa should be used for uniformly distributed loads for a car parking area and 5 kpa
should be used for uniformly distributed loads for a commercial vehicle area.