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Structural Layout........................................................................................... 2
Introduction............................................................................................... 2

Concept/Preliminary design of Buildings............................................2

Choice of Structural Form...................................................................3

1.3 Floor systems....................................................................................... 5


Preliminary size of structural member...............................................7


Structural principles........................................................................7


Vertical bracing systems...............................................................10


Bracings systems.........................................................................15

2.0 Structural Layout of Pipe Racks.........................................................16

3.0 Structural Layout of Tank farm...............................................................29
Design Considerations for Tankfarm Layout:.................................................31
Plot Plan Arrangement for Tankfarm............................................................32
Dyke Enclosure........................................................................................ 33

Structural Layout

Concept/Preliminary design of Buildings

Decisions taken at concept/Preliminary design stage will influence the extent to which the
actual structure approximates to the ideal, but so will decisions taken at detailed design








The ideal structure must not collapse in use. It must be capable of carrying the loading
required of it with the appropriate factor of safety. This is more significant at detailed
design stage as generally any sort of preliminary design can be made safe. Pay particular
attention to fire requirements however.
The ideal structure must not suffer from local deterioration/failure, from excessive
deflection or vibration. Detailed design cannot correct faults induced by bad preliminary
The structure must make minimal demands on labour and capital; it must cost as little as
possible to build and maintain. At preliminary design stage it means choosing the right
types of material for the major elements of the structure, and arranging these in the right
The structure must be pleasing to look at. Decisions about form and materials are made
at preliminary design stage; the sizes of individual members are finalised at detailed
design stage.
Things that are discussed and attended to during the concept design stage:
Type of construction reinforced concrete, precast concrete, reinforced masonry,
structural steel, cold-formed steel, wood, etc.
Column locationsA uniform grid facilitates repetitive member sizes, reducing the
cost and increasing the speed of construction. Bay dimensions may also be optimized to
minimize material quantities while efficiently accommodating specific space requirements,
such as parking garages and partition layouts.
Bracing or shear wall locationsHorizontal forces due to wind, earthquakes, etc.
must be transferred down from the superstructure to the foundations. The most efficient
means of accomplishing this is usually to provide vertical bracing or shear walls oriented
in each principle direction, which must be coordinated with functional and aesthetic
requirements for partitions, doors, and windows.
Floor and roof penetrationsSpecial framing is often required to accommodate
stairs, elevators, mechanical chases, exhaust fans, and other openings.
Floor-to-floor heightsAdequate space must be provided for not only the structure
itself, but also raised floors, suspended ceilings, ductwork, piping, lights, and cable runs
for power, communications, computer networks, etc. This may affect the type of floor
system (reinforced concrete beams, joists, or flat plates; structural steel beams or open
web steel joists; cold-formed steel or wood joists or trusses) that is selected.
Exterior claddingThe building envelope not only defines the appearance of the
facility, but also serves as the barrier between the inside and outside worlds. It must be
able to resist wind and other weather effects while permitting people, light, and air to pass
through openings such as doors, windows, and louvers.



Equipment and utility arrangementsLarge equipment (air handling units,

condensers, chillers, boilers, transformers, switchgear, etc.) and suspended utilities
(ductwork, piping, light fixtures, conduits, cable trays, etc.) require adequate support,
especially in areas subject to seismic activity that can induce significant horizontal forces.
Modifications to existing buildingsChanging the type of roof or roofing material,
adding new equipment, and removing load-bearing walls are common examples of
renovation measures that require structural input.
Any discrepancy from above scrutiny should be brought to the notice of the Architect in an
RFI, these matters should be sorted out before proceeding with any design.
The principal criteria which influence the choice of structural material are:
a. Strength
b. Durability (resistance to corrosion);
c. Architectural requirements;
d. Versatility
e. Safety
f. Speed of erection
g. Maintenance
h. Cost
i. Craneage.

