We present a scheme that utilizes one elastic stress field (no iterations) to compute lower bound limit load multipliers of structures that collapse through gross (or localized) plasticity. A criterion to distinguish between these collapse modes is presented. For structures that collapse through gross plasticity, we demonstrate that the m′ multiplier proposed by Mura (1965, Extended Theorems of Limit Analysis,” Q. Appl. Math., **23 **(2), pp. 171–179) is a lower bound in the context of deformation theory. For structures that undergo plastic localization at collapse, we present a criterion that identifies (approximately) the subvolumes of the structure that participate in the collapse. Multiplier *m*′ is computed over the selected subvolumes, denoted as $m'S$, and demonstrated to be a lower bound multiplier in the context of deformation theory. We consider numerical examples of structures that collapse by localized or gross plasticity and show that our proposed multiplier is lower than the corresponding multiplier obtained through elastic–plastic analysis and the proposed multiplier is not overly conservative.