Technological building

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For the creation of this essay we have to thank to unofficial conversation, on the street, somewhere in the spring of war year 1994, between Prof.Dr.Budjevac and myself. That meeting resulted in a preliminary agreement that I shall prepare a 2- or 4- hour explanation for the end year students of Belgrade CE Faculty, Metal Structure division, on a subject of technology houses design. Preparing for this report took much more time, than I expected, and a concept enlarged to an essay, a book, about a life of technology buildings designer.

For what is said and let in this text the greatest thanks should be given to Mr. Vladimir Krajnovic, BCE (+1997), Belgrade industrial design legend, and also, his and mine colleges from “Masinoprojekt” Steel Building Design Office, Mr. Dusan Sinadinovic BCE and Mr. Ljuba Matic BCE. All three of them have always given thanks for all their knowledge to Mr. Marko Radojkovic BCE (+), the one who founded The Masinoprojekt steel design school. Mr. Radojkovic, on the other hand, has given all thanks to his German education, work in German offices in 30-ies and, later, as a war prisoner. Who did Germans learn from, we don’t know, but we realize: the only way to get some new knowledge is to get it from someone else.

Also I have to mention precious experiences from “Energoprojekt” Thermal & Nuclear Power Plant Engineering, Structure Design Office, and especially Mr. Jovan Markovic BCE, great designer, which had achieved a profitable combination of skills: good knowledge of thermal stations and the need to simplify things.

Personally, I cant omit mentioning my father, also well known designer, Mr. Jovan Bajic BCE (+), who thought me that technique can’t be separated from policy, trade and psychology, and also my mother, Mrs. Dragica CE Technician, that has been, for years, a live example to me, how endless patience and precision could have been.

Belgrade 1998,                                                                                                             Author


1.1.  Introduction

A great part of Civil Engineering is technology building. Under this term we assume industrial buildings in:

·        Mining, daylight mining & raw materials treatment

·        Iron & coloured metallurgy

·        Thermal & electrical power supply & long distance heating

·        Chemistry & technology

·        Traffic & transportation

·        Food production, and in lower part

·        Metal, electronics, textile and other fine industries.

The same approach should be also used for the design of ships, hotels, hospitals etc., but they don’t depend directly to civil engineering, so we wouldn’t discuss them this time.

Why should we need heavy industries at all, at the time of minimalisation and micronisation? First of all: to make enough of employment and profit for us, Civil Engineers, and also, other building workers. As a second reason: all the governments in the world have nice speeches for a small business, but never stop helping heavy industries in a world fight: heavy industries a state stabile – having no own steel and other strategic products, a country is a target of blackmails: to buy expensive and to send own self for a chip price.

1.2.  What is technology building?

What is a technological building? It is a part of a complex, doing certain chemical or a physical change to a product. Sometimes it is unbelievable how endless factory, with a large number of divisions, chimneys, and towers – realises just a small chemical formula from the school board?! But it is much harder to be done in reality, than on the table. Continuity of process is to be forced, appropriate temperature, quality and prepare of raw materials mist be set, supply of gasses and cathalisators, transportation of finished items to a next phase of treatment, collecting of odd materials. A process to be done in a technology complex, it is necessary to co-ordinate the function of more dozens technology units. One technology unit is usually placed in one technology building, but not necessarily.

What makes technology building different from a house? A lot of things: as a house mostly covers some function, sometimes supported by a roof crane, technology building is a skeleton and leather of an organism. It contains some of these systems:

  • Transportation systems (railway, road traffic, harbor, reload platforms, transportation belts, reddlers & elevators, pneumatic & other means of transportation), that bring raw and secondary materials and bring out the products of work,
  • Energy supply, that distributes coal, gas, steam, high voltage power, comprised air etc.,
  • Technology equipment doing or supporting the main process,
  • Odd material expiration and recycle systems,
  • Storages of: raw materials, energents, finished products, extra products and odd materials, interphase buffers (to amortize the discoordination between import and expedition of mentioned materials)
  • Transportation systems, equipment (cranes, vehicles) and roads: for the inspection, service and repairing, as we deal with expensive processes and equipment that should never pause,
  • Information systems of commanding and supervising of the process,
  • Rooms for crew: such a production needs small amount of human work, as it assumes endless quantities of materials, subject to a relatively simple mechanical treatment, with continuous presence of poisoned and dangerous materials. Employees lead and control the process from the commanding room, do the continuous and periodic inspection and service of equipment, act on accidents and, for the serious service – stop the process.
  • Present workers’ life and health save, and expensive equipment save systems, such as: fire & accident sensors, alarming system, fire-safety systems, water expiration pumps, evacuation lines, air cleaning & conditioning,
  • Telecommunications’ systems of: interphone, telephone, mobile phones, sounding, that are used for the coordination between distanced workers by process leading, service and repair, accident, and however – for private messages,
  • Surrounding protection systems: that clean liquid, gas & hard material to the level that the surrounding can stand,
  • And, in some way – the last thing – rooms for making the crew life easier: tea kitchens, toilets, dressing and bathrooms, rest rooms. A work in these sort of production is boring, no one comes, no one goes, so that workers have to shorten the time with something: watch TV, refresh themselves, cook something by night, when central kitchen is off, or lid down, if there is no job at the moment. Workers are mostly peasants, constantly tired and sleepy.

It is not necessary, in many cases, to collect all above functions in one building. Some of them may be centralized somewhere else, and only their branches may reach where needed (e.g.: electricity, comprised air, water cleaner, or, why not – the day coffee kitchen!?).

