Tall buildings –
Diversity through design MATHEW BURKE I ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, ADP CONSULTING
Intelligent MEP services design is integral to the connectivity of cities, as well as the connectivity of the buildings themselves. By moving away from a traditional design approach, it is possible to diversify the origin point of each of the building services and provide a network like a neighbourhood or suburban type arrangement.
Infrastructure drives design
n the great building and infrastructure boom in Australia, there is increasing demand placed on the existing authority infrastructure. Bigger buildings, higher density, more GFA I hear you say? Are all putting upward pressure on the supporting network of power, water , sewer and we won’t mention data connection (maybe another time) It seems as though every feasibility and concept design meeting hinges around the location of the substation, or where the water tanks need to be located. Our architect friends looking to put them way in the back, and the network providers insisting that they all be accessible from the street. The poor old building services engineer is stuck in the middle. Throw into the mix increasingly tall buildings are being developed in ever decreasing land size with even smaller street frontages. For example, the Phoenix apartment building Melbourne by Fender Katsalidis, 29 storey, 88m high and a tiny 6.5m wide. The architectural vision, client yield and authority requirements are too often competing for the same real estate, Often times the ideal location for the substation is also the ideal location for the driveway and the fire booster valve.
Traditionally Building engineers have successfully been designing and building tall buildings using the tried and true method of collocating transformers near main switch boards,
chillers near to cooling towers, pumps next to tanks, locating them all together in the basement and supplying services up the building. It works, its efficient and I for one am not suggesting that our fore fathers have been getting it wrong, but there is a case to think about if differently if we change some of the design assumptions.
So, why bother changing if we don’t need too? I was recently involved in a project in the middle east. This project was originally designed as a 40+ level residential apartment tower with a local engineering firm doing the MEP design. The original MEP design team struggled to come to terms with the scale of the building and unfortunately made the mistake of trying to scale up their small building experience and the design just didn’t work. In true Middle eastern fashion, the structural works kept going to meet the program while a workable MEP solution was redesigned. Ultimately the structure was complete before the original design team could provide a workable solution. That’s where we came in. We were asked to provide solution that could not only deliver MEP services to the project whilst working with the physical contains of the existing structure as well as the legislative constrains of the existing authority approval. Not long after we took over the project, the client informed us that a hotel operator was brought on board and now the project had
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