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Value Engineering – The preconstruction process is where the biggest advantages are gained when trying to value engineer the impact of seismic bracing of non-structural mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) utilities on a project.
With recent code adoptions throughout New Zealand, many design teams are unaware what impact the actual location of the utilities within a buildings design will have to the structure or the amount of bracing required.
According to current building codes, seismic forces are increased as you move up the building closer to the roof. Because of this, an appropriately engineered bracing system must account for this increase in design force (g forces or Fp-horizontal seismic forces) on a floor by floor basis and increasing up the building. As the bracing solution gets closer to the roof, the seismic bracing system will have to compensate for these greater loads. This translates to stronger bracing connections, greater loads to the structure or bracing more often to reduce the loads applied to the structure. In other words, if the mechanical room is located in the penthouse of a building, great consideration must be given to loads imparted on the overhead structure. Typically, if not dealt with up front, costly supplemental steel will be needed to compensate for these unforeseen loads.
Vaico value engineering services. If we deal with issues like this in advance, we suggest relocating the mechanical room or advise the structural engineer of the design forces so he can consider them in his building design, thus removing the need for the supplemental steel and associated change orders.