What is Point Load?
Definition of Point Load in Construction
An established load ( force ), located at a certain point on a supporting structure. This is opposite a uniform load, which is a force evenly distributed along a supportive structure.
The bottom of a column presents a point load on a structure. A block wall represents a uniform load along a supporting structure. A unanticipated point load ,if not properly designed for, can cause failure of a structure, as well as significant damage. A good example of a point load that is not anticipated, is the sliding of a roof load of snow off the pitched roof onto a flat roof. This situation would cause a point load created by the pile of snow, and if heavy enough could cause failure in the structure. The influence of hurricanes or earthquakes can shift the designed loading of a structure. If there is a shifting of forces that produce an unexpected point load on a structural component, not designed to withstand the force, failure will occur. Point loads can also occur if a crane collapses on a construction site or a loaded concrete truck travels onto the wrong structural support. Point loads, not anticipated, are in many cases the cause of structural failures.