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RE: Load - Occupancy Live Load -Reply

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Another note on all the "what ifs."  Tenants/owners are usually unaware of what
 a posted live load sign means practically.  I'm not too sure a building owner
will realize exactly how many boxes of papers makes a certain psf load.  

If the building is sold later on and the sign is gone (for whatever reason) in
many cities there won't be any record of what the live load in this area was
designed for.  The new owner considers the area storage.

We all know what is "reasonable" and what everyone's intention is, but there
are too many "what ifs."

Raymond Tao, P.E.
Willdan Assoc.
Industry, CA
---------- Original Text ----------

From: "Tim McCormick" <TMCCORMI(--nospam--at)BAS.CI.LA.CA.US>, on 4/1/98 11:29 AM:


The UBC says in" Section 1604.5 Live Loads Posted. The live loads for which
each floor or part thereof of a commercial or industrial building is or has
been designed shall have such designed live loads conspicuously posted by the
owner. . . . .The occupant of the building shall be responsible for keeping the

actual load below the allowable limits." 

It sounds like the building official made you and not the occupant,
responsible. On a practical note, I can see his/her point but the building code

allows controls on live loads and occupant loads with proper signage. (See
Section 1002.3 too.) What if the area was converted to heavy storage for excess

weights (LL=250 psf?). 

We cannot police everything. Lawyers like to hang engineers on "what ifs"
scenarios but I do not think building officials should or can per code in this
case. Our role is limited to enforcing the minimum allowed by code. Fortunately

for you, the difference in load criteria is not critical.

Tim McCormick, P.E.
City of Los Angeles

>>> "Dennis S. Wish" <wish(--nospam--at)> 03/31/98 09:58pm >>>
No luck, Ernie. The building official took a stand - You can't guarantee the
future use of the area and, therefore, have to consider the code for worst
case condition. Yes, the actual usage for the space will prove a less than
50 psf live load, but there is nothing to prevent the client from taking out
the equipment and holding assembly's and aerobic training classes.
This means that the occupancy of the space must be changed and the area must
comply with the code rated live load for an assembly area - 100 psf.
Thanks for your input, but the BO is the final word on the issue.

Dennis Wish PE
La Quinta, California
ICQ# 6110557

"Silence is the virtue of fools."
Francis Bacon

|-----Original Message-----
|From: ErnieNSE [mailto:ErnieNSE(--nospam--at)]
|Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 1998 12:38 PM
|To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
|Subject: Re: Load - Occupany Live Load
|I've designed a fitness center open to the public on wood framed
|floors. It's
|on an existing retail/commercial building so I assumed that the
|live load the
|original building was designed for is adequate for the fitness center. Like
|you said, it's not an assembly area and with access around each equipment,
|minimum 50 psf should be OK.
|I treat the equipment weight as dead load and I ask for their location,
|including rubber pads, leg configuration of really heavy
|equipments, dumbell
|racks, etc., and design floor framing for these loads plus LL(min
|50 psf). One
|thing I watch out for is if there is a long row of heavy equipment or racks
|that runs the same direction as the floor joist, it becomes
|critical for 2 or
|3 joist carrying a heavy uniform load along it's length. A revised
|layout may be necessary or some way to spread the loads to more
|joists if the
|layout cannot be changed.
|Ernie Natividad