Revit Structure

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Registered: ‎04-02-2008
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Floor Loading Study - Modeling Elevated Computer Room Floor

253 Views, 0 Replies
08-25-2012 10:14 PM

Background Information:


Description: 3 Storey Office Building with Mechanical Penthouse, Designed/Constructed circa 1985, future expansion for 4th/5th and 6th floor levels taken into account for columns/foundation and bracing systems

Location: Yellowknife, NWT, Canada

Foundation: Rock socketed steel pipe piles/, Perimeter Concrete Wall /Pilasters pinned to bedrock

Framing System: Main/Second/Third Floor: 76mm composite steel deck , 0.91 mm th. galvanized steel q-deck, 65 mm concrete slab, total 141 mm th. reinforced with 152X152  - MW 18.7/MW18.7 WWM

Perimeter columns:  CIP reinforced concrete  columns up to main floor ( perimeter)

Interior Columns:  WWF shapes

Floor Beams: WWF shapes

Floor Girders: WWF shapes

Braced Frame using HSS 152x152x8 ( X bracing and Chevron types)

Design Loads: 4.8 kPa Live Load, 1.6 kPa snow load, Wind Load: estimated at 0.8 kPa, drifting snow load pattern provided in drawings around mechanical penthouse all around.

Record Drawings available.



The 2nd floor of this office building was converted to a secure access area to house computer equipment and backup systems. An elevated floor system was installed to create a mechanical plenum space for ventilation. I would estimate the elevated floor system to be 0.6 kPa ( 12 psf) . Three large Air Handling Units were installed to control air circulation and temperatures within this area of the second floor.


A large array of modular computer equipment storage towers is arranged within this space. These modular towers accommodate servers/backup hard drives, tape storage arrays and other computer equipment. Tower weights vary from 300 lbs to 1000 lbs. Some space is set aside for general office space.The plenum space is used to route wiring as well. As with any system, the demands change. A new arrangement of equipment has been proposed.


I have been tasked with answering the question:  Is the floor capable of carrying the attitudinal load based on the proposed location of the equipment?


I am planning to create a partial BIM model of the floor so I can answer not only this 'What If?' but future 'What If's' as well. I have no immediate concerns regarding column carrying capacity or lateral stability as the building was designed for future stories.


I am having some difficulty getting around how to model the original uniformly distributed load and revise it to a series of point loads on the elevated floor area installed to create the mechanical plenum. The elevated floor level within the computer room consists of 600mm x 600 mm tiles. Some tiles are perforated allowing for cooled plenum air to enter the room space. Also of interest is modeling the large AHU's. I have a good plan showing very close locations for all equipment. The tiles are anchored to the floor with a small steel plate ( 100mm x 100mm x 6 mm) with Hilti type fasteners and adhesive. The tiles can be easily removed with a suction cup to access any of the plenum space.


I am looking to model this modular tile floor into a BIM model. I was wondering if anyone has been down this road before and can share some insight with me.


Respectfully submitted,




Phil Nolan

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