SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, BUILDING AND DESIGN
BACHELOR OF QUANTITY SURVEYING (HONOURS)
QSB2714 – Building Services II
Case Study: The Summit
April Semester 2014
Building Services II Case Study Report
Submission Date: 26th June 2013
Name Student ID
Yam Yih Hwan 0305861
Low Rong Tzuoo 0304924
Ng Jun Keat 0314368
Dixon Cheong 0310356
Adrian Ng Kar Chun 0314516
Wong Ha Shiong 0309640
Table of Content Page
Cover Page 1
Table of Content 2
Mechanical & Air-Conditioning Systems 4 - 9
Fire Protection in the Buildings 10 - 14
Problems on Fire Protection 15 - 17
Vertical Transportation System 18 - 19
Problems on Vertical Transportation System 20
Electricity Supply Systems 21 - 22
Recommendations regarding on the Problems 23
Building service is one of a crucial role in a building because it helps a
building to function well. Building service is responsible for the design, installation,
and operation and monitoring of the mechanical, electrical and public health systems
required for the safe, comfortable and environmentally friendly operation of modern
buildings. Modern technology of building service can make a building to become
more safety or more comfortable for visitors of the building. While building
developers are increasingly being asked to analyze and improve building security,
developing technologies assisting engineers in the pursuit of safe working
environments couldn't have better timing. Hence, innovation of new building service
is important so that the level of safety and comfortable can be increases. Building
services influence the architecture of a building and play a significant role on the
sustainability and energy demand of a building.
Recently, we had chosen The Summit located at Subang Jaya, USJ as our
case study, a study to locate all the services within the building. The purpose of us
choosing The Summit as our case study is because The Summit used to be popular
place for youngster & families back in old days, but nowadays it became less and
less popular due to the poor management of the building.
Mechanical & Air-conditioning Systems
First of all, ventilation is the process of replacing the air in an enclosed space
with new and fresh air. It includes extraction and supply of air through mechanical or
natural ventilation. The purpose of ventilation is to control temperature and moisture
and maintain the freshness of the air. Natural ventilation means ventilation without
the mechanical help. It can be achieved by the design of the building layout and
openings with stack effect. Mechanical ventilation uses fans or air conditioning units
to achieve ventilation.
During our visit to The Summit, we found out that both natural and mechanical
systems of ventilation are implemented. In the washrooms, there are 3 openings of
windows to provide ventilation. There is also a fan blower inside, which is of the
In Malaysia where the climate is hot, air conditioning is very important
especially in a shopping complex such as The Summit. So air doors are installed at
every automatic sliding door at The Summit to prevent loss of cool air and prevent
hot air from coming in. Condensers are normally located around the basement level
or the rooftop.
In the main area or lobby of the building, centralized system and air-
conditioning is installed. With this system, fresh or cold air is transfer through ducting
to various part of the building.
The cooling tower is located at the top of the building, along with other
services, for examples; piping, split units & electrical distributor.
Diffusers are where the air comes out and is discharged into the rooms. In
The Summit, we found out 3 types of diffusers that are installed.
The first one is linear diffuser. It is used in open plan rooms and it will hardly
interfere with the pattern of the ceiling. Its direction of air discharge can be changed
to suit the room conditions. It is suitable with high air velocity and it has high
induction slot can have rapid decay of air velocity and temperature.
The second one is the cone diffuser. Its shape can sometimes be square to
match pattern of the ceiling and its inner cone can be lowered or raised to result in
different flow pattern.
The third type of diffuser is the side wall inlet diffuser. It is used when there is
no false ceiling. For every inlet there will be a grill. The air discharge can be
controlled by sets of louvers in vertical or horizontal plane. The flow pattern can be
varied according to room size, velocity and aspect ratio.
Fire Protections in Building
There are two different methods of fire protection, which are passive fire
protection and active fire protection. Active fire protection method requires
mechanical, electric or electronic activation. It is the manual or automatic fire
protection systems such as fire alarms, detectors, wet and dry risers, hose reels,
carbon dioxide fixed installation.
One of the active fire protection systems that we have stumble upon in this
building is fire extinguisher. There are four different types of fire extinguishers, which
are water type, foam type, dry powder type and carbon dioxide. One way to indicate
what type of fire extinguisher is by looking at the colour the fire extinguisher. For
instance, the water type fire extinguisher is red in colour, the foam type fire
extinguisher is yellow in colour, the dry powder fire extinguisher is blue in colour, and
the carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is black in colour.
The types of fire extinguisher that we have found during our survey of the
building are ABC powder fire extinguisher and carbon dioxide fire extinguisher. In
this building, the carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is used more often compared to the
ABC fire extinguisher. There are 18 carbon dioxide fire extinguishers and 9 ABC
powder fire extinguishers on every floor. One of the reasons why there are more
carbon dioxide fire extinguishers is because there are a lot of small restaurants or
hawker stalls. Besides that, the carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are located near the
escape routes, staircase, elevators and cinemas, and the ABC powder fire
extinguishers are located at the center of the building and near the escalators.
