Top 10 Considerations for Drainage Design in Commercial Projects

Drainage design is a critical component of any commercial construction project. Poor drainage can lead to problems such as waterlogging, soil erosion, and foundation instability. It is therefore important to design a proper drainage system from the outset. Many drainage designs fail to take into account important factors such as rainfall intensity, infiltration rates, and the location of nearby water sources. As a result, these systems are often ineffective and can cause serious damage to your property. This underscores the importance of working with a qualified drainage engineer who can identify and address these potential problems. To ensure that your commercial drainage system is designed properly, here are ten considerations to look out for. 

1. The Type of Drainage System

Many different types of drainage systems can be used in commercial applications. The type you choose will have a significant impact on the system’s overall performance. It is important to choose the right type of system for the specific application and to install it correctly. Most commercial sites use one of two main drainage system types: gravity drainage systems or pumped drainage systems. Gravity systems rely on the force of gravity to move water through the system, while pumped systems use pumps to move water through the pipes. 

Each type of system has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right type of system for your specific situation. Gravity drainage systems are typically less expensive to install and maintain than pumped systems, but they can have trouble in areas with high water tables. Though more expensive, pumped systems are more effective if your water table is near the surface. When choosing a drainage system for a commercial application, it is important to consult with a qualified engineer to determine the best type of system for the specific application. 

2. Waterproofing Materials

Waterproofing materials are generally placed around drains to protect them from water damage. These materials are common in commercial buildings, including schools, hospitals, shopping centers, and office complexes. Waterproofing materials are often installed over existing drainage systems to prevent flooding and damage caused by leaks. The most useful type of waterproofing materials differs in rural and urban areas.

3. Grading Materials

Grading materials are usually placed around drains to help minimize runoff and erosion. These materials are commonly installed in residential projects, including single-family homes, townhouses, condos, and apartments. Grading materials are also placed along the perimeter of the property to prevent surface runoff from entering storm sewer pipes.

4. Stormwater Management Plan

Stormwater management plans are created to reduce the number of pollutants that get washed into local waterways. A stormwater management plan includes many different components, including grading materials, waterproofing materials, and drainage design.

5. The Size of the Drainage System

The size of the drainage system should depend on the amount of water expected at the site. Smaller drains are generally best for smaller projects while larger drains are recommended for larger projects

6. The Location of the Drainage System

The drainage system’s location should be planned carefully. There are three basic locations for a drainage system: top of the ground, middle of the ground, and bottom of the ground. Top-of-the-ground drainage systems are best suited for flat ground. Middle-of-the-ground drainage systems work best on sloping terrain. Bottom-of-the-ground drainage systems are best-suited to projects with uneven terrain.

7. The Slope of the Land

The site’s slope should also be taken into consideration. Slopes of less than 10% are easy to build on and work well for most projects. A drainage system with a slope within the 11-20% range is considered to be moderate. The building and installation process becomes more difficult when the slope is above 15%. Construction risks increase at that point and thus drive the project’s cost upward.

8. Soil Testing

Soil testing must be performed before any construction project to determine if there are any issues with the soil. Soil testing helps identify potential problems such as contamination, poor drainage, and high levels of heavy metals. If these issues are identified in an early test, they can be addressed before work begins.

9. Construction Documents

Construction documents provide information about how a building should be built. They include drawings, specifications, and other documentation necessary to build a structure. Construction documents contain information about where drains should be located, what types of waterproofing materials are required, and other details necessary to the project.

10. The Cost

When choosing a drainage system, the cost should always be a major factor. Concrete pipe is the most expensive option while clay tile is the least. Other factors to consider include the durability of the product, ease of installation, maintenance requirements, and the environmental friendliness of the product.

Drainage Design Made Easy

Proper knowledge and expertise are critical prerequisites to designing an effective, free-flowing drainage system for your commercial building. To learn more about drainage systems and how to build an effective one, contact a Burrell representative today.

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