A live load is the weight added to the permanent structure. All unfixed items in a building such as people and furniture result in a 'live' load on the structure. A building’s maximum live load allowance will restrict the amount of weight potentially added to the existing structure. This will normally limit the amount of people that can use the space, or the function of the space.

For example, a cantilevered verandah will have a reduced live load capacity than a verandah that is supported on both sides.

Like dead loads, live loads are always exerted in a vertical plane, and may need to be transferred horizontally to supporting structures below, even if these are offset (as in the example of a cantilevered verandah above). AS 1170 provides allowances for Live Loads based on conservative estimates.


Live load values of common building uses (Uniformly distributed kPa or kN/m2):

(kPa or kN/m2 are essentially the same units)

Dwelling house         = 1.5

Multi-Res                   = 2.0

Office / cinema         = 3.0

Gym / Night club      = 5.0

Parking                      = 5.0


The scenario below demonstrates the calculation of Live Load:        

Parking Structure (5.0 kPa or kN/m2)

Garage floor area (6x6m) = 36m2

Live load rating for vehicle parking (>2.5t) = 5.0

Floor live load = 36m2  x 5.0 kPa  = 180 kN


Regulatory Information

The Australian Standard that outlines the requirements for dead loads is:

AS1170.1  Part 1 – 1981 Dead and Live Loads


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