How do you calculate the weight of a building?

There are two types of loads, typically, dead loads and live loads.

Dead loads

You break up the building into categories of components with the same weight metrics, for example: 6″ concrete slabs, 4″ steel beams, brick veneer, windows, etc, etc, — you may have different types of metrics so your concrete will be measured by square foot weight, but your windows will be measured per unit.

Dead loads are loads that will not change over time.

Live loads

Live loads are loads such as human beings walking around, or in a garage structure, the cars driving around. Also, furniture, snow, plants, etc.. These are also calculated and they depend largely on the program of the various spaces.

A library or cafeteria is assumed to have a higher live load factor than a simple office (all those books). You can reference both your local building code as well as the international code council for rules pertaining to your project.

Live load + Dead load = Gravity Load which is basically the total weight of the building.

2 Replies to “How do you calculate the weight of a building?”

  1. Thanks for the A2A. I am not a structural engineer and have never needed to calculate the weight of the building but I believe the process is, as you might expect, to total up the weight of all (or most of) the components.

    Steel and concrete are usually the main mass of the building and are relatively easy to calculate. The concrete is calculated by volume in cubic yards or meters. The weight may vary a bit depending on the mix and extent of reinforcement but I don't know by how much. Structural steel is specified by its size and weight per length and sold by the ton so it's pretty stairs forward to figure.

    The weight of fixtures equipment is part of the manufacturers specs. Façades and interiors can vary quite a bit. I expect there are rules of thumb for various types and configurations.

    Of course that's just the dead load (the weight of the building itself). The live load (the weight of moveable contents) is usually calculated according to the use of the space with a standard weight per unit area.

  2. For calculating weight of a building first see if it's every floor is similar or not. If all floors are similar then it's good u need to just calculate weight of one floor otherwise calculate individual weights.

    Weight of building include weight of goods it contains+ weight of constructing materials used to construct it. Further you can categories goods and calculate their weight and constructing materials too.

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