1.3.  Building, equipment & installations

Systems are divided to a: building, equipment and installations. This is a very free share, and it would mean this:

  • BUILDING is bearing structure, with roof, covers and walls, rooms and foundations, and also: basic light, crew heating, water supply and plumbing out of technology, eventually air-conditioning,
  • EQUIPMENT consists of plants and engines in a close or direct connection with a production process: furnaces (high, rotation, flame…), fireplaces, turbines, reactors, colons, ventiles, pipelines & sharers, mixers, mills, mass measurer, transportation means, platforms, cranes, electrical power supply equipment, fire-protection equipment, technology water supply & plumbing etc, etc…
  • INSTALATIONS are, in fact, secondary systems: power supply distribution, telephony and telecommunications, computer MCC, fire & accident sensors, technical gasses distribution etc.

Depending on finance conditions, some item settles easy from structure to equipment, from equipment to installations, so that nothing is to make us wander. It is, perhaps, honest to say: the building is what is designed by Civil Engineers and Architects, equipment is given by Engineers and Technologists, sometimes Electricians, and installation is given by electricians, firemen, etc.

2.      Why design?

2.1.  Reason for design

All above systems are to be designed so that they can be made and mounted, to be put to work and to work properly. To manage this, main designs for each system is to be done, to be inspected by the bank and security offices, as well as from state inspectorities. For some more important 100 main designs are easy to be collected (say we have 20 buildings, each with 10-15 designs and documents, than it is 300 items!) The team of engineers and technicians of that specialty do each design – great design companies have got special offices for each of them. On the basis of main design contract for the mounting or building between investor and engineering Compton is made, and detailed documentation is to be done, and from the detailed documentation companies develop technical prepare documentation for production, building or mounting.

2.2.  Getting a job

Investor finds a need of some investment, or certain profit shows as possible, or working and ecology conditions are to be made better. A need is directly dependent on the available investment that can be made, or it can be said: we shall solve the problem for what there is money to be spent. Thus, neither need nor solution is possible to be defined by unspecialized person.

For that reason preliminary design is to be done: possible solutions are sketched, and their cost/value ratio is examined, until the best one is chosen as idea solution. For making idea solution, concept of design aim, collect necessary documentation – a designer is needed, often a lot of them. Some (rare) investors have got their specialized investments offices (sometimes very bad, but unconscious of own low quality) For the rest of them – their old designers finish preliminary design, often for no money – this step of investment is considered as the entrance to paid jobs. Anyway, until the problem isn’t clearly set, and preliminary cost/value calculated, it is delicate for the investor to ask any money from directors, or from anyone else. “What for, how much, and why?” is to be answered (in a sketch), before any money is asked. The result of these activities is the paper, called Design Aim.

I had an extremely clear aim from an investor: “There is 1 German mark, I want 1.10!”

Design aim is now a very clear document, defining the problem and the direction of solving it. Idea solution, detailed map, present state documentation, public offices conditions etc. may be attached to the Design Aim. This is the basis for asking former design offer.

In common case investor should advertise the concourse for idea and main designs, opened for design companies with their offers. Ask for offer may be also sent to well-referenced companies. Offer consists of prices, terms, eventually penalties, conditions and the dynamics of paying, list of engaged designers with their references, company reference list, proof for the capital guaranty, list of documentation designers need, and also some special advantages, mostly kept secret.

According to offers, designer is chosen. Except of the offer there are also other important facts that influence the choice: preliminary investor’s experience with the offerer, (un)saved trust, contractor’s glory (positive or negative), his real abilities (which is investor to find out), personal sympathies and guaranties, psychological mechanisms, which are to be caught, influences and good will of investors, as well as undefined influences – which are to be respected very often!

2.3.  Sorts of designs

In a short way said: main design shows how is it to look, and detailed design – how to make it to look like it has to? Main design is the basis for contracting and getting building permit from the state offices and from the bank and security companies, and it has to contain all the dimensions and data necessary for the mentioned purposes.

There is a difference between us, and some great states’ building. There is instead of main design – technical design done. This design is somewhere between the idea and main design. Technical doesn’t give too many details about the solution; thus it doesn’t force certain offers. Building company, on the other hand, after getting a contract, makes work documentation, directly from technical design, and adapts it to own needs and abilities.

As the main designs are very large, and ask a lot of time to be done, they are not useful for co-ordination between specialties. Co-ordination must be done in a reasonable time, which, depending on a cost of a project, should not exceed 6 months (except for state investments, where politicians bring the key decisions). Co-ordinating idea designs, designers have to answer in a time: whether so concepted building is possible to be done at all (may be not?!) and for what money and time? Idea architecture & structure design contains: structure system with foundation concept and main dimensions of elements, sketched stability check, disposition of rooms and openings, final coatings and external façade, as well as rich technical explanation and very precise quantity survey.

It should be great, if one specialist, of general profile, should make the skeleton of idea design for all important specialties. In that case many bad things should be omitted: wars of prouds, hiding innocence, or what is the worse – when someone doesn’t know how much he doesn’t know. House should get unique line, spirit, idea and concept, which would pass through all the specialties. It wouldn’t be possible that, at a time> civil engineer chooses rough and simple solution with chain, next to him air-condition engineer chooses wireless command, one specialty carries of price, other of long-live for building, third – to set a profit to dear friends, fourth – to promote own self into a science…

2.4.  Designers aim

You are expected to bring a sketched plan of the building on a basis of someone’s idea solution (one day – Yours) to other specialties. They shall do the same, so in second circle, with new information, got in a meantime, and other specialties suggestions, opinions and conditions – a much better plan will arise, that may be like idea design. Having confirmed idea design, (and having no bad luck – that someone has forgotten one turbo-engine, or haven’t noticed bad ground quality, or realizes too late that there shouldn’t get any earth-gas) You have done the most important part of a design. Afterwards it is easy! Having concept of bearing structure, covering and foundations, having clear loads, defined seismicity and load capacity of ground, and defined area functions – a work becomes a routine.

