On April 10, 2019, the City of Chicago issued an announcement that the City of Chicago will have the first comprehensive revisions to the building code in 70 years and will make construction in Chicago more affordable and sustainable by expanding options to design and build with a wider range of materials and technologies.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions from our architectural clients. While the question seems straightforward on the surface, the answer depends on a myriad of critical factors. Everything from building materials to climate zone location – including the structure's orientation to the sun – has a dramatic effect on insulation requirements.
Having hot water available at any time is something we don’t even think about – until the water runs cold. Ever try to finish a shower or rinse dishes when the hot water runs out? While there are a variety of ways to ensure a steady supply of hot water for residential and business use; two of the most common methods are via tank and tankless water heaters – each with their own pros and cons.
Gas fired equipment requires a continuous air flow in order to support the combustion process. Ventilation for gas fired equipment is the process of replacing the air necessary for proper equipment operation. The amount of ventilation provided must equal or exceed the air flow demands for all of the gas fired equipment within a structure. The requirements for combustion and dilution air for gas-fired appliances shall be in accordance with the Fuel Gas Section of the Florida Building Code.
With the recent land falling of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, many coastal and low lying areas have received wide spread water damage to many residential and commercial facilities electrical systems. This has not only resulted in damaged/destroyed electrical equipment but has posed an electrical shock hazard that has been a contributing factor to the loss of human life due to submerged electrical equipment and wiring. Before any evaluations or inspection are preformed the electrical current should be removed from the equipment and tested to insure that it has truly been de-energized.
In September, the Chicago City Council approved a large number of changes to the Chicago Building Code. The most sweeping modifications are those made to the Electrical Code. It will now incorporate the National Electrical Code, 2017 edition, which is the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection used throughout the United States.
Plumbing chases are critical in the design and installation of plumbing piping and plumbing fixtures. Maintaining minimum space requirements is usually over looked in the initial design of most projects and must be added during the project review with the architects.
When hazardous gases accumulate, in small spaces, and reach high enough concentrations they may become a respiratory health hazard, lead to a fire event or in some cases an explosion. Gas detection plays an important role in providing safety to the public, as well as protecting public and personal property. It may be necessary for the design engineer to investigate a variety of monitoring, detection and ventilation systems to meet the requirements of the many different facilities that may need these types of application.
As the thought of conserving water continues to increase more people are looking for ways to reduce the wasteful use of potable water. Over the past 25 years we have seen how effective the code-mandated low-flow faucets and showerheads as well as low flush rate toilets and urinals have been in reducing potable water consumption. An effective way to reduce the strain on potable water resources is by using alternative non-potable sources of water to flush toilets and urinals.
The 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) has seen a reduction in interior lighting power allowances for all occupancies as listed in Table C405.5.2(1). The reduction of these allowances (measured as watts per square foot) has necessitated the specification of more energy efficient luminaires, and LED lamps in projects. Older lamp types, such as fluorescent and incandescent, are unable to meet the stricter guidelines set out in the 2015 IECC.
This code memorandum clarifies and puts into writing to all designers, installers, and inspectors what the City of Chicago requirements are for gas piping. The items noted in the memorandum incorporate the National Fuel Gas Code, along with industry standards for gas piping installation inside of a building.
Florida Power & Light currently provides business rebates that apply to five (5) types of energy efficient Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. The types of equipment include new and retrofit installations of chillers, direct expansion (DX) systems, Energy Recovery Ventilation Systems (ERV’s), Demand Control Ventilation (DCV), and Thermal Energy Storage (TES).
Fire pump systems are typically employed when the water source used for firefighting requires an additional boost in pressure to meet the needs of a fire sprinkler and/or standpipe system. When it is determined that a fire pump system is required for a building, there are a number to things the design team should consider for placing of the system.
Any design engineer who has worked on a LEED certified building would tell you the most difficult phase of the process might be developing the energy model calculation. This calculation - which is required for LEED certification at any level - can help guide the architect and design engineers through the certification process, making everyone’s job easier. However, in order for that to happen, the energy model calculation has to be developed early in the process, and it has to be done carefully. Otherwise, the complexity of the energy modeling process makes cost overruns, rework and confusion much more likely.
The decision to provide an emergency power supply system for your project will necessarily require distinct considerations by the entire project design team. An emergency power supply system (EPSS) consists of a standby engine-generator unit (genset), automatic transfer switch(s) (ATS’s) and associated switchgear (circuit breakers and disconnects).
Unprotected HVAC heat exchangers, radiators, condensing unit coils and fans exposed to salt air, corrosives or acid rain will begin to oxidize within the first few months of operation. Corrosive attack typically starts at the copper tube-aluminum fin interface on the coil design and at the header extrusion connection causing thermal performance to decline swiftly. Performance decreases of up to 30% within 6 months are not unusual.
Facilities with commercial kitchens, such as restaurants, schools etc. that produce grease-laden waste are required to have this effluent treated by an approved grease removal device before it is discharged into the utility/public sewer system. State and local mandates on grease interception are due to the costly impact that grease-laden waste (free floating fats, oils and grease) may have on public utility sewer systems, from pipe clogs to burned out pump motors at pumping stations.
During the construction phase ductwork installation related setbacks, delays and added costs can be avoided when proper consideration is given to above ceiling coordination during the design phase. All too often architects, designers and engineers take for granted the amount of space needed above the ceiling for ductwork, lighting, fire protection and plumbing piping. However, when it comes to the reality of construction they find it’s a field coordination nightmare.
Many energy efficient HVAC control strategies have been incorporated into the new 2014 Florida Building Code and can be referenced in the 2014 Energy Conservation Volume Chapter 4. Two (2) control strategies have been implemented that require hydronic systems greater than or equal to 300,000btuh (25-tons) be provided with part load controls...
Ultraviolet (UV) light has been growing as part of the HVAC landscape for years, specifically within the indoor air quality (IAQ) arena. As the technology has evolved, organizations and associations have strived to prove its effectiveness through research and a series of studies.