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UBC: How Do You Interpret 1997 UBC Paragraph 1607.1?

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This came up in a discussion with an attorney today.

The referenced paragraph states:

"Live loads shall be the maximum loads expected by the intended use or
occupancy but in no case shall be less than the loads required by this

Now, in the case that I'm consulting on, the EOR has repeatedly denied all
responsibility from problems with a parking deck structure based on the fact
that "they used the loads prescribed by the building code."

However, one line of inquiry has been that the loads applied by
"pleasure-type vehicles" possibly exceed those prescribed in 1997 UBC Table
16-A and in 1607.3.3 "Concentrated Loads".

This leads to two questions that I'd like to be able to answer succinctly
for my client the shyster:

1) How does one determine if "the maximum loads expected by the use"  exceed
and should take the place of "loads required by this Section [i.e. UBC
Section 1607 "Live Loads"]?

2) Assuming that such a determination must be made, how have such loads been
arrived at?

Regarding the second question in particular I have noticed that ASCE
publishes a "Design Live Loads for Parking Garages." I have ordered this
publication, but in the meantime the abstract published on the ASCE website
mentions that the publication (which appears to be a monograph) concludes
that the 50 psf prescribed in UBC could rationally be reduced to about 40
psf, but that in many (most?) cases the standard reductions allowed by the
Code should not be taken. Anyone have any comments on this?

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

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