Facilities, Real Estate and Auxiliary Services

Building Floor Loading

Section: Facilities, Real Estate and Auxiliary Services Policies
Policy Name: Building Floor Loading
Policy Owner: Executive Vice President
Responsible University Office: Facilities, Real Estate and Auxiliary Services
Origination Date: September 15, 1977
Revisions: June 5, 1989; March 1, 1996; July 1, 2005
Legacy Policy Number: 7-20
  1. PURPOSETo develop safety procedures to be followed to ensure that structural design of building floors is not exceeded to the point of collapse.
  2. POLICYIt shall be the policy of the University not to exceed the assigned permissible floor loadings of any building as established by Facilities Planning and Construction.All buildings are structurally engineered to provide a specific floor loading which should not be exceeded. This is to prevent major collapse which could result in loss of life and major physical damage. Original occupancy of buildings considers placement of equipment to keep the floor loading under these limits. However, with passage of time, considerable changes are effected over the life of a building to accomplish updating with new programs, new equipment, new personnel, and other projects.

    Heavy equipment items such as machinery, computers, heavy blueprint files, kilns, furnaces are often added which are heavy with their own weight. Other equipment items often leading to excessive loading are cold rooms, mass grouping of 4 drawer files, blueprint files, and similar items which become heavy only after being used or occupied.

    1. Facilities Planning and ConstructionDuring remodeling or renovation planning for a building, the Facilities Planning and Construction Department will verify the safe floor loading before the project is approved for construction.

      If maintenance conditions arise in which the integrity of a floor system is questionable, Facilities Planning and Construction will have it reviewed by a licensed structural engineer for verification of the safe floor loading limit. If the safe limit is modified, Facilities Planning and Construction will correct their listing for the area involved.

    2. PurchasingProcurement Services will not purchase heavy equipment and material such as cold boxes, machinery and laboratory equipment without prior confirmation of floor load capability by Facilities Management. As a general guide, equipment of this nature should be reviewed if it exceeds 30 lbs./square foot in its floor load. If it is a “container” which may be loaded with items after installation in which the floor load may be questionable, it should also be reviewed by Facilities Management.
    3. Facilities Maintenance and OperationsFacilities personnel, during the course of performing building maintenance work, will report to the Director of Facilities Maintenance and Operations any structural deficiencies observed and will take necessary action to determine cause of the deficiency and correct it. If a condition is found that is unsafe to personnel, the area will be evacuated until the condition is corrected. Such conditions will be immediately reported to the Public Safety Office and to Facilities Planning and Construction.

      Facilities personnel, who normally move and install most heavy equipment, will report any abnormally heavy loads being installed to the Director of Facilities Maintenance and Operations for verification of safe floor loading. (The guidelines stated for Purchasing above may be used to identify when loads become heavy and require investigation). The Director will verify the conditions with the Facilities Planning and Construction Office for approval or changes needed.

    4. All Other DepartmentsSince cases of excessive floor loading may arise over time by purchase of new equipment or gradual concentration of heavy files or equipment, Department personnel must be alert to changing conditions that may exceed designed floor loadings:
      1. Any area suspected to exceed floor weights of 30 pounds per square foot should be brought to the attention of Facilities Planning and Construction for review. If areas must be modified to insure safety, Facilities Planning and Construction shall follow up with the Department involved.
      2. Purchase of new equipment which exceeds a floor load weight of 30 pounds per square foot shall be reviewed with Facilities Planning and Construction for approval.Note: The weight limit of 30 pounds per square foot is the lowest known floor loading in University buildings. Many buildings exceed this rating depending on type of construction and age.

        If it is known that a department’s space has a load limit exceeding 30 pounds per square foot (i.e. 100 pounds per square foot for example) the known rating may be substituted in “1” and “2” above so that verification of loading would be required only when it exceeds the known rating.