Enter the volume of the building member and the density of the materials in that member into the calculator to determine the dead load.

Dead Load Formula

The following formula is used to calculate a dead load.

DL = V * D
  • Where DL is the dead load
  • V is the volume of the member/beam/etc.
  • D is the density of the member/beam/etc.

To calculate a dead load, multiply the volume of the member or beam by the density of the material.

Dead Load Definition

What is a dead load? A dead load is defined as the weight of a structure that does not include the weight of the passengers or carrying. For example, a beam holding up a building would have a dead load equal to its own weight.

Example Problem

How to calculate dead load?

  1. First, determine the volume of the beam.

    For this example, we are looking at the dead load of a beam holding up a bridge. The beam itself has a volume of 10 ft^3.

  2. Next, determine the density of the beam.

    The steel beam has a density of 493.18 lbs/ft^3.

  3. Finally, calculate the dead load.

    Using the formula above, the dead load is found to be 10*493 = 4,931.8 lbs.

About Dead Load

What is considered a dead load? A dead load is a load or weight of a structural component of a building that does not change over time. In other words, the load from that structure is constant.

What are live loads? Live loads are the opposite of dead loads. These are loads that change over time that act on a structure. For example, traffic moving over a bridge is a live load because it changes over time.