Structural Loads

Buildings, Bridges, Wind Turbines and any other structure are designed to withstand loads. If the structure can’t withstand the loads acting on it, it fails.

In this section you’ll learn about the different types of loads, how to calculate them, how to apply them and much more.

What Are Loads?

Structural loads are the representation of actions/influences on structures that are caused by nature, humans, machinery etc and the structural elements must be designed to withstand those actions. In general, the most used loads when designing a building are:

  • Dead load (self-weight)
  • Live load
  • Wind load
  • Snow load
  • Seismic load
  • Earth pressure
  • Imperfection
  • Accidental loading

In structural design, different load types are used depending on the element and the load itself. We differentiate between:

  • Area load (on slabs, walls, facades, etc.)
  • Line load (on beams, columns, frames, etc.)
  • Point load (on columns, beams, etc.)
  • Others like triangular load
The snow load is applied differently on a rafter roof than the wind load. Learn in this guide how to apply snow, wind, live and dead load on structural elements.

What Are Load Combinations?