Calculation of loads for Column and Foundation Design | Structural Design

How to calculate the total loads on a column and corresponding footing?

This article has been written on the request from my readers. Engineering students generally get confused when it comes to calculating loads for column and footings design. The manual process is simple.

Types of loads on column

  1. Self weight of the column x Number of floors
  2. Self weight of beams per running meter
  3. Load of walls per running meter
  4. Total Load of slab (Dead load + Live load + Self weight)

The columns are also subjected to bending moments which have to be considered in the final design. The best way to design a good structure is to use advanced structural design software like ETABS or STAAD Pro. These tools are leagues ahead of manual methodology for structural design, and highly recommended.

In professional practice, there are some basic assumptions we use for structural loading calculations.

For Columns

Self weight of Concrete is around 2400 kg per cubic meter, which is equivalent to 240 kN. Self weight of Steel is around 8000 kg per cubic meter. Even if we assume a large column size of 230 mm x 600 mm with 1% steel and 3 meters standard height, the self weight of column is around 1000 kg per floor, which is equivalent to 10 kN. So, in my calculations, I assume self weight of column to be between 10 to 15 kN per floor.

For Beams

Similar calculations as above. I assume each meter of beam  has dimensions of 230 mm x 450 mm excluding slab thickness. So, the self weight can be around 2.5 kN per running meter.

For Walls

Density of bricks varies between 1500 to 2000 kg per cubic meter. For a 6″ thick wall of 3 meter height and a length of 1 meter, we can calculate the load per running meter to be equal to 0.150 x 1 x 3 x 2000 = 900 kg which is equivalent to 9 kN/meter. You can calculate load per running meter for any brick type using this technique.

For autoclaved, aerated concrete blocks like Aerocon or Siporex, the weight per cubic meter is between 550 to 700 kg per cubic meter. By using these blocks for construction, the wall loads per running meter can be as low as 4 kN/meter, which can result in a significant reduction in the cost of construction.

For Slab

Assume the slab has a thickness of 125 mm. Now each square meter of slab would have a self weight of 0.125 x 1 x 2400 = 300 kg which is equivalent to 3 kN. Now, assume Finishing load to be 1 kN per meter and superimposed live load to be 2 kN per meter. So, we can calculate slab load to be around 6 to 7 kN per square meter.

Factor of Safety

In the end, after calculating the entire load on a column, please do not forget to add in the factor of safety. For IS 456:2000, the factor of safety is 1.5.

You can use RCC Column Design app to calculate steel required for the calculated axial load using this method.

, , , , , , , , ,

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. #1 by Nega Nugusa on December 30, 2016 - 12:06 pm

    Thanks for help

  2. #2 by Nega Nugusa on December 30, 2016 - 12:05 pm

    I need the calculation of structural design

  3. #3 by SNVR NIRANJAN CHOPPAVARAPU on March 17, 2016 - 7:45 am

    I want to know how to calculate design of pile foundation for barrage

  4. #4 by Shubhang on October 27, 2015 - 9:34 pm

    I want to know how to calculate structural members load,
    Which is below ground?

  5. #5 by sangharkshit on October 10, 2015 - 12:04 am

    hii m an architecture 3rd year student frim Maharashtra Nagpur tell me how to do column calculation and the footting design for architectural design

  6. #6 by sami ct on September 3, 2015 - 1:43 pm

    how we can to design a mini football stadium?
    please help me

  7. #7 by Jauwad Alam on May 16, 2015 - 1:55 pm

    Nice for everyone

  8. #8 by Masood Shinware on April 15, 2015 - 8:02 am

    Hello sir its my final exam and I have research project in vertical structure therefor kindly request from you give me information about kani method thanks.

  9. #9 by Hussaini Abdullahi on December 12, 2014 - 1:01 pm

    clear and concise information

  10. #10 by nitu on November 24, 2014 - 10:52 am

    My friends new house was constructed on soft soil.the houes is is rcc framed structure with isolated footing .the columns are 300x300mm .there are 20 column and spacing is the first floor rcc slab roof is provided.footing of size 1.7*1.7mtr and 1.8 mtr deep was provided. 8nos 16mm dia rod is provided in columns .now after seeing some site on foundation design she is worried whether it is safe or not. kindly reply

  11. #11 by weraga christopher on November 20, 2014 - 12:44 pm

    dear madam can you help me with the formula of finding the depth of a foundation when given pressure as 23 ,weight of the soil as 423kg and the angle of repose 35degrees

  12. #12 by Gadhtoda Nishant on November 14, 2014 - 5:42 pm

    wht dimension of raft foundation may be suitable for a three storey security building having floor area.14ft*12ft, having soil bearing capacity 150n/mm2..using m20 comcrete?

  13. #13 by mustafa on July 26, 2014 - 1:38 am

    what is the workflow of structural designing from begining to end. write somebody step by step

  14. #14 by j.venkatesh Kumar on May 26, 2013 - 6:33 am

    Dear sir,i want to know how to design the structural members….that means by keeping one buliding plan how to design the structural members i knw how to design by using problems types..but using one building plan how to design entire structural members ….i want to know the procedure with example plz hel me sir…kindly i request u

    • #15 by BenzuJK on July 26, 2013 - 5:01 pm

      Hello Ventakesh,

      Here the RCC Building Design Guide

      This should answer all your questions. I recommend that you go through the guide thoroughly.

      Cheers 🙂

  15. #16 by AMITESH on February 4, 2013 - 9:44 pm


    • #17 by BenzuJK on February 9, 2013 - 7:47 am

      Well, that depends on the structural design. The steel design has to be appropriate. The span could go beyond 7m. It could be huge. 3m is the minimum distance between two supports.