If anything in the investment building needs teamwork, it must surely be at technology buildings. There is a dozen specialties closed in a small and limited area, with limited finances abilities and terms and, however, with maximalised expectations. A crush happens in many aspects, but we feel mostly the problem of free space. Others carry about power resources, available finances, but we are punished by lack of space. As these buildings are usually built inside existing complexes, and a wish starts with available space – to grow, during the preliminary, design to a double, it is clear that the battle for millimeters must go on. Of course, in a well lead team – each problem will be solved, but you won’t be always in a team with good leader.

2.5.  Procedure

First condition for successfully finished design and, later also building, is to start in time. There isn’t neither simple nor naiv problem, and it can’t be designed from the office, and in some theoretical period. So you have to:

  • Review all available designs of the same or similar buildings and consult their designers – there is an information mine!
  • Find related literature (CE, Machine Engineering), I don’t believe everything is read during the studies?!
  • Visit existing buildings of similar type, detaily review theirs’ designs, built state, problems during building – investment director should have known that, good and bad performances in a use – according to the experience of a technical manager, service chief, group chief – until the last man somewhere in plumbing,
  • Detaily examine technology process and its power- and engine realization, as well as the rest specialties problems,
  • Start preliminary design with basis plans, and discuss them with all (significant) members of project, make the stability and cost check of any circulating idea. Solve parallel, at the same time: disposition plan, possible structure system, as well as critical structural and architectural details,
  • Collect, from the designers, investor and building specialties – their wishes and find out what is there real and possible,
  • Plot equipment, transportation lines and, if possible, installations,
  • Plot in 3D, coloured,
  • Ask from investor (in offer papers), and look out in own archive:

·        Ground plans, with existing state of houses, traffic lines, etc.,

·        Existing state designs of surrounding buildings,

·        Make a plan (even a sketch) of the things, missing in existing documentation,

·        Find geodetic charts of existing buildings and equipment,

·        Complete underground installations map,

·        Get the conditions of local public companies,

·        Make photos of the locality from a dozen points,

·        Order rows digging to find out the real existing state of underground installations and foundations,

·        Find geomechanical results from near borings, draw geotecnical profiles, make a concept of foundation and a list of necessary geotechnical examinations,

·        Collect the CE conditions from other specialties. Equipment foundation and bolt plan get directly from prospects (don’t allow interfaces), find out the height, rigidity and mass center of the equipment, as well as seismic effects of contained liquid in it. If necessary, contact the manufacturer of the equipment; also watch some similar one in a use.

·        Mark on the field axis and height lines of the future house and equipment; draw on existing buildings the position of future doors, passes and all significant items – to prevent unpleasant surprises tomorrow, during erection,

·        Find, at investor’s, at building company and at own company, assured assistants, that know, want and can,

·        Make visits to investor become a pleasant: find out the optimal transport, solid hotels, food and phone services, make afternoons interesting (friends, tourist attractions, museums, restaurants, laptop, never read books) in order to make this visit a synonym for a pleasance.

This list asks plenty of time and energy, but you’ll never have them enough. Behaving in this way, You’ll often get in a position to understand college’s problem better than he will – and for that you’ll have extra problems. Also You’ll gonna happen (because of better understanding the complexity of a problem) to get the leadership from the formal leader, what will bring You extra-extra mess. In this sort of design there aren’t many Civil Engineers put to be the leaders; mostly they are Machine or Technology Engineers, but they have studied one easier, or non-technical faculty; and some things they don’t realize perfect. But, about proud and jealousy we shall talk later – when you get a job!

There is one more thing to be said: such buildings are, in a great world, NOT designed. They only need to adapt the former one to satisfy the advanced technology, or have some innovations. When is the first produced? – I suppose, while we were fighting with Turks, 500 years ago?! Great companies, equipment suppliers, have got stable programs, whether they product thermal power plants, asphalt bases or dentist’s chairs – they offer the palette of “ready to export” solutions for different capacities. But we shall hardly get free from such a type of design: our equipment suppliers will surely never offer some serious products, import will always be expensive to us, our small investors – oh they are far away from paying world intelligence; so we shall be forced to do the same – to manage with sticks and chains!

But, even the devil isn’t so black as it is painted: having no need for such a kind of design, developed countries have lost that kind of designers. It results in a fact that their solutions are mostly without soul, without personality, never gracious, based on a force, and sometimes unbelievably old-fashioned! It is clear that they are not the produce of one man or a school, but they done for the salary: it seems that there a designer can stand up from the desk, or die, and anyone skilled, may sit down and continue his work. In spite of this, in whole world there is a need for a complex design, our experts have got a nice chance to send theirs intelligence, or even themselves…


3.1.  Technology building conditions

3.1..1.    Technology process importance

We have said everything until now, but let’s repeat: technology building is an organism, containing, except of the equipment that produces the main process, also the equipment for helping and forcing that process, and also: bearing skeleton, transport lines, evacuation and inspection corridors, systems for commanding, supervisory, alarm and self-protection of men, equipment and – the process! Most expensive thing in such a building is – the process. Everything may happen, only the process can’t pause. First of all: these are processes whose start asks a month or more (preheating of thermal power plant), and need the same time to be stopped. Once started, they don’t stop e.g. in 5 years (high furnaces). Second reason: a lot of finances is there in the extremely expensive equipment and a raw material stock and spare parts stock, so interests eat what is to be eaten, no meter it works – or not! Third important reason is: that the visible process is only a part of a long produce chain, leading across few continents; if it stops, a dozen factories in our country stop too, and in a world – they find better supplier, until he misses. And something more: very often we don’t realize the purpose of this production, maybe most important use is for something that we don’t need to know.

