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Industrial Building Services & Utilities

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In the first article of the series on Industrial Architecture published earlier, S. K Nandi, Partner & Principal Consultant at C P Kukreja Associates had deliberated on the development process of industrial architecture in India. Some of the key elements elaborated were site selection, master planning, framing of design guidelines, building and material specifications and construction methodologies.

The second part highlights the significance of building utility services in an industrial project, defined by the acronym MEP services (Mechanical utilities, Electrical and Plumbing services). The services encompass a large number of utilities wherein, the mathematical calculations come under the purview of engineering design. The architect is responsible for broad design parameters of utilities focusing on their integration with an industrial building for efficient functioning and aesthetics.

An industry can function only when different utility services are fully installed and connected to the production equipment. It is also important to recognize that utility services in an industrial complex can cost as much as the building itself, if not more. The architect or his utility consultant should therefore prepare a Design Basis Report (DBR) of the MEP services at the beginning of this assignment outlining the specifications (in terms of quality and quantity)along with preliminary cost. This report must, in all fairness be vetted by the client if he wishes, by a third party specialist. The entire MEP services scheme (preliminary drawings, specifications and budgetary cost estimate) must be approved and signed off by the client or his nominated representative as a token of acceptance. This is a must before the consultant proceeds to develop further the design of utility services to avoid large scale modifications at later stages.

It is important for the architect and consultant to realize that the utilities required for a particular project must be identified in term of quality and quantity at the beginning of the project. To be specific, the design of various utilities should be started early alongwith the building design so that these are integrated in a harmonious manner with the building structure.

Plumbing Design

Plumbing services involve the design of entire spectrum of wet services, both internal and external of an industrial complex. These include:

• Roof drainage system

• External plumbing services (water supply, sewerage, storm water disposal system, ETP/STP and water harvesting scheme)

• Internal and external firefighting system.

Design of Roof Drainage: The basic principle is to have no down take rainwater pipe inside shop floor. Floor drains cannot be permitted inside the factory for disposal of rainwater. In many large industrial structure with a roof as large as 200m X 200m, it is possible to provide a rainwater disposal system entirely at roof level without providing a single downtake pipe inside the building. Japanese clients in India prefer roof structure and sheeting with a single slope without intermediate gutters. With site profiling, it is possible now-a-days to provide slope as gentle as 1:50 for precoated sheet roofing without joints. Therefore, even in buildings with roof as large as 200m wide, the height of roof structure needs to be 2m permitting easy flow of rainwater to the sides.

Alternately, the rainwater can be disposed off from the roof surface through a series of valley gutters and horizontal pipes running just under roof structure to periphery of the building for downtake disposal. It is important to note that the gutter depth and width should be designed for maximum average yearly rainfall over a period of 50 years. Further, the gutters must be in 3mm thick aluminum, so that the individual lengths of gutters can be easily buttwelded providing a smooth surface for flow of water. GI gutters should be avoided since welding the gutter lengths even with splice plates would result the surface losing the galvanized coating and turning into mild steel sheet. This in turn will lead to corrosion of gutter surface making it ineffective over a period of time.

The concrete roofing of industrial structure is constructed with a gentle slope either in one direction or in opposite directions (between 1:30 to 1:50) towards the periphery. Peripheral gutters in concrete as an integral part of the roof structure is provided to carry the rainwater towards either end of the building where vertical downtake pipes are provided for final disposal of rainwater into the storm water system.

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