The other active fire protection system is hose reel. In this building, there are
nine hose reel located at every escape routes (staircase) on every floor. The hose
reel is made of rubber; it is 19mm diameter and 25m in length. Other than that, the
sprinkler system is also another active fire system that is used in this building. The
sprinklers are fixed at 1m away from each other. Based on what we have learned,
we assumed that they used wet system. This is so, because Malaysia is a tropical
country and there are no risks of freezing. It is also equipped with control valve to
deliver the pressure of the sprinkler water.
In this building, 2 types of fire alarm systems were installed, which are
automatic and manual fire alarms. For the automatic alarm system, it automatically
initiates and activates the alarm when it detects fire. Whereas the manual alarm
system only provides an alarm to be activated only when it is switch on by someone.
An example of an automatic fire alarm system is the fire detection system. There are
many different types of detectors that can be used to automatically activate the alarm
when there is an occurrence of fire. Such as, smoke detectors, heat detectors,
radiation fire detectors, and laser beam detectors, however the detector that the
building is using is smoke detector. Since Summit is a building with large premise,
there are voice communication systems installed in different parts of the building in
event of fire.
Passive fire protection method is an integral component of the structural fire
protection and fire safety in a building. This method attempts to contain fires or
preventing the fire from spreading all over the building. Examples of passive fire
protection methods are fire-resistant walls, floors, and doors and so on. These
passive systems must comply with the associated listing and approval of use in order
to provide effectiveness expected by building codes.
One of the passive fire protection systems that we found after surveying the
building is fire-resistant door. These fire-resistant doors are used mainly for fire
escape doors, which lead to the staircase and protected corridor. The staircase were
properly designed, this being said because there are 13 risers per flight. Besides
that, the dimension of the threads and risers were constructed consistently, there are
no winders built and the length of the landing is not less than the width. There are
fire-rated doors used in this building too. They are mostly located at the fire escape
exits. This is done, so that the people in the building have some time to exit the
building before it collapse in event of fire. In addition, the other passive fire protection
system is fireman lift. The fireman lift is indicated so that in case of fire, the people
will not use it, letting the fire brigade to operate it.
Problems on Fire Protections
The problem that we have found during our survey of this building was that the
fire extinguishers were not send for maintenance. Maintenance has to be done to ensure
that the extinguisher is still functional.
The other problem that we have come across was that the manual fire alarm is ‘not in
Besides that, the fire doors are not in good condition. For example, the quality is
degraded, the doorknob is missing, and the doors should always be closed and should
not be obstructed by any object.
Lastly, their voice communication systems are not in suitable conditions and not
maintenance were carried out.
Vertical Transportation Systems
The differences between hydraulic and electric lifts are electrical lift driven by AC
or DC electric motors. Electrical lift use worm gears to control mechanical movement of
elevator cars by "rolling" steel hoist ropes over a drive sheave which is attached to a
gearbox driven by a high-speed motor. These machines are generally the best option for
basement or overhead traction use for speeds up to 500 feet per minute (3 m/s). The
hydraulic lift in comparison to electrical lift makes them ideal for low rise, low traffic
They are less energy efficient as the pump works against gravity to push the car
and its passengers upwards; this energy is lost when the car descends on its own
weight. The high current draw of the pump when starting up also places higher demands
on a building’s electrical system. There are also environmental concerns should either
the lifting cylinder leak fluid into the ground. The modern generation of low cost, machine
room-less electrical life made possible by advances in miniaturization of the traction
motor and control systems challenges the supremacy of the hydraulic lift in their
traditional market niche.
These days there are few advantages to hydraulic lifts other than price. Hydraulic
lifts are inherently dangerous because if there is a catastrophic oil line failure the
elevator will drop uncontrolled. Hydraulic lifts are limited to about 6 or 7 floors max.
Changing the rated speed would require a complete replacement or re-engineering of
the pump unit. The hydraulic lifts are nature more eco-friendly.
The population of Summit mall is around 5000. Area of The Summit mall is about
1.2 million square feet; it is a commercial building consists of 9 floors included
basements. There is only one bus stop in front of The Summit; The Summit is poor in
position of building in relation to public transport services, which means it has low
passenger peaks during arrival hours.
Escalator is a conveyor transport designed for moving people quickly and
efficiently between floors of a building. There are two types of escalator in The Summit
which are one way traffic of single bank with interrupted traffic in one direction on every
floor and two-way traffic parallel located in the cinema.
Problems on Vertical Transportation Systems
In The Summit, the lift car capacity is 20 passengers, life entrances is 1160mm
wide with 2 pieces of doors, door closing time is 50 seconds for 1160mm width doors
and passenger transfer time is 50 seconds in and out. It’s ridiculously slow compared to
other places. The lift arrangement consists of only one lift for 9 floors including basement
levels and the quality of the service is below average.