So, from the former paragraph it is clear: it mustn’t stop! Realizing the participation of investment in a final price (8% at electricity), and the house and structure in that (10 to 20%, means 0.8% to 1.6% in final price) we’ve got to think firmly before we decide to use thinner members. We save from 1.6% to 1.59%, but we risk an accident that would cost 15%. Certainly, this is not an invitation for spending steel, (as the competition never sleeps – it waits for the chance to make us dull), but it is an invitation to a rationality.

3.1..2.    Building working conditions

It is almost a rule that these buildings work in a heavy duty conditions of: chemical corrosion due to the aggression of gasses, liquids, condenses and spoiled materials; high temperature and humidity; mechanical damages; endless repairs and adaptations that follow the advance of the process and equipment, intervencies on the process expansion; and unexpected cutting, and later supportings in order to repair some vital miracle in a time, and relatively safe. Wherever possible – heavy trucks, dampers and locomotives are left to pass through the building; also transport systems, gas lines etc.

3.1..3.    A look of a typical technology building

There are the differences between companies, but some common view of such house would look like this: mountains of some black (red, white, yellow) granules, where is hidden our target, cut on 100 places during some remounts, but not repaired later. There is a cable transport line, abandoned 30 years ago, but its baskets still hang on the wind. Hydraulic transportation made underground rooms full of mud until the level of ±0.00; it would have been even more if there weren’t entrance door, where you get in across some brick blocks and near dirty WC.

In a commanding room a few red-eye, unshaved cowboys support the head, shoving nice manners to the guys from the capital, and also because they know that theirs chiefs follow “capitals”. These granule mountains continue inside the building too. There is a heart of the building at the level 5.00, reached from the roof crane, and there are surrounding galleries. The base of the building is 12x20m, 20m high, with 4 floors. A raw transporter passes through the levels, also some chimneys, colons of furnaces or maybe reactors.

Along the main vertical axis (because the building is visibly vertically oriented) there is a staircase and an elevator out of duty, high and low voltage cable closets, water piping, heavy oil piping, comprised air pipeline, and earth-gas piping, fresh air channels, corridor for the elevation of the equipment, monorails and cranes for mounting, raw transportation systems and produce smoke expiration. Everything remains very much to a physiological show of a  hand, a scull or a stomach, except it is occupied by the mentioned dust so much that you can ski on the stairs, and get lost on floors.

On a floor you happen to be easily poisoned by a smoke (SO2 or something alike), so you run to a dirty window, paying no attention to anything else except oxygen, and if it is closed (one man has no strength to open a window in such a place) – you broke a glass with anything you have got. What would one have done if  he hadn’t find oxygen at broken window? Jump, I suppose, a panic cant be understood until it happens!

3.1..4.    Locality

A building is placed in a complex, dated between 2 great wars, or earlier, it is pushed into a complete as a camel into a pin: where we need new equipment – a hand cant be put, everything is used; where there is some space – it is to far away of technology chain, and it won’t function well. So, building is to be made in some yard, or on the dock, surrounded from all sides by old gray buildings, where the process goes on. Investor’s conditions are:

  • Not to cut some installation from a wood of known and unknown underground and off-ground installations,
  • Neither to stop a process in neighbor buildings, nor to influence badly on it with dust or vibrations,
  • Investor’s 150t trucks, trains, transport belt and a few high voltage lines must pass easily through the yard, during building,
  • Technology and building, which are to be put in the yard, will exceed the yard about 10 meters in each direction, but above mentioned processes and corridors shouldn’t be touched,
  • It is preferred to cost low, better nothing, to be realized partly by profiles abandoned 10 years ago, during some reconstruction, design to be cheep and finished in 3 weeks.

Later, as the design goes on and on, investor and other members start to realize how project is getting greater and greater, how some conditions are expensive and/or unreal. As cheaper solution is expected, as more expensive design will be, and results less predictable. This is a moment of truth, when investor and his assistants say goodbye to a cheep, fast and spectacular solution – and open their eyes for the reality. Sometimes it is suggested not to hurry.

4.2.  Loadings

The bearing structure accepts the following loads:

  • Selfweight, that is almost insignificant,
  • Snow and wind loads, that are usually not dangerous, except for the roof, vertical rigid members and anchor bolts,
  • Weight of the cladding and the floor concrete plate, which can influence to the forces in members and foundations,
  • During the erection (easier, but moving)
  • Empty (significant for neighbor span, for anchor-bolts)
  • During control filling (extreme load)
  • Working weight (for standard stability check)

·        Equipment loads. There are:

·        Equipment weight

·        Thermal dilatations, which can be periodic, with or without histeresis. Thermal changes cause not only continuos dilatation of the equipment, but also the unexpected raises from the supports and overloading of neighbor supports,

·        Dynamic equipment forces, that can be very important, also with eventual histeresis. There are certain shuts and crashes, which can’t stand in any theory.

It is easy with mills and steam hammers: there is the manufacturer to propose what foundations he wants. It is much heavier with the equipment, principally quiet, but having continuous vibrations that change the quality of the ground soil and structure materials. Also, certain engines have got a small moving mass and high frequencies, but in starting and turning off they interfere with many structure tons,

·        Compound work of equipment and structure, here is a plenty of bad solutions, because: while Machine engineers suppose our structure as endlessly rigid, we suppose their equipment to be endlessly soft,

·        Seismic behavior of the equipment, depending on much factors.

Different from the structure, equipment is designed empirically (try & error), and there isn’t a lot information about its behavior. What is its structure system, how it stands raised temperatures, what is that inside making “pang-pang”? Suppliers often just smile, having no answer, except that nobody died of it. We have to understand that the stability isn’t quite Machinery’s space, and that Electricians and technologists do not belong there at all! So, with all respect they deserve, we must check their information and make own conclusions. Especially pay attention to an inspection/working load ratio, center mass level, as well as used/total level area – sometimes it isn’t the same.

