Function Providing Passages For Mechanical And Electrical Services

EVERY building is laced with a three-dimensional web of distribution lines for mechanical and electrical services— ductwork, piping, and wiring for heating, cooling, ventilating, hot and cold water, sewage, fire suppression, electrical energy, illumination, telephones, temperature controls, computer networks, intercommunication systems, antennas, and alarm systems. Almost every existing building has been retrofitted with distribution lines for which it was not originally designed, making it a safe bet that every building that is on the drawing boards today will be called upon in the future to house services that we cannot even imagine. In detailing a building, it is important to work with the designers of the mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and communications systems to furnish passages for the service distribution lines, both present and future, that will run through the building. In most cases, these lines should be comfortably concealed; if they are exposed to view, it should be by design, not by default. Generous spaces should be provided for the lines, with sufficient worker access points and workable interconnections from one plane of distribution to another. This will allow economical installation, maintenance, and future change of the services. It will also avoid having the appearance of the building and its details spoiled by the improvised installation of service systems that its designer and detailer did not anticipate.

To provide a fully three-dimensional network of passages, two detail patterns must be combined:

Vertical Chase (page 98) Horizontal Plenum (page 101)

At each point of intersection between chase and plenum, the various services must have space to make the transition from vertical to horizontal.

Ductwork, piping, and conduits may be exposed in a building rather than concealed in chases and plenums, but this will not necessarily lead to more economical construction. Vertical and horizontal spaces will still have to be reserved for these services, and monev must be allocated for additional design time to lay out neat arrangements of lines, additional installation time to permit a high standard of workmanship, and the cost of painting and finishing the lines.

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