Moreover, we found that there are few problems of the vertical transportation in
The Summit. There are 5 passenger and 6 fire’s man lifts on every floor, but we realized
that there is only one passenger lift working among all. Most likely, the shoppers use the
fire’s man lift to travel from 1 floor to the other. The Summit used hydraulic lifts, it
supposed to be low vibration and noise, but we found that it causes a lot of vibration and
noise; we assumed that it has less maintenance on the vertical transportation.
Electricity Supply Systems
The main switch boards are located around the building examples are at the
rooftop, at the ground floor and the basement parking. The pictures above show the
different location of the main switch board. The function of the main switch board act as
an assembly of switches and circuit protection devices from which power is distributed. It
is totally enclosed, sheet steel fabricated. It also distributes large incoming supply into
smaller, easily controlled parcel. One of the more mutual configurations for an electric
switchboard is a series of interconnected electrical panels. Each of the panels in turn
features a series of switches that make it possible to control the flow of electricity.
Making use of the switches, it is possible to adjust the voltage that is transmitted to
connected devices, ensuring that the flow is not sufficient to cause damage to the
circuitry. From this perspective, we can see that the electric switchboard can be viewed
as a way of enhancing the safety of using electricity in the operation of various
appliances, machinery, and other devices.
Recommendations regarding on the Problems
We would like to recommend an external fire hydrant for The Summit because the
nearest fire hydrant we could found was located at The Giant. Every building must have
at least 1 fire hydrant located not more than 91.5 meters from the nearest point of fire
breakage access. The closest fire hydrant is located at giant which is 51 meters away, a
good one should be 6 meter away. For commercial buildings, the 19mm hose reel
diameter is not good enough as it pump out lesser water; we would recommend a 25mm
diameter hose reel. As for the hose reel length, The Summit uses the 25 meter in total
length; but we would the recommended the 30 meters length as it could cover a larger
area compared to 25 meters. The fire detection system found in The Summit is smoke
detector and I would like to recommend heat detector, because heat detector respond
when the converted thermal energy of a fire increases the temperature of a heat
sensitive element. The number of detectors fitted should not be less than 1 in 50 meter
square. For flat horizontal ceiling, every point should not exceed 5.3 meter. The
fireman’s lift passenger transfer time is too long; normally it should be 1.6 – 2.0 s in and
We highly recommend an electrical elevator for The Summit. There are two types
of driving systems for rope-type elevators include drum method and traction method.
The drum method uses a variable speed motor that winds the cable onto a drum and
then on descent allows the car to use its weight to help with lowering. Traction method is
when the elevator cars are pulled up by means of rolling steel ropes over a deeply
grooved pulley, the weight of the car is balanced by a counterweight. The traction
method includes two types which is geared and gearless. Geared means the motor
rotation is reduced using a speed reducer equipped with worm and transmitted to the
traction sheave of the traction machine. Gearless means the traction sheaves is
connected directly to the shaft of the traction motor, and motor rotation is transmitted
directly to the traction sheave without any intermediate gearing. The main advantages of
traction elevators are speed and availability for high-rise use, consume less energy than
In conclusion, there is no doubt that building services is vital in a building.
Building services is ‘what makes a building alive’ so everything inside of a building which
make it safe and comfortable comes under the title of ‘building services’. Without
building services, we won’t have lighting, heat, escalator, lift, acoustics, plumbing, power
supply, the security and safety system in a building so without all this it will only be a
cold, dark and uninhabitable building.
Since we are on the subject of building services, Summit’s building services is not
what we expected because many of the safety system are spoiled and are poorly
maintained. Examples are the emergency phone and the fire escape door which is
allocated near the stairs. Not only that, many of the lifts in The Summit are not
functioning causing the peoples to use both the stairs and escalator only. The population
in summit is lesser compared to other shopping complex like mid valley Megamall,
Subang Parade or 1 Utama. So after the research, we hope the owner of summit will
take the responsibilities to improve and maintain the services in the building to secure a
safe and comfortable environment for the shoppers and the workers which work in the
building for several hours. Our first impression of the building is that It is dull and dark
so by improving its lighting to be more brighter and also by adding some decoration it
can attract more shoppers to shop in this building.
So lastly, my group and I had learned a lot stuff through this project, many new
experience and most importantly we’ve learn to work as a team because by working as
a team, we can accomplish goals.
Name Work Scope for Report
Yam Yih Hwan Introduction, Appendix & Pictures, Compilation
Low Rong Tzuoo Vertical Transportation Systems & Problems
Ng Jun Keat Recommendations
Dixon Cheong Conclusion, Electricity Supply Systems
Adrian Ng Kar Chun Fire Protection in Buildings & Problems
Wong Ha Shiong Mechanical & Air-Conditioning Systems