These colleges do not always know what to bring us as theirs conditions, and it would be the best if they gave us their equipment plan and explain in what positions it can be changed. They are not familiar with occasional loads, moving loads and linked forces, they don’t quite understand the difference between concentrated and area load, and if they give us a line load, surely make some mistake or copy from foreign prospects!

E.g. they ask the bearing capacity of suspended ceiling of 50kg/m2. They mean that they have, here and there some piece, of 50 kg weight, not more that one at 1m2, so load is calculated to 50kg/m2. But on 500m2 there are only 15 pieces, and it gives other product than 50 times 500!

Similarly, I was asked, for the thermal power commanding room to make stability check with 1200kg/m2. Explanation was that this was the area load of the electrical containers. But the fact was that they aren’t put all together, but in rows 800mm thick, at 1800mm free distance. Than the average load goes down to 400kg/m2 (what is different from 1200).

There are some more loads to use in stability check:

·        Containing material loads: to a floor structure, to supporting walls, in bunkers, solos – may be calculated if we have got about material properties, and paying attention that different authors give different formulae and coefficients,

·        Soil pressure to a underground walls,

·        Hydrostatic pressure, and ground water reload and foundations lightness,

·        User’s floor load: it is defined by national codes, but mostly for houses and light industries, and poorly for heavy industries. Without someone’s experience, this area is very hazardous to the designer.

  • Especially remount loads must be checked. E.g. case when new equipment (cladding, furnace masonry) is placed behind the old one, for exchange, old one is demonted and left on the floor (level +40), and the intervence pauses for couple of months. This load can be 8 to 30 kN/m2, and up to 20 tons per item.
  • Spoiling the material from the equipment to the floor, usually on the connection of transport belts, is often significant case. If a belt, transporting 100.000t a day, looses 1/1000 part, it isn’t a small piece, is it? Material is spilled and cone is made until its top reaches the hole where material comes from. If the hole is on the floor of a closed bridge, E.G. 12m high, the cone is about 1800m3.
  • Very significant for the dimensioning floor beams is the “occasional concentrated force” in the worse position, especially for bending, for shear, and for the reaction. Its value is defined by experience, according to the importance of a beam, and as an orientation, it can be about 15% of total beam load in one span, simultaneously with known loads. Roof beams should also be checked in this manner, even with smaller forces and load factors. How does these forces occur: during some equipment mounting, the workers shall catch to an useful beam, validating its capacity by its dimension, or they will mount crane remount suspending structure, or…

·        Seismic load is also very important, for the great masses in equipment, its masonry, and the material inside. You should also remember of the liquid in equipment and liquid’s seismic effects. Seismic loads specially affect foundations to be turned up or rolled, and thus – also anchor bolts.

·        Fire loading. As the building is full of easy or heavy burning material, and consisting workers and expensive equipment, and fire may affect other buildings too – it needs longer fire resistance, even 3 hours. Fire specialists and inspectors and technology designer will define fire load. It is important to be familiar with the fire resistance dimensioning principles, in order not to allow non-engineers to lead in a design.

4.3.  ]Foundation conditions

Big problem in founding such buildings is the fact that they are, with no exception, placed by the river, on the old industrial property. Except of consolidated sands, well clay, or stabile dust, that some Luck Star can bring to you, designer must expect: 8m refilled city garbage, sulfur rests, odd iron structures; air bombing holes, full of everything; great foundations of unknown purpose; roman rests (Romans knew where to build) and early medieval basilicas, that prolong the project for at least 2 years. Ground water is high, its aggressiveness secure. If you had luck to design important building, you’ll get 15m long diaphragms, and you’ll sleep well, otherwise – you won’t sleep well! As our buildings are high, and have got high mass center, we do not have serious problems with soil bearing capacity. Our problems are: unequal and great soil deformations, affecting more to the equipment, than to our structures, foundation’s lifting and rolling, due to great horizontal force moments and negative reactions, as well as of ground water under-pressure.

4.4.  A lack of time

Politicians and money owner start building. They give the order to the bakers, managers, economists, these – to technologists, they – to Machine Engineers, and these – to electricians. Then we come, before air-conditioners, water & plumbing, light, grounding & TT-installers. We should wait at the end of a chain, until all other socialites realized their room needs loads and other conditions for us. We should also calculate the house from the roof, so that foundations become “a point on i”. Ooh – in building, our comes first, just the foundations. We should finish the building and give it to Machine specialists, and they – to Electricians, Technologists, Economists, and Economists to report to bosses: everything is done! But it doesn’t come in this way!

By the time we meet the problem, questions are set: when shall the design be finished? If only – tender for everything, digging plan and foundations (geometry, reinforcement & built in elements) – at the time when none alive can really tell you what will exactly be built. When there is no clear idea of equipment supplier, layout, volume, levels, even there isn’t final project program – they ask foundations – which are a logical result of everything, I repeat – everything above!

But let’s not cry! We know we have the means to deliver ready foundation plans, while we don’t know what is upstairs, even we slept worse after that! It is a chance to become an engineer; it is easy “for a given system and forces to calculate member forces using XVII order theory”, but let us see who’s gonna make it without the system and loading?! And there is no excuse; because having no risk investor could have done it himself alone, not engaging us. He created the atmosphere for the investment, who knows what’s gonna stay of it until we decide what to do? Perhaps the credits shall find someone else, faster, perhaps investor shall have enough time to think about investment once again, and – quit everything. Documentation delivered in time is worth (makes money) hundreds times greater than it’s price, and possible saves in reasonable time design. Profit is in a fact that investor doesn’t lose the race.

