Helipad Structural Design

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The International Building Code (IBC) governs helipad structural design. Section 1607.6 Helipads of the IBC Code provides detailed design guidance.

Helipad Live Load Design

The uniform live load of a helipad depends on the weight of the helicopter. IBC code splits the helipad into two weight categories, <= 3,000 pounds and >3,000 pounds. Specific codes references and as follows:

IBC 1607.6.1.1. The live load shall be considered as 40psf (1.92 kN/m^2) where the design basis helicopter has a maximum takeoff weight of 3,000 pounds (13.35kN) or less.

IBC 1607.6.1.2 The live load shall be considered as 60psf (2.87 kN/m^2) where the design basis helicopter has a maximum take-off weight greater than 3,000 pounds or less.

Single Concentrated Load

Helipad structural design must account for concentrated live loads in accordance with IBC 1607.6.2. and IBC 1607.6.3.

IBC 1607.6.2. A single concentrated live load, L, of 3,000 pounds (13.35 kN) applied over an area of 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches (114 mm by 114 mm) and located so as to produce the maximum load effects on the structural elements under consideration. The concentrated load is not required to act concurrently with other uniform or concentrated live loads.

IBC 1607.6.3. Two single concentrated live loads, L, 8 feet (2438 mm) apart applied on the landing pad (representing the helicopter’s two main landing gear, whether ski type or wheeled type), each having a magnitude of 0.75 times the maximum take-off weight of the helicopter, and located so as to produce the maximum load effects on the structural element under consideration. The concentrated load shall be applied over an area of 8 inches by 8 inches (203 mm by 203 mm) and are not required to act concurrently with other uniform or concentrated loads

Heli-Pad Visual Representation

Visual representations of helipads are further detailed in IBC 1607.6.

IBC 1607.6 Landing areas designed for a helicopter with maximum take-off weight of 3,000 pounds (13.35 kN) shall be identified with a 3,000 pound (13.34 kN) weight limitation. The landing area weight limitation shall be indicated by the numeral “3” (kips) located in the bottom right corner of the landing area as viewed from the primary approach path. The indication for the landing area weight limitation shall be a minimum 5 feet (1524 mm) in height.