Steel buildings are becoming very popular for businesses. They offer a strong structure and a lot of space for a reasonable price. But our builders at Nelson and Son Construction in Denver know it’s very important to get an understanding of dead and live loads when it comes to steel buildings, so you can appreciate how they are designed.
Structural engineers for metal buildings analyze the strength and stability of a steel building. Their conclusions and calculations determine the integrity and safety of the steel building design. They also decide the placement and gauge of each section of the metal building. We need them to make this determination because it needs to support the loads under duress, but not use more steel than needed, causing it to be too expensive. The goal is to get a metal building that is strong and safe but is not overbuilt or too expensive.
Let’s look at what this means for a steel building.
Dead loads are the permanent loads of the structure, including the weight of the building itself, plus the weight of all fixed items like walls, roof, and carpeting.
If the building has something hanging or attached to the structural framing that is called collateral dead load. This would include things like roof-mounted air-conditioning/heating units and HVAV ducting, water fire sprinkler systems, lighting fixtures, material handling systems, or interior manufacturing cranes. The structural engineer has to know in advance all the auxiliary materials to be used in the building to determine the soundness of the structure.
Dead loads would include the things that will remain with the building over the lifetime of the structure.
The concrete foundations don’t govern the maximum weight of the structure. The pre-engineered metal buildings are designed first, and then the concrete engineer decides the proper sized foundation to support the dead loads of the steel building.
Live loads are temporary additional loads that impose additional force on a structure and its foundation, like workers walking on a steel building roof or things moved in and out of the building like people, furniture, or inventory.
Steel mezzanine systems are used to create upper floors in metal buildings but they are self-supporting. These systems work independently of the structural steel framing.
However, the mezzanine system must be engineered to sufficiently carry the live loads of materials and people using them. The concrete engineers design the foundation based on the mezzanine’s placement and calculated loads.
When you use the pre-engineered steel buildings you don’t have to worry about construction loads or hiring the engineers. It’s already been done for you. Your pre-engineered building is a solid steel structure. The dead and live construction loads for your building have already been considered and engineers have already checked the calculations and signed off on production.
Understanding dead and live loads when it comes to steel buildings is an important part of our job, along with providing you a strong structure and a lot of space for a good price. For help on your next project, call our builders at Nelson and Son Construction in Denver to find the right steel building for your business.