  16. #18 by JUBAYER ISLAM on December 13, 2012 - 8:50 am


    • #19 by anwar on December 11, 2015 - 11:30 am

      design of concrete structure by arthur. H. nilson

  17. #20 by eruh on October 23, 2012 - 12:40 am

    m planning to build double storey house 17mx8m. Can u plis specify the number of coloumns to be erected and its sizes and also the beam sizes. Also the proper spacing of the coloumns. Bottom is open carport and level 1 is 2bedrooms,1m/bedrooms,kitchen,study rooms and small porch plus back porch as laundary areas.


  18. #21 by genevieve on September 19, 2012 - 12:21 am

    i computed all the total load?how will it be distributed in order to determine the dimension of the footing?

  19. #22 by CHRISTOPHER on August 20, 2012 - 11:11 pm

    Dear madam
    can you explain me . the self weight of one coumn 9″x9″ for 13feet length that is from gl to roof level.
    thank you

  20. #23 by CHRISTOPHER on August 20, 2012 - 11:06 pm

    Dear Madam
    Can you explain generally the load calculation for ground floor in kg /m2 for column , beam,only. i donot want in kN/M2.
    Thank you

  21. #24 by fahad suleiman on July 4, 2012 - 4:21 am

    major causes of cracks in building?.
    how to start a foundation?
    the caiculatoin of the total cash required?

  22. #26 by sandhya on June 8, 2012 - 2:13 am

    hi madam, im civil engg im doing analysis in stad pro,pls can u tell me 1 ex after analysis whats the procedure to do the design

    pls tell formulas and tumb rules

    tank u

  23. #27 by imran-ul-haq on May 2, 2012 - 10:50 pm

    can you please add 1 detail example using formula’s of calculating all columns, beams, slabs Live & dead load, please

  24. #28 by vivek kumar on February 24, 2012 - 6:50 am

    I am a civil engineering student studying final year. Can I know in which field does a civil engineer work.

  25. #29 by Tejaswi on February 7, 2012 - 10:56 pm

    hey i want design the building in my life time
    tell me what should i learn to become design Engineer atleast iwant to design one building in my lifetime provided should be safe

  26. #30 by ismile on February 2, 2012 - 4:31 pm

    hello sir,
    can you please tell me how can I calculate self load of colum or beam.

  27. #31 by balaji on December 23, 2011 - 7:35 pm


    I am going for construction of my own house – residential building with stilt + Ground+ 2 to 3 floors. The contractor is suggesting some measurements of foundation columns.

    Could you please let me know what are the measurements of columns in general for a building of above and the depth of the column should be.
    Thanks & Regards

    • #32 by BenzuJK on December 26, 2011 - 2:13 am

      Hello Balaji,
      I suggest you should hire a qualified Civil engineer for the job and not take structural based decisions yourself. This site is meant for people who are Civil engineers, civil engineering students, architects and architecure students and of course for people who are interested in gaining knowledge about structures.
      In no case is a layman allowed to take decisions regarding structural design. So please do consult a civil engineer and get the structural design. Every project is unique and needs designing accordingly.

      Thank you.

      • #33 by Eng Yousuf Sajeeb on March 5, 2012 - 1:00 am

        Very Helpfull,
        Thanks Million

      • #34 by Hemanth sv on May 20, 2012 - 8:50 am

        Hi! Hemanth
        Is their any norms on considering constants of various loads for independent residential building?
        each span varies from 12′-0″ to 15′-0″

  28. #35 by ali on November 23, 2011 - 12:19 am

    my question is simple how to decide number of columns for a given area of a bldg. what are the simple thumb rules……

  29. #36 by Nazif on November 17, 2011 - 1:21 pm

    Am happy to see you guys, need to learn more from you…

    • #37 by rizwan on February 10, 2012 - 12:28 am

      thank you mam your information

      • #38 by BenzuJK on February 16, 2012 - 4:28 am

        Welcome Rizwan!
        Do keep visiting.

        Cheers 🙂

        • #39 by Adnan ali on June 20, 2012 - 5:19 am

          Mam i have done my diploma but i got some backlogs in dce(diploma in civil engg)

        • #40 by BenzuJK on June 30, 2012 - 4:49 am

          Hello Adnan,
          Now we just hope that whatever doubts and difficulties you have had must be clear now. Do keep visiting the site because this site has been specially designing for Civil engineering and Architecture students.

          Cheers 🙂

  30. #41 by Suresh on September 28, 2011 - 7:46 am


    Thanks for the useful information. I am totally new to this field and I have a couple of queries,

    1. How can I calculate the number of columns required for a building, say a building of two storeys of 2400 sq.ft?

    2. The size of the columns, the column footings size, the steel used in the column etc are dependent on the load on the columns. So should I calculate the total load of the building and distribute the load equally on the number of columns?

    • #42 by BenzuJK on September 30, 2011 - 11:59 pm

      Hello Suresh,
      If you are planning to construct a building, I feel you should consult a qualified Structural engineer.

      For your information, check out these articles. They might help you clear your basics:
      Building Design Guide | Guide to RCC Construction

      • #43 by pratheep on August 5, 2012 - 12:18 pm


        i am constructing my own house with 3 floors.

        i would like to know, is there any spread sheet templates for load calculations (Eg Dead loads , earthquake and wind loads) in online or anywere.

        i can purchase through online also, if available. if you know any reputed sources pls let me know.


  31. #44 by Abdul Raheem on August 27, 2011 - 11:34 pm

    Sir,where can i get a total design material by using it I can design the building. Is there any such site on web please inform me,thanks

  32. #46 by anand on August 24, 2011 - 10:41 am

    i want know the every items work facing in (in site) construction of building and irrigation projects

  33. #47 by Tariq on August 7, 2011 - 11:08 am

    want to learn about steel desighn for RCC slab,beam,foundation column etc

(will not be published)