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RE: Dead Load or Live Load?

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Okay, let's look at the other side of the argument.

Say the "whackos" win and we have to depend even MORE on solar panels as
they mothball all remaining electric plants.

Now, suddenly, you as the building owner decide you need BIGGER solar
panels. So you arrange to have 'em installed, knowing as you do that
"engineers always design conservatively anyway." Now, your "static dead
load" has just increased by 50%.

When I was doing plant work, we considered ALL equipment, even if it was
"fixed," to be live loads for design of buildings, etc. We knew the
equipment was "here today, gone tomorrow," likely with something even bigger
to take its place.

So, anything that isn't part of the structure itself, or the function
thereof, is "live load."

William L. Polhemus, Jr. P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
Katy, TX, USA
Phone (281) 492-2251
FAX (281) 492-8203
email bill(--nospam--at)

-----Original Message-----
From: Amy Ellis [mailto:EllisAL(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 3:01 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Dead Load or Live Load?

The definition of dead load is the weight of the structure itself and
"permanent" attachments.  We consider floor coverings and roof coverings,
which can be removed to be dead load so why wouldn't we consider "permanent"
solar panels to be dead loads.  The solar panels are static loads that don't
vary in weight or location. Sounds like a dead load to me - no matter what
the "environmental whackos" decide.

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