Choice of Structural Form

Key Principles in Choosing Structural Form

Factors include:
1. Technical Requirements
Structure Scale:
Stability in all directions Vertical and Orthogonal Horizontals
Accommodation of movement either by joints or stress design
Global load paths are identified
Element Scale:
Proportional sizes,
Global actions are allowed for in the element scheme
2. Economic Requirements
Raw cost can it be locally sourced?
Placement cost e.g. block layers are expensive currently
Transport of fabricated elements special requirements?
Is the structure repeatable as possible
Minimum number of trades on site
Transport/craneage appropriate for the material considered?
3. Functional Requirements
Building Service Integration:
Expect holes in beams allow for it early on

Flat soffits are beneficial in heavily serviced buildings

Client's focus:
Speculative commercial will require clear spans for example
Landmark headquarters will possibly mean a dramatic structure
Complement the architecture if possible
Get involved as early as possible in the design
Minimize structural depths if required
Drainage schemes to be appropriate to site and local drainage
Environmental considerations
Choice of Form
The span of the structure is the main consideration. For the two usual forms of
construction, the first of the following charts advises what forms of construction are
appropriate for what spans for steel and concrete. The second chart gives a comparison
of the weights of structure required for various spans and types of construction for singlestorey steel buildings. These buildings tend to be extremely well engineering
Consider needs to be given to the coordination of mechanical, electrical, plumbing,
egress, architectural, civil, landscaping, ?re-protection, security and more. You need to
account for others disciplines requirements of your structure coordination area's are:
plumbing and process piping engineering disciplines, including but not limited to various
water, waste and drainage systems, process and fuel gasses, medical gasses, vacuum
services, special process fluids, as well as associated fixtures, equipment, controls and
appurtenances. Service cores should be of a size sufficient size and in vertical alignment.
Examples are

Beam penetrations are provided for duct work and piping;

slab edges are designed and detailed to accept the fascia;
Floor openings are coordinated with the stairs and elevators;
Openings are provided for mechanical shafts; and Floor to Foor height is developed
considering building usage, utility and ceiling requirements.
Roof geometry must suite the projected usage of the facility; considering such
constraints as utilities, security, piping and suspended loading
Depth of roof must accommodate suspended HVAC units and other process related
Maximum shipping depth varies based on shop location and site location, local
ordinance, over-the-road clearances, trucking availability, shop capacity or size
Maximum shipping length varies based on trucking availability, local ordinance, shop
crane capacity, shop size restrictions, site lay down area, installation crane capacity, and
handling and lateral stability requirements.
Maximum weight of shipping piece varies based on trucking availability, local
ordinance, shop crane capacity and installation crane capacity.
Bracing geometry should suite the usage of the facility, considering openings, and
other penetrations and circulation requirements in the ?nal facility.
Elevations must be coordinated with the final usage of the facility or finished
elevation requirements.

Shoring requirements, special erection needs, design assumptions very helpful

additions to the design documents.
The lateral stability of the structure is a function of the initial design assumptions, the
erection sequence and the erector- installed temporary bracing. Regardless of the nature
of the structure, the erector is responsible
for the lateral stability as it is installed. The erector's temporary
bracing must therefore sustain the forces imposed on the structure during the
installation process.
Design of concrete framed facilities also requires a similar under- standing of the
construction process and coordination.
Shoring and re-shoring requirements.
Loading and support of concrete.
Joint location and details in slabs on grade and walls.
Precast shipping restrictions or trucking availability.
Cold or hot weather concreting procedures noted within the design documents.
Layout of column anchor bolts including the foundation rein-forcing provides the
basis for accurate initial construction.
1.3 Floor systems
The principal structural elements of a typical multi-storey building comprise floors, beams and
columns. A wide variety of alternative forms and arrangements can be used in multi-storey steel
framed structures.

The principal structural elements of a typical multi-storey building

Floor slabs: Several different types of slab can be used, in either composite or non composite form.

