You are on page 1of 12


These explanations are for the IBC Building Codes. For load information for Non-IBC Building Codes, see the Non-
IBC Building Code Help topic.

Roof Live Load:

Determine the correct roof live load, and indicate”No Reduction” or”Tributary Area Reduction Allowed”, depending
on which is applicable to this building. Roof Live load is defined as”Loads that are produced (1) during maintenance
by workers, equipment, and materials and (2) during the life of the structure by movable objects but does not include
wind, snow, seismic or dead loads.” Tributary Reduction is a reduction of the Roof Live Load based on the idea
that the larger roof area that is supported by a member, the less likely it is that area will be loaded to its limit. This
reduction is allowed by most building codes, but some local jurisdictions do not allow it. Check with your local Building
Department to be sure.

Roof Live Load applies only to members supporting the roof and not to occupied spaces. Occupied spaces (including
attics) are subject to Live Load provisions, not Roof Live Load provisions. It is the responsibility of the buyer to supply
the necessary Live Load criteria in the form of special notes. Contact your sales representative for more information.

Collateral Load:
Specify collateral loads and auxiliary loads required for your building. If you have both collateral and auxiliary loads in
one building, simply add the two together and specify it as collateral load. Collateral loads are defined as”The weight
of permanent materials other than the building system, such as sprinklers, mechanical systems, electrical systems,
partitions, and ceilings”. Auxiliary loads are defined as”Dynamic live loads such as those induced by...material handling
systems...machinery, elevators”.

Seismic Load:
Seismic loads are loads that are produced by the structure’s resistance to motion (or inertia), when the ground
accelerates during an earthquake. The magnitude of seismic loads depends on many factors, some of which are
functions of the location of the building and nature of the site. Furthermore, many of these factors vary greatly from
site to site in the same general area. Therefore this information cannot be determined by the building manufacturer
and must come from the Building Specifier or Architect/Engineer of record. Following is an explanation of these items.

Seismic Site Class:

The seismic site class is a measure of the local soil’s ability to transmit motion from the underlying rock to the surface.
Generally this information should come from the Geotechnical Engineer, the Engineer-of-Record for the project, or
possibly the local building official. When soil properties are not known to sufficient detail to determine the site class,
IBC allows you to use site class”D”. The site class designations are as follows:

Site Class Soil description

• A Hard Rock
• B Rock
• C Very dense soil and hard rock
• D Stiff Soil
• E* Soft Soil
• F* Weak Soil
* Designations”E” and”F” are special soil conditions as determined by the building official, Engineer-of-Record, or
Geotechnical Engineer. They require special design considerations, which may result in increased engineering
cost. Contact the manufacturer for more information.

The 0.2-second spectral response coefficient, is the measure of the short-term ground acceleration that could occur
during a 50-year seismic event, assuming Site Class “B”. Again, this information should come from the Geotechnical
Engineer, the Engineer-of-Record for the project, or the local building official. If the data is not available, an estimated
value may be obtained from the ASCE-7 contour map (Figure which is reprinted below). Other inset maps
are provided in ASCE-7 for areas where the contours are too close to obtain an accurate value.

800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.

800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.
800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.
The one second spectral response coefficient, is similar to S s, but for long-term ground accelerations. Again
there is a contour map in ASCE-7 (Figure which is reprinted below) along with inset maps for
high-seismic areas.

800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.

You may also obtain Seismic Data at
800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.
Snow Load:
The snow load is defined as the load induced on the building surface or element caused by the weight of the
snow in place. Snow loads are generally a function of the Ground Snow and several environmental factors,
all of which are explained below.

Ground Snow Load:

Indicate the ground snow load for this building. A contour map is provided in ASCE-7 (Figure 7-1) which is
reprinted below.

800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.

800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.
Snow Exposure:
The snow exposure condition is required to predict what portion of the ground snow is likely to accumulate
on the roof of the structure. It is a function of the terrain surrounding the building. This information should
come from the Engineer-of-Record, but in general the”Partially Exposed” category should be used. The IBC
supplies the following guidelines to determine this condition:

Snow Exposure Condition:

• Partially exposed: All roofs except as indicated below
• Fully Exposed Roof: exposed on all sides with no shelter* afforded by terrain, higher structures, or
trees. Roofs that contain several large pieces of mechanical equipment, parapets that extend above the
height of the balanced snow mass, or other obstructions are NOT in this category.
• Sheltered Roof: located in tight among conifers that qualify as obstructions*.
* Obstructions within a distance of 10h, where h is the height of the obstruction above the roof level. If
the only obstructions are a few deciduous trees, which are leafless in winter, the”Fully Exposed” category
shall be used except with wind exposure”A”. Note that these heights are above the roof. Heights used to
establish the wind exposure are heights above the ground.

