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Re: 5 psf lateral partition live load - was RE: 16 gage wire strength

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I have a copy of the 2000 IBC handbook Structural Provisions, and the IBC defined that 5psf horizontal partition load as "nominal impact loads that commonly occur in the use of a facility and to HVAC pressurization".

This seems to be what you are looking for.  I don't believe you would add this to your exterior walls and their wind pressure design because the internal pressure coefficients for wind design would incorporate the building's internal pressures.  This would strictly be for interior partitions.  The way I treat it is that it is another horizontal live load, and if there are two transitory live loads, simply follow the rules of the load combinations specified by the code.

1.0 D + 1.0 L1 + 0.75 L2 or 1.0D + 0.75L1 + 1.0L2, whichever controls...

Hope this helps...


Harold Sprague wrote:
I am not well acquainted with the NBCC.  We were forced to purge "due consideration" from ASCE 7 some years ago.  Some thought that it might be ambiguous;>) 
I was being a bit rhetorical, and I was referencing an IBC provision:

1607.13 Interior walls and partitions. Interior walls and partitions that exceed 6 feet (1829 mm) in height, including their finish materials, shall have adequate strength to resist the loads to which they are subjected but not less than a horizontal load of 5 psf (0.240 kN/m2).

It is still ambiguous, but not as ambiguous as NBCC.  This provision establishes the minimum horizontal "live load" on interior partitions in the IBC.  The IBC has never explicitly defined the nature of this load, but it is in the "Live Load" section as opposed to wind or seismic.  One would deduce that this is a service live load and should have the appropriate 1.6 factor for limit state design.  This would be an additive load to the E or W load which has weird implications depending on if you are in limit state or allowable stress. 
My understanding is that the ASCE is looking into this and scratching their heads.  It has been there a long time.  Some designers are aware and some are not. 

Regards, Harold Sprague


Date: Fri, 2 Oct 2009 07:51:01 -0400
From: design(--nospam--at)
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: 16 gage wire strength

In response to your question, our NBCC requires that "due consideration" be given to wind pressures acting on interior partitions and walls due to
differential pressures(windward and leeward sides), stack effect due to temperature, and pressurization due to mechanical equipment.  I hope I understood your question correctly.

Harold Sprague wrote:
First how can you have an interior wall UNDER 5 psf lateral load. 
Regards, Harold Sprague


Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2009 16:38:39 -0800
From: dmorris(--nospam--at)
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: 16 gage wire strength

For the typical wire tension bracing used for suspended ceilings and lights, what is the steel type that can be assumed for the wire?  This is the typical stuff they use for bracing suspended ceilings, lights, etc.  The contractor has asked to use solid 16 gage wire instead of light gage steel studs for the lateral bracing of the top of interior partition walls under 5 psf lateral loading.

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