A number of different floor slab types can be used in association with a steel frame. The floor slab
usually spans one way; it is either simply supported or continuous. Most slab types can be
designed to act compositely with the supporting beams if adequate shear connection is provided
Composite floors consist of a concrete topping cast onto metal decking.
Composite floor slabs use metal decking, which spans between secondary steel beams usually
spaced at between 2.5 and 3m centres. Concrete, which may be either lightweight or normal
weight, is then poured onto the decking, usually by pumping, to make up the composite system.
Metal decking acts both as permanent formwork for the concrete, eliminating the need to provide
props, and as tensile reinforcement for the slab. Steel bars are included in the slab to prevent
cracking and to provide reinforcement in the event of degradation of the decking in a fire.
Alternative arrangements of primary and secondary beams can be adopted for an optimum deck
span of 3m. And a typical system is illustrated.
There are many types of steel decking available, but perhaps the most commonly used is the reentrant profile type which provides a flat soffit and facilitates fixings for services and ceilings.

Primary and secondary steel beams


Preliminary size of structural member

Primary beams can be sized according to the following:

maximum span = 15m

Floor beam depth = span/20

Roof beam depth = span/25

Secondary beams can be sized according to the following:

maximum span = 12m

Floor beam depth = span/25

Roof beam depth = span/30

Composite slabs are typically 125 to 150mm thick (overall) and can span up to 3.5m


Structural principles

The structure must be designed safely to carry the applied loadings.

The structure must have adequate strength and stiffness to resist the applied loads due to gravity
and wind. The function of the structure in resisting vertical loads due to gravity and horizontal loads
due to wind is generally considered separately.
The principal floor loadings are due to the self weight of the building and its occupancy. These are
referred to as 'dead' and 'superimposed' (or 'imposed') loads respectively.
The floor loadings to be supported by the structure have two components:

The permanent or dead loading comprising the self-weight of the flooring and the
supporting structure together with the weight of finishes, raised flooring, ceiling, air-conditioning
ducts and equipment.

The superimposed loading which is the load that the floor is likely to sustain during
its life and will depend on the use. Superimposed floor loading for various types of building are
governed by BS 6399, but the standard loading for office buildings required by developers and
funding agencies is usually 4kN/m2 where movable partitioning is used.
Dead and superimposed loads in commercial buildings are often approximately equal.
For normal office loadings, dead and superimposed loadings are roughly equal in proportion but
higher superimposed load allowances will be necessary in areas of plant or to accommodate
special requirements such as storage or heavy equipment. The optimum structural solution is to
locate any heavier loadings close to columns or where the floor spans are shorter.
The design of the floor structure is concerned mainly with vertical loads. The criteria determining
member sizes depend on floor span.
The criteria determining the choice of a member size in a floor system varies with the span.
In some cases deflection limits may need to be stricter than those specified in design codes.
In practice, floors will be designed to limit sagging deflection under the superimposed loadings. The
British Standard BS 5950 governing the design of structural steelwork sets a limit on deflection
under superimposed loading of span/200 generally, and span/360 where there are brittle finishes.
For very long spans, this limit is likely to be inadequate; for example, the sag allowed by the code
on a 15m span girder would be 42mm and the designer may consider setting more stringent limits.
Edge beams supporting cladding will be subject to restriction on deflection of 10-15mm. Deflections
may be noticeable in the ceiling layout, and should be taken into account when determining the

