Wiki helps designers reach for the skies

BESA, Tall buildings

The Building Services Engineering Association (BESA) has launched a ‘wiki’ to help it develop the building-services industry’s first technical guidance and standards for systems in tall buildings. Responding to the surge in demand for detailed information about the specific challenges of designing systems for the growing number of existing and planned high structures, BESA is supported by CIBSE and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) in its aim to capture all the available knowledge on this subject.

Over 200 new high-rise buildings are planned for London alone, so the need for a unified set of technical advice and guidance for architects, engineers, contractors and FMs is clear.

A ‘wiki’ is defined as a web site that provides ‘collaborative modification of its content and structure directly from a web browser. Some are completely open, but the BESA wiki has been created with access permitted only to industry practitioners known to have specialist knowledge in this area. Anyone willing and able to contribute to the process should use the contact link below.

The wiki has been created so that association members with particular experience of working in tall structures can submit their technical knowhow directly into a database that will be continually edited to build up a body of knowledge. The guidance produced by this collaborative process will capture good design principles, define industry best practice and identify all relevant standards, codes and regulations.

For this project, ‘tall’ covers any building where, because of its height, there are specific engineering challenges, changes and additional considerations that go beyond normal practice in order to ensure a safe and efficient system.

The complex and multi-disciplinary nature of these projects means any guidance must be of relevance to the whole construction industry — not just building-services engineers. It will also include new topics that go beyond current building standards and guidance, which tends to be primarily aimed at lower-rise structures.

So far considered are technical issues related to the design and safety of pressure systems, pipework and jointing selection, anchoring and expansion, fire systems (sprinklers and dry risers, large VRF air-conditioning systems, and cold-water services.

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