Reduce Building Height and Maximise Space using Under Floor Air Conditioning

By using the plenum beneath a raised floor as the ventilation zone instead of traditional ceiling based air conditioning, it is possible to attract huge savings in construction materials, installation costs, fit out and reconfiguration.  Removing the ceiling void can have a huge impact on the use of internal space within a building and duplicating the floor void for cable management and ventilation lends itself to height savings in new build construction and refurbishments alike. 

The floor void beneath the raised access floor is usually in the region of 150 – 200mm, and a ceiling based air conditioning system typically requires a void of 600-700mm, bringing the total services space requirement to 750-900mm.  By adopting an underfloor system with floor level supply and floor level return, ceiling ductwork and lateral pipework can virtually be eliminated.  A floor void of only 250-300mm is required to accommodate the cabling and fan terminals, equating to increased headroom of 200-400mm in this example.  Where the slab to slab height is severely restricted, a slimline fan terminal which only requires 180mm floor void space can be used.

In the UK, older building stock often has limited headroom and smaller floor plates making it a challenge for engineers to accommodate the preferred 2.5m headroom using traditional ceiling based systems.  Perimeter systems can be considered but this brings the penalty of loss of prime lettable space and also makes it difficult to ventilate internal areas.

In new build construction this height saving can lend to additional lettable space or reduced building height; in some cases necessary to achieve planning permission. A tall building in Hong Kong was able to fit in an additional floor for every ten floors constructed due to the height savings created.  Transfer the concept across construction and it is possible to construct another entire building with the cost savings realised.  Build ten buildings, get one free! | [email protected]
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