available cumulative effect of deflections in the individual members of a floor system, although the
actual maximum displacement is in practice almost always less than those predicted by theoretical
Floor vibrations may need to be controlled.
In some instances, vibrations of floor components may cause discomfort or affect sensitive
equipment, and the designer should always check the fundamental frequency of the floor system.
The threshold of perceptible vibrations in buildings is difficult to define and present limits are rather
arbitrary. There is some evidence that modern lightweight floors can be sensitive to dynamic loads
which may have an effect on delicate equipment, but generally only for very long spans or light
Building structures should have sufficient lateral rigidity to resist likely wind loads.
Steel buildings have to be rigid enough in the horizontal direction to resist wind and other lateral
loads. In tall buildings, the means of providing sufficient lateral rigidity forms the dominant design
consideration and developments in this field have led to the construction of taller and taller
buildings such as the John Hancock Building or the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Most multi-storey buildings are designed on the basis that wind forces acting on the external
cladding are transmitted to the floors which form horizontal diaphragms, transferring the lateral load
to rigid elements and then to the ground. These rigid elements are usually either lattice or rigid
jointed frames or reinforced concrete shear walls.

Lateral load bearing systems

For most multi-storey buildings, functional requirements will determine the column grid which will
dictate spans where the limiting criteria will be rigidity rather than strength.
Floor framing systems may be either simply supported or rigid at the supports. Continuous
construction is more efficient structurally, giving shallower floors, but heavier columns, increased
complexity at junctions and connections with higher fabrication costs. In practice, the great majority
of steel framed multi-storey buildings use simple construction.

Floor framing
In addition to strength and stiffness, building structures must be designed to avoid progressive
collapse in the event of a catastrophic accident.
The partial collapse of a system-built multi-storey building at Ronan Point in 1968 following a gas
explosion, led to a fundamental reappraisal of the approach to structural stability in buildings. This
centred on the need to limit the extent of any damage in the event of catastrophic or accidental
loadings. This concept of robustness in building design requires that any major structural element
must either be designed for blast loading, or be capable of being removed without precipitating
progressive collapse of other parts of the structure. This can be demonstrated by considering
alternative load paths and structural actions in the damaged state.
In addition, there is a requirement for suitable ties to be incorporated in the horizontal direction in
the floors and in the vertical direction through the columns. The designer should be aware of the
consequences of the sudden removal of key elements of the structure and ensure that such an
event does not lead to the progressive collapse of the building or a substantial part of it.


Vertical bracing systems

A variety of structural forms can be used to provide lateral stability. The principal systems are shear
walls, lattice frames and rigid frames, but more sophisticated systems may be needed for very tall
Shear walls resist wind forces in bending by cantilever action and where they already exist, for
instance to provide a fire protected service core, are an efficient method of carrying lateral loads.
Lattice frames act as vertical steel trusses. Rigid jointed frames are less effective in providing
lateral rigidity because of shear distortion in the vertical members. The British Standard BS 5950
sets a limit on lateral deflection of columns as height/300 but height/600 is a more reasonable
figure for buildings where the external envelope consists of sensitive or brittle materials such as
stone facings.
Rigid frames resist lateral loads by bending in the beams, columns and connections.
Rigid frames resist lateral forces through the stiffness provided by rigid joints between the
horizontal floor components and vertical columns. The need to resist bending moments from wind
loads increases the size of the column members and the complexity of the framing connections.
For these reasons, rigid frames are only used when there is a particular functional reason for their
use, such as the need to provide unobstructed interior space with total adaptability.

One possible exception to this general rule, is the facade frame with a combination of closely
spaced external columns and deep spandrel facade beams. Such a system is usually used for very
tall buildings where the facade frame forms a rigid tube.

Rigid frames resist lateral forces through the stiffness provided by rigid joints
Rigid frames avoid any intrusion but are relatively expensive.
The advantages of the rigid frame are that:

open bays between all columns are created,

total internal adaptability is provided,

However, the disadvantages are that:

They are almost always more expensive than other systems,

Columns are larger than for simple connections.

