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A load bearing structure has the components of a building which carries and transfers the load to the ground safely. This structure guarantee stability of the building and its performance. Commonly walls, columns, beams, foundation

Understanding the structural principles of load bearing structure is the fundamentals required for the design process and bring up the design solution. This will help in coming up with suitable materials and construction techniques.

Load-Bearing Structure

Fig.1: Load-Bearing Structure

Statics of Load Bearing Structure

The load-bearing structures is determined by the following analysis process:

  1. The whole structure is analyzed initially. The function of each structural element is hence determined.
  2. The forces in the individual structural elements is determined.
  3. The forces that is affecting the structural elements is determined along with the forces that it transmits. These are external forces.
  4. The forces within the structural elements are the internal forces or the static forces.
  5. The overall structural stability of the structural element is determined.
  6. Finally, determine the proof that the planned structure withstands all the forces coming over it.

Load Bearing Components of a Building

The main load-bearing structural elements are:

  1. Beam
  2. Columns
  3. Walls
  4. Braces
  5. Trusses

1. Load Bearing Walls

A load bearing wall transfers the loads form slabs above it to the foundation. These walls can be made of concrete, masonry or block materials. Most of the exterior walls of a building structure are considered as load bearing.

Removal of load bearing wall as a part of renovation must be conducted only after providing alternative support for the above-supported structures.

Also Read: Types of Walls used in Building Construction and Types of Masonry Walls in Building Construction

2. Beams

Beam forms one of the primary load-bearing component of structure which can be made from wood, concrete or metal. It is a primary member utilized to take the load on the building. The capacity of load bearing depends on the depth and width of the beam element.

Beam is subjected to higher amount of shear and compressive force as they have high amount of internal and external forces.

3. Columns

The structural columns are one of the important elements in a structure which have effective role in the transmission of dead and live loads to the foundation that the building structure is subjected to.

4. Braces

Braces are structural elements used in the framework structural system. This load bearing elements helps in stiffening the framework effectively.

5. Trusses

Trusses are load-bearing elements that supports the roof elements in building structure. The roof loads are uniformly transmitted to the truss. The truss is subjected to tension and compression forces. The trusses are not subjected to any kind of moments.

Framed Structural System and Load Bearing Structural Systems

The framed and load-bearing structural systems vary based on the load-bearing structural components taking part in the load transmission.

In the load bearing structural system, the loads gets transferred from slabs to foundations through walls, while in framed structural system, loads from slabs gets transferred to beams, beams to columns and finally from columns to the foundation.

The structural elements involved in a framed structural element are:

Slabs >> Beams >> Columns >> Foundation

In case, of Load bearing, structural system the path followed is

Slabs >> Walls >> Foundation

Load Bearing Structure vs Framed Structure

Fig.2: Load Bearing Structure vs Framed Structure

The load-bearing structural system is an old method of construction. Framed structural system has framed structure of columns and beams which have high resistance to lateral forces. The framed structural system is more flexible compared with load-bearing structural system.

About Neenu ArjunVerified

Neenu is a Civil and Structural Engineer and has experience in Design of Concrete and Steel Structures. She is an Author, Editor and Partner at theconstructor.org.