American Society of Civil Engineers

Probability Model for Design Live Loads

by Philip L. Chalk, (Asst. Engr., New Zealand Ministry of Works and Development, Wellington, New Zealand) and Ross B. Corotis, M.ASCE, (Prof. of Civ. Engrg., Northwestern Univ., Evanston, Ill.)

Journal of the Structural Division
, Vol. 106, No. 10, October 1980, pp. 2017-2033, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Extensive floor load data are utilized in a probabilistic design model for building live loads. Results from most major live load surveys are employed to derive representative loading parameters for several common occupancy types. Simulation is used to verify a number of probabilistic models describing the stochastic nature of the live load components. Area dependent sustained and transient load processes comprise the total load. The mode by which the maximum total load (or design load) is reached during the lifetime of a structure is not known with certainty. A probabilistic model is developed that accounts for the relative likelihood of occurrence of each mode, and is used to obtain example design loads corresponding to the mean of the lifetime maximum total load. For most occupancy types considered these loads are in reasonable agreement with present building code values.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Data collection
Live loads
Standards and codes
Surveys (non-geomatic)