The Importance of Forensic Engineering in Cases of Building Failure Disputes

06 June 2019

As noted in a previous post, water reticulation systems transport life-sustaining fluids to their destination. From a surface or underground reservoir to homes, water delivery networks are designed, constructed and maintained. Larger structures occupy the fluid distribution map, too. Then there are outlying network convergences, which include mines and quarries. What a complex system, with all of those branches thirsty for water. Clearly, this is not a design project for the uninitiated.

Establishing the Fundamental Design Goals

Where is this water distribution system located? What kind of nodes are mapped onto this infrastructural layer? If it’s a housing complex, at what elevation is the property located? Without this important fragment of information, there’s no way to ensure residences-with-a-view will receive enough head. Frankly, that’s a sloppy mistake. Homeowners should never be forced to take low-pressure showers. Granted, pressure improving fittings can be fitted, but this additional expense wouldn’t be necessary if a water reticulation system accounted for the system’s projected head demands.

Laying Down the Design Guidelines

The above scenario represents one of a multitude of possible project setups. It was used as an example because elevation issues are common on water reticulation assignments. Another important system designing guideline comes into effect when system designers realize there are multiple flow-impacting challenges in play. For one thing, time is not always on a piped water distribution networks side. That’s why peak demand periods must be planned for when sizing the pipe diameters and static flow rates. As yet another important guideline, the planner in charge must account for certain emergency system outlet points. System hydrants are classed as one such resource, as are ceiling sprinklers. Elsewhere, while not an emergency network asset, there are more sprinkler nozzles to feed. These are ground sprinklers, which feed yellowing patches of grass and lots of veggies. As a network planning fundamental, there must be enough overhead to supply all such system features.

What mechanism keeps flow heads high and peak demands quenched? That’s a job for pumps and pressure reducing valves. They work in concert with gravity feed water reticulation sections and storage tanks to keep fluid flow rates high. From here, there are metering flowmeters to install. They’ll be used as water distribution auditing tools. But that’s an end-system consideration. From start-to-finish, network distribution consultants look at the distribution and supply nodes, which include reservoirs and all available water collecting assets. Likely ground corridors are assessed, based on the soil condition, then the pipe capacity design stage plans for that peak demand period. Finally, there’s that essential volume of inbuilt system overhead to incorporate, too.

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