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Lack of Design Loads
The highest demands are placed on the stability of a structure such as a stadium, high-rise building or bridge. It may neither collapse nor become unusable during its useful life. The building must also reliably accept all loads that could destroy its structure in any way.
These loads are comprehensibly determined at the beginning of structural planning using so-called design loads: the dead load resulting from the mass of the building is calculated. Depending on the location of the structure, the maximum snow and wind loads are estimated. Earthquake safety is included in planning for threatened areas.
The subsoil of the future structure is sought out on the basis of its load-bearing capacity. In the case of fire, the safe rescue of those affected must be made possible. The structure must withstand the impact of vehicles (for example, a ship). Live loads are then applied; for high-rise buildings, for example, people, furnishings and fixtures; for bridges, standard heavy trucks.
On the basis of the design loads, the static system of the building is chosen and the statics are calculated. Suitable construction materials are selected in order to avoid damage to the building due to usage and environmental influences.
Even with the most careful work, the danger exists of applying incorrect design loads that, in the worst case, can lead to the sudden collapse of the structure.
Compared to a building, even higher demands should be placed on the continued existence of human civilization. However, there are no calculated design loads applied here. It begins directly with planning; for instance, limiting the global temperature increase caused by climate change to 2°C or reducing the use of raw materials through increased efficiency and / or the use of new technologies.
The missing design loads should be applied as quickly as possible so that necessary measures can be comprehensively planned and put into practice, in view of climate change and the limits of global growth.
Just as in structural planning, unfavorable loads should be applied. Heavy loads would be the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, associated with a sudden rise in sea level by up to 7 meters, as well as an increase in the frequency and destructive force of stormy weather.
Additional loads would be the possible escape of fossil methane from the permafrost and continental shelves, an increase in conflicts over raw materials, supply crises, over fishing, harvest losses, diseases and climate refugees.
The design loads must encompass the exponential increase of the loads.
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