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Anderson Illustration Associates. Courtesy of Engberg Anderson Design Partnership, Inc.

Vertical Plumbing for a Hospital Addition

Steven P. Skattebo, PE

or slab-on-grade and two-floor-only construction, the increasing prevalence of horizontal plumbing has made vertical plumbing design an infrequently employed art. Vertical plumbing usually is only for drainage stacks, while water supply distribution is handled within a horizontal plane on each floor. Vertical plumbing may not be fashionable, but it still has a place in plumbing design. A recent addition to Waukesha Memorial Hospital in Waukesha, WI, takes advantage of the benefits of vertical plumbing to overcome space limitations.

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During construction: The long-awaited addition to Waukesha Memorial Hospital The architectural design of the core area in the center of the patient room floors varied widely, so offset stacks with relief vents and yoke vents were required.

During the design development phase of the hospitals new northwest wing, the availability of ceiling space to distribute plumbing, mechanical, and electrical services immediately became an issue. The long-anticipated wing was to include a new main hospital entrance, emergency department, and ambulance garage, as well as a rooftop helicopter landing pad, an expanded imaging department, 30 birthing rooms, and almost 100 medical-surgical patient rooms. The addition was to increase the hospitals floor space by more than 25%.

The Space Challenge

The existing hospital had an 11-ft floor-to-floor design, although 1415 ft generally is needed to allow room above the ceiling for light fixtures, fire sprinkler pipes, overlapping ventilation ducts, heating hydronic pipes, plumbing pipes, pneumatic tubes, electrical power conduits, electronic data conduits, and structural members. Construction economics usually are more favorable if deeper beams and deeper ducts are permitted.

In addition to these space demands, the architectural requirements had to be addressed. Large rooms and long corridors typically require a relatively high ceiling. Space programming is easier when plumbing can be designed to vary between floors through the use of horizontal supply and stack offsets. Frequently architects like to lay out each floor without regard to whether the plumbing is aligned between floors. The size of pipes, conduits, and ducts for each floor usually is related to the length of the wing; a long wing requires larger pipes and more space. However, if vertical supply piping is used to reach all fixtures, only the supply mains on one floor are affected by the wings length. At Waukesha Memorial, the floorto-floor height dated from the original 1929 construction and had been used ever since. Between the second and fifth floors, the floor-to-floor spacing was 11 ft. An additional 6-in. space was present for the first floor and an additional 12-in. space for the

lower level. The subbasement also had a 12-ft spacing. The idea of creating a separate tower with different floor spacing and ramps between towers was not attractive for the staff or the architect. Relying on elevators rather than ramps would ease the design aesthetic but limit staff circulation. An allnew hospital was not a possibility. When all structural options were explored, two possible compromises began to emerge: The use of a 12-in. reinforced flatbottom concrete slab with additional capitals at each column. Allowing for 8-ft ceilings plus 6 in. for lights left a mere 18 in. to accommodate electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and fire protection systems. The mechanical engineer, in the same office as the plumbing engineer, was perplexed as to how two insulated ducts could be crossed in such a narrow space. The use of an 8-in. slab with many columns but no capitals. The mechanical engineer was a little more pleased. There would be room for a 12-in. duct to cross a 9in. duct with space for a 1 1/2-in.thick duct wrap around either duct.

Design Development
After the economic aspects were explored, the second compromise was adopted. In the completed design, patient rooms filled the upper four floors, and the emergency and imaging departments filled the first floor. The ambulance bay was appended to one end, and the new main entrance, on the other end, unified the new wing with the existing hospital. A mechanical penthouse and the helicopter pad were fixed on top. Another mechanical space was dug under the first floor near the ambulance bay. The balance of the space below the first floor was excavated for two electrical substations and general space for future occupancy. This lower level also joined the wing to the existing building.

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Vertical Plumbing for a Hospital Addition continued from page 9

The wing became six floors plus the penthouse. The helicopter lobby above the penthouse roof was more than eight floors above the existing boiler room in the subbasement. The upper and lower mechanical spaces housed air handling units for the six floors with mechanical services extended from the boiler room. Coordination with the floor construction presented other challenges. Penetrations were limited in size and number at locations near columns. Floor depressions for bathtub pans required careful review with the structural engineer. The slope in patient toilet room floors was limited to no more than 1/2 in. All penetrations through the floors, including every water closet flange, required fire stopping. As design development concluded, uniform architectural programming of toilet rooms was achieved for most patient rooms. However, the substation on the lower level restricted a fourth of those rooms from being reached from the lower level. And the architectural design of the core area in the center of the patient room floors varied widely, so offset stacks with relief vents and yoke vents were required The design had to allow for the possible future construction of a seventh and eighth floor. Hence, the stacks and medical-gas risers were upsized 33%. A single set of water supply risers was designed in for booster pumps in a future upperpressure zone. Later, during value engineering, these were deleted.

The roof drains were spaced closely to require only 4-in. pipes, which could pass through the patient toiletroom wet walls. Wherever a drainage stack passed through the first-floor emergency or imaging department, it ran to the nearest wall before dropping into the lower level.