How shall we manage – to design the building with no parameters, not to bury the steel and concrete, not to propose weak and tomorrow to strengthen it (making old from new) – there isn’t any great advice. Of course, of the extreme help shall be the similar building design, information “from the old man” about remount loads, check whether there are continuously present horizontal forces, soil bearing capacity and deformations, ground water level and aggressiveness. On the basis of these information, it is possible a perfect building to be designed, and later, when we get in a possession of true loads and other conditions, to perform a few extra changes, in order not to steel from loads and column lengths. And also perfectly wrong building can be designed…

4.5.  Relations with architects

Our architects aren’t of a great use in technology building design. They like to carry a “clear architecture”, so they expect someone to solve upper mentioned problems, and they top take care about facades, covering, commanding room; and they are nervous until speech comes into theirs seas. Trying to co-operate, all three sides (architect, CE and third side) find out it doesn’t work: architects get sick of such kind of work, their teachers surely wouldn’t be impressed with smoked iron, and rest specialties are poorly interested in a façade concept, phantom flowers in a commanding room, and floor layouts (without structure, equipment and installations) in colors.

There is no way for The CE, but to renew his hosing knowledge, arm with Technicians workbook Voll.2 and photocopies of covering details, find out who is Neufert, and to learn in a walk, much, much to learn!

4.6.  Relation to investor

Finally, investor came because he didn’t know to solve it himself. Usually he ’s got a problem, sometimes he ‘s got an idea how to solve it, but, by the time he asks our help, he is almost near to realize he wouldn’t manage it himself alone. OK, his aim isn’t to understand his own problem, as well as he isn’t able to solve it. Thus we have to behave as a doctor: to interview him, to find out the facts and to set the therapy.

And it isn’t easy. God blessed a few wonderful, educated, experienced people, who are a pleasure to work with… But there is plenty more others, inexperienced. They are inexperienced because they don’t know all the things waiting for them until they turn the project on; so they attack to the design, in spite of saving the strength for later experiences. It isn’t easy to tell the investor, who came with a wrong idea – to throw it away! Usually it isn’t only his idea, it is mostly supported by local names. Neither it’s worth explaining why is it wrong! We should try “iterations”: in a series of meetings, we shall try to win millimeter by millimeter of new, right solution, constantly keeping a link to the primary investor’s idea and inter-solutions, letting the investor to lead, delicately working new versions only for what he has unconsciously suggested. Nothing should be called a change (“We’ve just drown it in a scale!”), and in the critical phases you should lie with no respect – that it was exactly what he asked, that it was marvelous, that none in the world, before him (money owner, don’t forget!), happened to invent such an idea! Don’t ever say there is a bit of your idea in a final version. When you hear, from the friend from Canada – that you have only drawn the house, and that everything was the investor’s idea – you’ll know: the job had been well done! And that a genius investor shall order from you a next job!

4.7.  Building dreams in clouds

In the age of late 30-ths or early 40-ths most successful men are being caught by the CC-fly, so they draw the line under their lives and ask themselves: OK, you’ll gonna die sooner or later, what have you left after yourself? Women leave children and homes, children leave men, and a successful man ‘s got to leave a monument. So, someone’s monument is a hamburger cottage, to someone – led smelter, third – independent republic…

Problem is, that such a man, visiting a designer, is not aware of his problem. He speaks of refinery, a led smelter, describing at the time, a King Arthur’s Court, remembered from a spent BW-tape, 40 years ago, watching in his mind the  grand-pap’s road monument. This is what we mostly build: children’s dreams and imagination, in a shape of tale-stories and movie-cakes, we act to materialize in a high furnaces, hammer plants, energy-plants, wagon rolling bridges, mines and chimneys. We have to show to unthankful witnesses, laying girls, unproved friends – how much our client has flown over them, over their impatience and anger. We have to leave the monument to unborn grandchildren, monument worth our investor! And that is exactly what Michelangelo have worked for Papa Sixt You shouldn’t be frightened, but these are our main investors, and we spend our life building in dreams. And don’t try to get rid of such investors – the human progress lies on a human proud and prejudice.

4.8.  Relations between engineers

Two engineers – two sciences! You shouldn’t believe, but it is true! An engineer is created by the same forces who create each human being: genetics, family, surrounding, some important men and happenings; so engineers become as much different as already people are: some are generous – we shall solve that easy, let there 10 centimeters more, here half a meter, there 5 tons; the others are merchants from Venice: they cut millimeter in tree pieces, calculate dynamic wind, etc… and each of them has a proven science explanation for his ideas. So it happens that two good engineers give, for the same problem, two extremely different solutions (where someone will like each of them), and these solutions tell us more about mentioned engineers, than about a treated problem!

It makes a mess in young engineer’s mind, not knowing “whom to believe” – while they still suppose technique is an exact and simple mining science. A lot of water must pass by, before they realize: “to own self, only!”

Also this lesson must be valued in that manner: not later than tomorrow some of my close colleges and friends will say it is bullshit!


4.1.  Layout


Civil engineer must pay attention at least about former building functions:

  • bearing structure
  • means of transportation corridors included in production process
  • main equipment erection conditions

carrying the coating and floors, snow, wind and seismicity, heavy and standard equipment and installations weight, treated material weight, service loads, erection and test loads, as well as unknown loads,

transportation lines, cranes, service and repairing equipment (every designer fells this problem doesn’t belong to his speciality)

  • process monitoring communications,
  • natural light and ventilation,
  • crew space

in commanding room and other offices, other rooms, dressing room and service room,

  • lines of evacuation and life protection

boundaries, staircases, non-skating floors, warnings,

  • anticorrosion and fire protection of a structure

coatings and insulation materials, necessary fire-protection walls and doors,

  • possibility and abilities of later building extension and changes,
  • investors validating

of some solutions, layouts, or materials and profiles: perhaps he produces something, or has on a stock, maybe he is linked by contract to some special solutions, may be he has had bad or good experience with some produces, he might have had a strange taste?!