Thermal Condition:
The thermal condition is a measure of the roofs ability to prevent snow accumulation on the roof due to
heat escaping from within the structure. This is primarily a function of the use of the building. This condition
should also come from the Engineer-of-Record, but in general”All others” should be used. ASCE-7 provides
the following guidelines to determine this condition:

Thermal Condition* Description

• Kept Just Above Freezing: Structures kept just above freezing and others with cold, ventilated roofs in
which the thermal resistance (R-Value) between the ventilated space and the heated space exceeds
• Unheated: Kept below freezing Unheated structures, and structures intentionally kept below freezing.
• All Others: All other structures except as indicated above.
* These conditions shall be representative of the anticipated conditions during winters for the life of the

Snow Drift:
Indicate if the building is within 20’ of another structure that is taller than the building. If this condition
exists, then review the”Snow Drifting” section of the Supplemental Design Information and provide the
required information. For an explanation of what information needs to be specified, along with an example,
please see the IBC Snow Drift help topic. If the adjacent structure is lower than the proposed building,
then a drifting condition may be imposed on the adjacent structure. THE MANUFACTURER CANNOT BE
MANUFACTURER. If this is the case, inform the Engineer/Architect of record.

Wind Load:
Indicate the correct wind speed to determine the wind load. Wind load is defined as”The load caused by
the wind from any horizontal direction”. ASCE-7 provides contour maps for determination of the wind loads
(Figure 6-1) which are reprinted below.

800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.

800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.
800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.
The building components supplied by the manufacturer will be designed for the appropriate wind loads as
per the supplied parameters. However, for exterior components not supplied by the manufacturer (such as
framed openings for doors by others, or collateral wall materials by others) it is imperative that the provider
of those materials be made aware of the required design wind pressure and suction to ensure that the
total building package is in compliance with the building code. In order to achieve this, the manufacturer
is required by the IBC to put those design values on the construction documents it supplies. It is the
responsibility of the buyer to pass this information on to all suppliers of exterior envelope components. In
general, it will be a pressure and two suction values, on for Zone 4 and one for Zone 5 as shown in the
diagram below:

800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.

Wind Exposure:
Determine the correct Wind Exposure. A wind exposure shall be assigned at each site for which a building or
structure is to be designed.

Exposure B:
Urban and suburban areas, wooded areas, or other terrain with numerous closely spaced obstructions
having the size of single-family dwellings or larger.

Exposure C:
Open terrain with scattered obstructions, including surface undulations or other irregularities, having heights
generally less than 30 feet (9144 mm) extending more than 1,500 feet (457.2 m) from the building site in any
quadrant. This exposure shall also apply to any building located within Exposure B type terrain where the
building is directly adjacent to open areas of Exposure C type terrain in any quadrant for a distance of more
than 600 feet (182.9 m). This category includes flat open country, grasslands and shorelines in hurricane-
prone regions.

Exposure D:
Flat, unobstructed areas exposed to wind flowing over open water (excluding shorelines in hurricane-prone
regions) for a distance of at least 1 mile (1.61 km). Shorelines in Exposure D include inland waterways, the
Great Lakes and coastal areas of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. This exposure shall apply
only to those buildings and other structures exposed to the wind coming from over the water. Exposure D
extends inland from the shoreline a distance of 1,500 feet (460 m) or 10 times the height of the building or
structure, whichever is greater.

Hurricane Coastline:
Advise if the building is located within a Hurricane Prone region. Hurricane Coastline is defined as the U.S.
Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico Coasts where the basic wind speed is greater than 90 MPH and Hawaii,
Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

Topographic Factor:
For information about the Topographic Factor, see the Topographic Factor Help topic.

Building Shell:
Advise as to the correct building shell condition. NOTE: This does not remove any wall sheets. It only
adjusts the design for wind uplift conditions.” Enclosed” means the building is completely enclosed in some
material. That material can be sheets, masonry, or even another enclosed building. “ Partially Enclosed” can
mean that the building is completely open to a given elevation, or that part of the building is open and part is
enclosed.” Open” means that the building is completely open to remain open.

Determine the correct occupancy rating. This is required information. The occupancy rating will be used to
determine the correct importance factors for each building. Those importance factors will be shown on your
contract. The choices for occupancy rating are:
• All Others (Normal Occupancy)
• Buildings with more than 250 Occupants in One Room
• Essential Facilities Such as Fire Stations, Police Stations, Hospitals, and/or Emergency Shelters
• Low Hazards Such as Agricultural Buildings, Certain Temporary or Minor Storage Facilities

800-643-5555 | | © 2014 Heritage Building Systems. All rights reserved.