Vertical and Horizontal Solutions

The final design used vertical plumbing on the upper levels and horizontal plumbing on the lower levels. The roof drains were spaced closely to require only 4-in. pipes, which could pass through the patient toilet-room wet walls. The wet walls were located away from structural columns. Although the toilet rooms were back to back, the wet walls were not. Instead, the wet wall for each toilet room, with six-inch metal

studs, was aligned. The toilet rooms branches penetrated behind the elecshared supply risers and a sanitary trical panels before turning up and stack. The storm conductor was then across the first floor ceiling to placed on one end of the wet wall. connect to the patient room conducA storm sewer ran the length of the tors. Venting the patient toilet rooms new wing, just outside the building. Its required dealing with one unconvenbranches penetrated into tional obstacle, in addition the lower level, which to narrow walls. Large The final design recessed bedpan-storage received flow from only used vertical two or three conductors. cabinets were placed above Branches were generally 6 plumbing on the the water closets. The botin., and runs were generally tom of each cabinet was upper levels the narrow width of the too low to allow space for and horizontal wing. Thus, the horizontal a vent branch to serve the plumbing on the lavatory. Thus, each toilet impact was minimal. Clearwater waste receptors room had to have its own lower levels. were connected to the vent stack while sharing a storm drain through backsanitary stack. Wherever a water valves. Conventional floor drains drainage stack passed through the were located nearby to receive any first-floor emergency or imaging clearwater backup flow if a severe rain department, it ran to the nearest wall caused the backwater valves to close. before dropping into the lower level. The last storm-drainage obstacle From there, it dropped down the was the substation. Here, the storm nearest column. If first-floor plumbing

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was connected to this stack, then 3-in. relief vents were added. The water supply to each pair of patient toilet rooms came from a valved branch off a set of supply risers. Distribution was completely within the ceiling of the toilet rooms and had to share duct space only with the toilet exhaust duct. The fourth floor space housed separate valved branches for the fourth and fifth floor and a hot water return connection point for a network that joined a common riser for the wing. The rest of the patient room ceiling was available for supply and return ducts and radiant heating panels. The core area had duct shafts with supply and return arms that reached to the corridor and patient room ceilings, where the trunks fanned out. Groups of plumbing in the core had their own stacks and risers, and these had offsets at each level. In the lower-level ceiling, which has more ceiling space than the other floors, water supply mains run down two parallel paths from one end of the wing to the other. Branches from the mains are

connected to the patient-room and core-area risers. Each connection involves a pair of valves (one on the branch and the other on the main). One end of the parallel mains is connected to a common feed that runs to the existing boiler room. The other end of the parallel mains is connected to form a loop. Thus, the water supply to each riser is fed from two directions. If a future connection to this main becomes necessary, no more than one riser will be lost while the connection is made. The first floor water supply distribution is independent of the patient towers. Any modification on the first floor will not affect patients housed on the floors above.

Of course, all the fancy designing is meaningless unless skillful workers do the installation. The contractor installed the complicated pipe offsets in the tight ceiling spaces. Working closely with other trades, the plumbers carefully coordinated their horizontal piping, especially on the lower level where the largest duct mains were. In addition, a depression

had to be added in the floor around magnetic resonance imaging equipment. The duct and piping changes were made postbid without delays to the construction schedule. Craft skills also came into play for renovation of the existing plumbing where the new building joined the existing building. The vertical plumbing occupies wall space and only minimal ceiling space. Horizontal drain piping was installed only for stack offsets and the smaller storm drains. Where horizontal water supply piping was installed, it was with the benefit of loop piping. The tower was isolated from the activities of the first floor. The vertical drain piping was designed to meet future requirements without significant cost impact.

Steven Skattebo is an engineering consultant with Engineering Concepts, Inc., in Waukesha, WI. Additional information can be obtained at

Siphonic Roof Drainage Systems continued from page 7

Additional Works Consulted (Parts 1 and 2) Bowler, R., & Arthur, S. (1999). Siphonic roof rainwater drainage: Design considerations. Presented at Centre Institute de Batement W62 Symposium, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Hanslin, R. (1993). Siphonic rain water drainage system. Presented at Centre Institute de Batement W62 Symposium, Porto, Portugal. Rattenbury, J. (2001). Fundamentals of siphonic roof drainage. PM Engineer, 7(3), 5456. Swaffield, J.A., Arthur, S., & May, R.W.P. (1998). Priming of a Siphonic Rainwater Drainage System. Presented at Centre Institute de Batement W62 Symposium, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Publishers Note Plumbing Systems & Design has been informed that Part 1 of Siphonic Roof Drainage Systems, in the November-December 2002 issue (pages 89), may have referred inadvertently to certain material published in Fundamentals of Siphonic Roof Drainage by John Rattenbury. Mr. Rattenburys article appeared in the March 2001 issue of PM Engineer. The policy of Plumbing Systems & Design requires authors and columnists to formally cite all works from which they derived or quote specific information. It is difficult, at best, for editors to determine when information is specific to a technical genre and when it is specific to a particular writer. A full list of works consulted in the preparation of Parts 1 and 2 of Siphonic Roof Drainage Systems appears on this page.

Lawrence Galowin is retired from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and is now a NIST guest researcher. He is a member of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the National Plumbing Standards Committee (A112). Before retirement he was senior program manager at NIST; earlier he directed the building services system that included plumbing research activity. With Prof. J.A. Swaffield, he is co-author of The Engineered Design of Building Drainage Systems (1992).

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