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PLUMBING

SYSTEM
DESIGN
Tall Building
Drainage
Society of Public Health
Engineers
4th October 2011

PETER WHITE
PRINCIPAL
HOARE LEA PUBLIC
HEALTH GROUP

CONTENTS
Dispelling Some Common Drainage Misconceptions
What Makes Tall Building Drainage Different?
Design Guidance And How Applicable Is It To Tall Buildings?
Latest Research
Control of Soil Stack Pressure Using Mechanical Devices

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS
Annular flow
Fully developed within 3-5m of
point of entry
Terminal velocity of 3-5 m/s
Water velocity at base
unchanged between 3 and 100
storey building
No requirement for velocity
breaks

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS
Problems can occur at the base
of a stack or at a change of
direction, resulting in blown
trap seals
This is due to increasing air
pressure, not increasing water
velocity

GENERAL DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Pressure falls below atmospheric
immediately below top of stack
Negative pressure increases down
stack due to friction
Further pressure drops where stack is
restricted by branch flows
Below the lowest discharging branch
Pressure increases above atmospheric
at base & can blow out water seals

GENERAL DESIGN PRINCIPLES

The key issue is controlling air pressure, not controlling water
velocity
Foul air is kept within the system via water seal traps, which are
very sensitive to pressure changes
When water is discharged, air is entrained at 8-15 times that
volume
The taller the building, the further the fresh air has to travel and
the resistances generated result in increasing negative pressure
Surcharge will result in large positive pressure transients

DESIGN ISSUES FOR TALL BUILDINGS

For large buildings the traditional method
of controlling pressure fluctuation is the
secondary ventilating stack
BS EN 12056:2 states:
- 100 SVP + 50 VP; Qmax = 7.3 l/s
- 150 SVP + 80 VP; Qmax = 18.3 l/s
- 200 SVP + 100 VP; Qmax = 27.3 l/s
BS makes no reference to maximum
length of vent

DESIGN ISSUES FOR TALL BUILDINGS

HEIGHT OF VENT versus Qmax
As the number of storeys increase, Qmax is likely to increase
As Qmax increases the volume of entrained air increases
As the number of storeys increase, the vent pipe length
increases, so the negative pressure increases
Vent pipes must be correctly sized to reflect building height &
Qmax of connected applications

DESIGN ISSUES FOR TALL BUILDINGS

AVAILABILITY & SUITABILITY OF DESIGN GUIDANCE
Current BS makes no reference to building height
Superseded BS 5572:1994 suggested that a 30 storey
residential block with a 150 SVP & 32 VP has a Qmax of 8.3 l/s
This is less than half the current BS figure of 18.3 l/s (but with
no height limit)

DESIGN ISSUES FOR TALL BUILDINGS

AVAILABILITY & SUITABILITY OF DESIGN GUIDANCE
The Americans have been
constructing skyscrapers for more
than a century

American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) publishes a

design table that relates Qmax to vent pipe size and maximum
length

For the same 30 storey

scenario as the 5572/12056
earlier, US designers are
directed to a 152mm soil
pipe and a127mm vent.

DESIGN ISSUES FOR TALL BUILDINGS

All code guidance is based upon the translation
of steady state empirical data into safe design
guidelines
There is no transparency as to how safe was
judged
The current BS is not robust enough for tall
buildings due to lack of reference to vent length
US guidance addresses vent length but is very
conservative

DESIGN ISSUES FOR TALL BUILDINGS

In 2005, Hoare Lea was
commissioned to design the 48 storey Pan Peninsula project in
London Docklands
Our design response to the various
design guidance available for tall
buildings was to develop a BS/ASPE
hybrid
To verify the venting of this design
we approached Heriot-Watt
University to use their AIRNET
computer simulation to model a
typical stack

LATEST RESEARCH - DESIGN TOOLS OF THE

FUTURE? A BACKGROUND TO AIRNET
AIRNET is a Heriot-Watt University research tool which
came to wider attention when it was used to investigate the
SARS outbreak at Amoy Gardens in 2003
Existing codes are based on steady state flow, but the reality
of a drainage system is that the flows are inherently unsteady
and flow rate, annular downflow thickness, entrained airflow
and suction pressure all vary with time
AIRNET simulates the behaviour of a drainage system over a
predetermined period of time, so it simulates unsteady state
flow

LATEST RESEARCH - DESIGN TOOLS OF THE

FUTURE? A BACKGROUND TO AIRNET
AIRNET models the passive and
active boundary conditions in a
method of characteristics (MoC)
simulation

AIRNET takes these boundary

conditions and the driving
functions which determine
entrained airflow and together
with data entry to describe
the system and the connected
appliances, simulates the
system behaviour

LATEST RESEARCH - DESIGN TOOLS OF THE

FUTURE? A BACKGROUND TO AIRNET

LATEST RESEARCH - DESIGN TOOLS OF THE

FUTURE? A BACKGROUND TO AIRNET
AIRNET is an
research tool; it
is not very user
friendly
AIRNET could
be developed
and distributed
as a design
software package
AIRNET has already been used to develop the control of stack
pressures using mechanical devices in place of secondary vents

CONTROL OF STACK PRESSURES USING

MECHANICAL DEVICES

CONTROL OF STACK PRESSURES USING

MECHANICAL DEVICES

200mm diameter by 750mm long

vented containment vessel
evacuated by negative
pressure of entrained airflow
Positive pressure transient
begins journey back up the
stack
Bladder begins to expand and branch
becomes path of least resistance.
Fully inflates in 0.2 sec

CONTROL OF STACK PRESSURES USING

MECHANICAL DEVICES
allow air to be
entrained at the point
of need (PON)
Positive air pressure
attenuators (PAPA) act as
simple air accumulators to
absorb excess air at PON

CONTROL OF STACK PRESSURES USING

MECHANICAL DEVICES

CONTROL OF STACK PRESSURES USING

MECHANICAL DEVICES

CONTROL OF STACK PRESSURES USING

MECHANICAL DEVICES IS THE UK READY?
Current UK code of practice does not recognise the
use of PAPAs
The PAPA is not BBA approved
Current BBA certification of AAVs limits them to
maximum 10 storey building
The Studor AS/NZS PAPA design guidance is very broad
brush AIRNET modelling would be far better
Public Health Engineers have always been wary of
incorporating mechanical devices into drainage systems

PLUMBING SYSTEM DESIGN

A focus on drainage

Thank You

peterwhite@hoarelea.com