A reader's General Construction question: Floor requirements?

Sarah H.   from   Derby UK   had this Floor requirements question.

Hi I am a construction/design student and I have been looking for functional requirements for floors and I cant find them anywhere!
I don't know if you will be able to help but I thought I'd try.
Yours thankfully

Bill's reply

Hi Sarah, Functional requirements for floors. (Pause while scratching my head:-)

  1. Engineers design floors to the static load. That is the weight of the floor itself and any walls or built in furniture etc.
  2. Added to that though is the amount of live load that they have to design the floor for. That is the expected amount of people moving about on the floor. This can be fairly small for a house, but quite large for say a nightclub.
  3. I know of one small house balcony collapse that happened when about 40 people crowded onto it.
  4. Industrial floors again have to be designed for the live loads of forklifts, trucks etc.
Floors have to be designed with their particular function in mind.
The use of the room dictates certain other needs of the floor.
  1. For example a bathroom requires floor wastes, waterproofing and then maybe ceramic tiles. To stop moisture spreading into the structure.
  2. A bedroom may require nothing or only carpet.
  3. Rooms used by elderly people are usually designed with no steps in the floor.
  4. There are more and more floors being built with provision for in floor heating. So called energy efficient green floors.
  5. Maybe Derby school has got a gym or basketball court that has a sprung floor. That is the floor itself has give in it. Which gives a springy and far more comfortable feel to it that a traditional solid floor.
  6. So called floating floors are a cheap variation of sprung floors. They are quite cheap and they are not fixed down at all. They sit on an underlay that is usually foam. Again they are softer on the feet than solid floors.
  7. Industrial floors have a lot of money spent on them to provide hard wearing and none slip characteristics.
  8. Hospitals and commercial kitchens etc. have the requirements that they should be easy to clean, and as such they have curved surfaces (coves) at the joint between the wall and floors.

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