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Challenges of Designing and Constructing High-rise Buildings

High-rise buildings are very high buildings that require the use of mechanical vertical transportation. They are used for a wide range of purposes- residential apartments, hotels, office buildings, retail, and sometimes as educational facilities.

Being among the largest buildings built, many factors are usually considered when during the design and construction stages of high-rise buildings. The foundations, for instance, must be built to support very heavy loads and their structural systems incorporate winds loads and earthquake loads. This presents some challenges the architectural, structural, construction and maintenance of high-rise buildings. Some of these challenges are discussed below.

Lightweight Structures

The selection and of materials for structural and non-structural members of high-rise buildings is often challenging, especially during the planning and execution stages because they are designed as lightweight structures.

As a result of this, it is very important to use High-Performance Concrete (HPC), pre-stressed concrete, composite construction with steel, high-strength steel, lightweight masonry for walls and partitions, and many others.

[READ MORE: WAYS OF DESIGNING FIRE SAFETY IN BUILDINGS]

Wind Loads and Earthquake Load

Wind and earthquake forces are the most predominant loads that demand lateral design of structures. Further, residents may have nausea effects, in case of large deflections and vibrations; hence, the buildings must be designed for both earthquake safety and comfort conditions.

In the buildings with base isolation, the building’s response gets modified in such a way that the ground below is capable of moving without transmitting no or minimal motion to the structure above; hence, base isolation is adopted for high-rise buildings.

Usually, wind loads are the governing factor of structural design in the case of high-rise buildings. The shape of the building plays a vital role in minimizing wind forces, and therefore, circular, chamfered cornered square or nearly circular and square-shaped buildings are preferred.

Soil Interactions

Experts believe that no soil is better fit high rise buildings. That's why the foundation of the high rise buildings may down till the rock bottom.

Reason: soil has a property called settlement clay will have long term settlement due to cohesive nature and differential settlement too. Likewise, sand has short time settlement which is still risky. So rocks are opted for the foundation of high buildings because it can transfer load to earth without any settlement.

Efficient Vertical Transportation System

The vertical transportation systems in high-rise buildings must be highly efficient and fast, particularly if it is used in a single run. Super light rope technology with a carbon-fiber core and high friction coating or further advanced technology is favourable. Though the number of elevators is not a concern in present times, but in the future, they will be optimized considering the advancement, sustainability, and cost of space.

Construction and Fire Safety

Safety in high-rise buildings is to be incorporated through structural safety, workers safety during construction and maintenance, safety from falling components, fire safety, and safety from lightning, etc. Fire incidents in high-rise structures can cost heavy damages which make safety a top priority for high-rise construction. Safety from falling objects during construction and maintenance of high-rise buildings is another challenge; hence, the materials for external facades must be selected carefully based on the need of the building.

[RELATED: HOW TO ACCESS EXTENT OF DAMAGE IN CONCRETE STRUCTURES]

Use of Information Technology

Information Technology is required in the planning and construction phase of high-rise construction for architectural, structural and MEP designs, execution and operation, and maintenance. Building Information Modelling (BIM) has already become almost a necessity in such structures. Building operation controls are also set to get automatic, and IT-controlled, for qualifying to smart services, smart parking, smart equipment, and smart building.

Final Words

The factors above should be duly considered during the design and construction stages of high-rise buildings. If this is not done, there might be tough architectural, structural and construction challenges that will have severe consequences.

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