Calculation of loads for Foundation Design | Structural Design

How to calculate the total load on the footing? | Building Construction

This article has been written on the request from my readers. Engineering students generally get confused when it comes to calculating loads for footings. They ask weird and inappropriate questions regarding the load calculations. This is because they haven’t understood what loads are to be calculated when footing/foundation for a building is designed.

Calculation of loads is extremely simple. I hope after reading this article, the queries of many of my readers would get a satisfactory answer.

Four loads are to be considered in order to measure total load on the footing:

  1. Self load of the column x Number of floors
  2. Self load of beams x Number of floors
  3. Load of walls coming onto the column
  4. Total Load on slab (Dead load + Live load)
If you get well versed with load calculations, then calculating the size of the footing and following the procedure for foundation design wouldn’t be a problem.

You are free to ask any further queries you have regarding foundation design.

Check the procedure for Building Foundation design

Also check out: Introduction to Load Calculations


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  1. #1 by Tariq on August 7, 2011 - 11:08 am

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

  2. #2 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

  3. #3 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

  4. #5 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?

    • #6 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

      • #7 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.


  5. #8 by Nazif on November 17, 2011 - 1:21 pm

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

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

      thank you mam your information

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

        Welcome Rizwan!
        Do keep visiting.

        Cheers 🙂

        • #11 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)

        • #12 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 🙂

  6. #13 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……

  7. #14 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

    • #15 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.

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

        Very Helpfull,
        Thanks Million

      • #17 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″

  8. #18 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.

  9. #19 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

  10. #20 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.

  11. #21 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

  12. #22 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

  13. #23 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?

  14. #25 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

  15. #26 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

  16. #27 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?

  17. #28 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. #29 by JUBAYER ISLAM on December 13, 2012 - 8:50 am


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

      design of concrete structure by arthur. H. nilson

  19. #31 by AMITESH on February 4, 2013 - 9:44 pm


    • #32 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.

  20. #33 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

    • #34 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 🙂

  21. #35 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

  22. #36 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?

  23. #37 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

  24. #38 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

  25. #39 by Hussaini Abdullahi on December 12, 2014 - 1:01 pm

    clear and concise information

  26. #40 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.

  27. #41 by Jauwad Alam on May 16, 2015 - 1:55 pm

    Nice for everyone

  28. #42 by sami ct on September 3, 2015 - 1:43 pm

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

  29. #43 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

  30. #44 by Shubhang on October 27, 2015 - 9:34 pm

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

  31. #45 by SNVR NIRANJAN CHOPPAVARAPU on March 17, 2016 - 7:45 am

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

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