Generally, they are less stiff than other bracing systems with large complex
Lattice frames act as vertical trusses and a number of different forms are commonly used.
Lattice frames act as vertical trusses which support the wind loads by cantilever action. The
bracing members can be arranged in a variety of forms designed to carry solely tension, or
alternatively tension and compression. When designed to take only tension, the bracing is made up
of crossed diagonals. Depending on the wind direction, one diagonal will take all the tension while
the other is assumed to remain inactive. Tensile bracing is smaller in cross-section than the
equivalent strut and is usually made up of a back-to-back channel or angle sections. When
designed to resist compression, the bracings become struts and the most common arrangement is
the `V' brace.

Typical cross bracing and `K' bracing

Lattice frames are efficient and unobtrusive, if detailed carefully.
The advantages of lattice frames are that:

lattice panels can be arranged to accommodate doors and openings for services,

bracing members can be concealed in partition walls,

they provide an efficient bracing system.

The disadvantages are that:

diagonal members with fire proofing can take up considerable space,

adaptability is limited.
However, with careful design these difficulties can be avoided
Reinforced concrete shear walls and cores act in a similar way to lattice frame bracing.

Shear walls are normally constructed in in-situ reinforced concrete, but may be either pre-cast
concrete of brickwork. They are more rigid than other forms of bracing, and there is a need for
fewer of them. Shear cores are shear walls in box form which provide torsional or twisting
resistance as well as providing a highly effective bracing system.
Shear walls are effective but may create difficulties during construction.
The advantages of shear walling are that:

concrete walls tend to be thinner than other bracing systems and hence save space
in congested areas such as service and lift cores,

they are very rigid and highly effective,

They act as fire compartment walls.

The disadvantages are that:

they constitute a separate form of construction which may delay the contract

it is difficult to provide connections between steel and concrete to transfer the large
forces generated.
For more information on advantages/disadvantages of shear walling please click here
The floor structure transfers lateral loads from the faade to the bracing system.
All stability systems use the floor plate as a diaphragm to transfer lateral loads from their point of
application to the bracing elements. The designer should ensure that the floor is capable of
performing this function.

Diaphragm action of floors

Bracing must ensure lateral stability in all directions and also torsional stability.
The bracing must be arranged on plan to ensure lateral stability in at least two directions, which
should be approximately perpendicular - typically these correspond to the principal axes of the
building. This will effectively ensure stability in all directions.

Torsional stability should also be ensured. This can be done by using an approximately symmetric
plan arrangement, ideally with the bracing elements located close to the perimeter of the building.
Suitable location of bracing elements is therefore a fundamental requirement of the bracing system


Bracings systems

In order to allow any horizontal loads however directed to be balanced, it is necessary to locate
sufficient number vertical bracings. To this purpose, the following requirements have to be satisfied.

It has to be possible to consider any floor system as a plane structure, restrained by

the vertical bracing system.
Vertical bracing systems, as external restrains of the floor system, have to provide a
system of at least three degree of restrains.
The floor systems have to be able to elastically resist the internal forces due to the
applied horizontal loads.
In order to fulfill requirement (a), diagonal bracings have to be introduced in the plane of floor, thus
transforming the floor system itself into an horizontal truss. As an alternative, the slab in
prefabricated concrete elements of the floor system can be assumed to directly resist the horizontal
forces as plane plate structure, being its deformability normally negligible.
In case of concrete slabs, the erection of the steel skeleton requires particular care, because it is
unable until the floor elements are placed. Temporary bracings are therefore necessary during this
provisional phase.
In order to fulfill requirement (b), the vertical steel bracings systems are active in their own plane
only and therefore they represent a simple restraint for the floor system. When reinforcement
concrete bracings are used, they can have one, two, or three degrees of restraint for the floor
system. When reinforcement concrete bracing are used,

Depending upon their resistance to one plane bending(wall), bi-axial bending or bi-axial bending
and torsion (core), respectively.

Finally, requirement ( C) is fulfilled by evaluating internal forces in the floor elements due to the
maximum horizontal forces that the vertical bracing systems are able to transit. Also vertical
bracing system location has to be considered.

