A dead load consists of the total weight of all the materials that are used to construct a home. It means anything that is a permanent, or fixed, component of the build. The item must be attached to the structure if it is to be considered dead load. A quick test is this: If the item can be moved without the use of tools to detach it, it is not considered dead load.
Items that are dead load include columns, beams, windows, wall systems, heating and ventilation systems, piping, doors, floor coverings and more. Things that are not considered dead load include movable objects like shelving, beds, books, stored items or anything else that can be moved easily.
When a design engineer is designing a home, they must know the weight of the final structure. This can be a bit difficult to calculate prior to the home being built and tends to require an educated guess. An estimate is used to compute dead loads so that the home can be built safely. There are computer programs that assist in calculating dead load, but they are not all the same.
If you would like to build a new home, an experienced home designer can assist you in ensuring that your custom house plans are designed and built with your safety in mind. A professional build will last you a lifetime and is a great option for those who want to add unique features or move into a home that is truly their own.