4.1..2.    Most frequent layout models

And, than, how to design a good building? As we can see, it reminds a lot to a prehistorical monster: it has got it’s head and a mind inside, digestive system, blood-, nerve- & immune- systems, constant temperature (some of them, e.g. Ships or diggers have got moving posibilities) and, what is mostly interesting for us, it has got a strong skeleton and,  here and there, a coverring. So it can be arranged: as a prehistorical monster, or as a fine piece of weapon, or an Eskimo-inhabit


We can arrange the building along the main stream which contains bearing skeleton, transportation & communication lines, energy supply and telecommunicatio busses and the essence of producton process – from there brances lead to the users. Users are being changed, rearanged, displaced, but there aren’t big changes on a main stream. Such a layout is also usefull for robots or process engines.


A technology being developed and perfected for a hundreds of years results in perfect, finished, completed plants. Such a plant, reminding on a fine piece of weapon, ususally is a monument of a perfection in a manufacture and a function. Only – it suffers a litle bit from a perfection – it isn’t easy to ad to or subtract something from it.


Or in this way: a simple unit, containing whole system in it, can be imagined. And such units are put one behind another, until we reach rail-tracks or a river. Anyway, this type is easier to be used in a textil, electronic and other light industries.

And the last – the combination of all these types.

4.1..3.    Column distance

Anyway, a building is to be designed: distances of columns (axes) and floor levells are to be chosen. You must fight for the uniform distances for X & Y dirrection. You shouldn’t allow the difference in some places, even the price was Your place in the design-team.

Eventually You can allow the exchange between a large and a small distance e.g. 6161.. It is clear that they have to differ  extremelly. Thus, a distance of 1m can be understood as a part of multipart ciolumn. Chosen axes distance must be identical with the distance in neighbour houses, even this older might have been dull and wrong!

The whishes of Technology & Machinery engineers (Machiners only play role as if they’re our friends and that they understand us) is: having no columns, floor structure to be of no depth, to load any point of space and also to reach any point of the house. So – technology causes great spans, but the price and the ductility of the house – ask lover spans.

What shall You do with the columns – is the essential for Your structure. You should try to put the equipment, the crane, tracks and trasport lines into the space, and to find out: where should be the best places for columns, if they are to be pinned, catilever, 2- or 4-part, wirendel. Up to two kinds of columns may exist in a building. External columns may be cantilever, carying the roof, crane road and transversal stability; and interior columns should be pinned of simple I or [] section. We recommend all to be of some type and size, only with different plate depth.

Frequent layout of technology building is: with a great hole inside, exciding 1/2 floor area. It isnt the real hole at all, it is only a space for some great furnace, reactor etc. laying on the foundations, or being held by the floors.

4.1..4.    Floor structure

Floor structure is carried bu the columns. The area between 4 columns is called “a field”. As this is also a term for the middle part of a beam, we are to take care. Distance between beams fits the axe-distance of columns. Floor beams are deigned in multi-range system. Primary beams (at distance of 4-6m and the span of 4-9m), secondary beams (dist. 1-3m, span 4-7m) and a covering (reinforced concrete plate, steel plate or steel rost). This ranging is usual, not necessary. Sometimes great (O-range) beams shall be used to win the span of 12m, 20m or more. Or we shall use 3-rd range beams to carry the floor rost. E.G. press-plants are usually made by 4 ranges of beams and demountable floor over the service  basement.

The old designers’ experience is that it is smart to use smaller beams, at smaller distances and spans. A lot of little beams cooperate better, have better ductility – thus such structure collapses slowly and with great deflections.

The distance of secondary beams is equal and they are placed in the some dirrection. If such a beam doesn’t cover the needs, it is dubled, even tripled. If we can get secondary beams over primary, it is of great  use. Having 3 ranges, we chose 2-nd over 1-st, and 0-th in the level of both 1-st and 2-nd beams.

Once chosen, the field of beams should be repeated in whole the house. In spite of this, some designers like chess layout of beams: X-dirrection in white fields, and Y in black. This is used to get quasi-isotrophy to a seismic forces, double number of half-carrying primary beams. I am not fascinated with it at all: perhaps at heavy restricted floor depth, but a lot of profit is lost in bad instalation leading posibilities.

Upper edge of steel (famous UE steel) must be on the unique level for  the whole floor. Any change revenges quickly and directly. Layouts of all the floors are to be identical, exspecialy the parts that cover one another. It is also recomendable to have level distance equal.

Very atractive solution, exspecialy at architectural spaces is got by placing secondary beams over primary. In that case, instalations and beams of X-direction are lead in upper level, and of Y-dir in lower level of the floor structure. It helps the designers to have no problems in crossing instalations and beams. This solution corespodences to 4-part columns and beams, where instalations are lead between the sides of a beam or column.

Now, You expect me to tell You something abou the roof: until now You have thought that steel houses had got only ground floor and  (with crane). Honestly, there, in technology buildings, the roof isn’t of some big importance. Sometimes there ain’t no roof, depends of a climate. When mounted, it is often broken, drilled for some purposes. For more informations – see somewhere in a text, something might be found.

