Engineering FAQs


11.3.1. What is a fire load? Where do fire loads primarily come from in buildings?

Fire loads account for all combustible building contents including furnishings, equipment, as well as combustible construction components. Normally, most of the fire load in a building results from contents that have been introduced after the construction is complete. The fire load is usually expressed in terms of the so-called “wood-equivalent” weight of combustible building contents per unit building floor area (e.g., in psf). The actual weight of combustible contents is adjusted to the wood-equivalent weight based on the estimated potential heat of contents normalized to the potential heat of wood (8000 Btu/lb). Alternatively, the fire load could be expressed in terms of the potential heat of building contents per unit building floor area (e.g., Btu/ft2).

last modified 25 March 2003