Live Load

Published: | Updated: February 3, 2019

Definition - What does Live Load mean?

Live load is a civil engineering term that refers to a load that can change over time. The weight of the load is variable or shifts locations, such as when people are walking around in a building. Anything in a building that is not fixed to the structure can result in a live load, since it can be moved around.

Safeopedia explains Live Load

Live loads are factored into the calculation of the gravity load of a structure. They are measured in pounds per square foot. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) allocates minimum live-load requirements according to the intended use of a building. For example, a house will have a live load of 1.5 kPa, while a dance hall has a live load of 5.0 kPa.

Construction approval is dependent upon design and structural plans that account for live-load requirements. The minimum live-load requirements are based on the expected maximum load.

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