4.1..5.    Space sharing

A few words about space share coordination: the space will be seriously shared if You serously share it. Project manager carries about the cost, the terms and about the quality of technology (to start running before it becomes old, and to work in a way it is contacted), Electrician & Thermal Engineers carry how everybodu to supply enough of energy. And nobody seriously takes care of a free space. But it is necessary and possible to arrange all the functions into one space: logicaly, practicaly, flexible, with rhytm and elegance. Main designers make a deal and arrange the space on a small drawings (1:200), and they assume the problem is solved. They forget only next 12 milions of small problems, raising as we increase our scale to 1:1. How to put comprimised air pipe, but not to cut the transportation line for the main commanding table (the table shall be burned once in 3 years, but than ist will have to be exchanged within 2 hours). These problems are left to: beginners, outsiders, to investor, supervisory, field erector, manufacturer – anyone! E.G. traffo-block: it is much more important whether it will get input voltage and power and stand all possible shocks, than: which side is it to be mounted from?

Thus it is necessary, from the first day, from the first idea of new project, to have up-to-date synchron-plan of the building, or a complex of houses, where each cubic meter shall be monitored; where it will be possible to put: our structure and the building generaly, great and small equipment, evacuation, transportation and service lines and means, light, air conditioning, instalation etc. This is great and unthankfull job: allways in a conflict with other specialties, ‘cos You “make them problems”, “pay attention to minor problems” etc.. That’s why this part of a job is to be contracted explicitely, with clear direction to different specilaties to cooperate.

4.2.  Stability check

Who is not aware, till now, that stability check can not help, he is not worth telling anything more. Well, it was a small joke, but this text does try to get You little bit back from stability control programs. We are shure that beter part of students at 4-th year of studies is able to “calculate” whatever someone imagined! Our whish is to pay Your attention: that the Civil Engineer isn’t stability checker or some forces account. Using computer, educated student of Grammar School musta have been able to feed it and to design the structure, using the results. No, it is imposible that someone has gone 17 years to school to be some “force cowboy”?!

What is the stability check problem:

  • We ‘ve got loads but, as shown before, the true is that we know nothing about it, including seismicitu, that is at last, yuoung science,
  • We ‘ve also got ground soil, where, in a case of intouched fields – we know nothing, and here, in roman harbours, we know much more less than in fields. We link our calculations to some samples, being aware of the fact that only good solution should be to change first 10m of soil, but we won’t do it.
  • We ‘ve got the equipment, that is not designed, but it has been planted untill it had grown to thiss size,
  • We ‘ve got service loads, where is recomentable to cross examine som grend-pap worker, he might have given us valid informations,
  • Finaly there is also our steel structure, which is allmost ideal Hook’s material, or it might be idealy elasto-plastic, as newer theories tell, the best way is to throw a coin!
  • And also, we ‘ve got service crew, knowing nothing from those upmentioned facts. But they are in aughfull hurry – not to get negative points and to escape sulphur-trioxyde cloud before it turns them to retirement. That’s why they cut anything standing on their way; sometimes put it back, other times – forget in sulphur dust. While the structure doesn’t collapse – it feels good.

And let’s make some resume:

We shall transfer something undefined, to something unknown, via third – smashed!

And I cant remember someone tried to sell me the program for such purpose.

What are we to do? It shall be enough to check simple load cases, which compose the envelope of known loads, such as: constant and moving load, eventual horizontal forces, wind and seismic forces. Refined calculate models are of no help, exept of II° theory, because of possible great deflections.

In spite of great stability check, where no philosophy is expected, design is to be done extremely seriously. It is of crucial importance to design every member and connection, welded and bolted, chose inter-plates and transverse inforcements. As everywhere in steel, exspecially at ductile structures, and exspecially at our “structures of unknown future” it is important to transfer all the forces through all the sections and joints. Changes of bearing capacity and rigidity arent allowed.

Design of bearing structure system, members, joints and architectural details must be done simultaneously. In much cases some solution won’t pass all 4 exams, and something shall be changed: system(some rigid connection, some diagonal member), member cross-section or architectural detail. But profits may be signifficant in using a member at the same time for the structure, and for the architectural aims, e.g. using upper wall member as a lower roof member, and part of wind holders. Don’t be shocked someone shall use a special member for each of these purposes.

4.3.  Structure system and design

What are we left do do: with a lot of stability calculations, much moire design checks, layouts and section drawings, checks in site – we are to make a building:

  • Made of steel. Someone may be in a condition to accomplish all upper needs with a concrete structure, but investor should have to know: it isn’t a good job,
  • Sedigned to fulfill the aim, and with spare capacities for all future needs, honestly: it stays, forever, special&common purpose building,
  • It must be simple, with clear and visible structure system, minimised number of different members, simple members, simple details and connections, as it could be easy: designed, constructed, inspected, repaired, and later expand and adtapt for different purposes,
  • All predicted and expected loads,
  • Loads that might be applied,
  • As well as loads that none expected,
  • Mechanical shocks,
  • Chemical agression,
  • Fire,
  • Accidents,
  • Reconstructions, sanations and ignorant activities


So it could stand:

  • Member cross-sections are to be compact
  • Small number of bolts in connections
  • System, connections and cross-sections shall be designed in a way to give no chance for mistake,
  • It’s got to be ductile

·        It is the one of the crucial conditions – it means that the structure doesn’t surrender untill it is put on it’s back. This is needed to correct the problems of: overload, different support deflection, member cutting and corrosion. Ductile structure redistributes the forces from collapsed to other members, proportionally deflects, but doestn’t colapse. It is achieved by:

·        Structural sustem should be space frame in manu floors and levels, with no leader-beams nor collons, ansuranced, for the stage of working loads with diagonals, and able to stay after excluding 10% members,

·        All equal range members should have egual securitu factor

·        Cross-section ratio should satisfy plastification conditions

h/b<=3, dpl/dw<.2, bpl/dpl<=30, hw/dw<=50,