2.0 Structural Layout of Pipe Racks

The various loads to be applied to a pipe rack are the following:
- Dead loads including weight of fireproofing, weight of pipes and weight of air coolers
- Live loads due to access platforms,
- The weight of the liquids in pipes,
- The thermal loads due to the expansion and/or contraction of the pipes and of the structure,
- Various loads transmitted by the pipes and due to operating or accidental conditions, valve
- The wind loads,
- The earthquake loads.
All these loads will be examined in a separate chapter as well as the various load combinations to
be applied.

The span, width, column, main girder, longitudinal girder, intermediate girder, braced bay (or
stability bay) and bracing are defined on the figure here above. Frame: pipe rack element including
two columns located in the same transversal plane and the main girders connected to these

The pipe racks are made either of steelwork or of reinforced concrete or are made of mixed
structure, steelwork and concrete. The selection of construction materials takes into account
location, schedule constraints, costs and fireproofing specificity of the project. As a general rule,
unit pipe racks are made of steel with fireproofing except when they support air coolers. In that last
case, they are made of concrete. Utilities and interconnecting pipe racks are made of steel. When
reinforced concrete is adopted, precast construction is preferred. More details on the various types
of structures are given here after as well as their advantages and disadvantages. In addition to the
choice of the material, the conceptual design of the structure must take into account the
construction method that will be used.
Structural steel
This material is the most commonly used. Several alternates may be met. In most cases, all the
connections columns/main girders are restrained (moment resisting). The width may vary from 4 to
10 meters. The span is generally limited to 12 meters. The longitudinal girders are simple steel
profiles; they are generally hinged at the ends unless restrained ends are more effective to control
deflections (i.e. for long spans). Braced bays are made with diagonals. The second alternate
commonly met has a span of 12 to 18 meters. The difference with previous alternate is that
longitudinal girders are made of truss. This configuration may cause some inconvenient at pipe
branches since they may lead to remove some diagonals to prevent from interference with pipes.
Therefore this arrangement shall preferably be used for road crossing. It may be used also for
interconnecting pipe racks. Another alternate may consist in the replacement of column fixed ends
by the use of diagonals, for instance as shown in figure 2 provided that the designer has checked
that the piping layout or the plot plan as far as clearance, head room and access are concerned.
These alternates may be combined together.
Reinforced concrete
This material is less commonly used than structural steel. One of the main disadvantages of the
reinforced concrete is the site constraint related to cast in place concrete. The use of prefabricated
concrete elements allows quick erection. The main problem remaining with prefabricated elements
lays in the design of connections. The designer will try to avoid as much as possible moment
resisting connections in order to simplify the connection design and to allow a quicker and easier
erection of the pipe racks.
Two layer pipe rack
When considering the bending moments, the best would be to have the lower main girder
restrained at ends and the upper one hinged at ends. Sometimes, for construction reasons, the
reverse situation is met for more economical in-situ joints.
Three or more layer pipe rack
The lowest main girder shall be restrained at ends, the upper one too; intermediate girders may be
hinged at ends.
Location of moment connection (prefabricated piperacks)
If the moment connection is located close to the column, the bending moments are maximum, the
reinforcement too. Section of members are frequently congestion with rebars so that detailed
arrangement shall be provided to the prefabricator on drawings as far as use of mechanical bar
connector (splices), sleeves, grouting, counter-plates, etc. Casting the connection in-situ may be

long and difficult. Relocating the connection close to 25 % of the width could minimize the
reinforcement inside the connection. On the other hand, columns would be prefabricated with long
appendices at the location of the beams resulting in more costly formwork, difficult handling and
Longitudinal girders
The longitudinal girders shall be preferably hinged at the ends in order to have easy connections.
This will lead to design a braced bay, as in the case of structural steel.
Intermediate girders
Usually intermediate girders are made of steel.
Braced bay
The braced bay may consist of concrete frames, with longitudinal girders restrained at the ends. It
may also consist of hinged longitudinal girders and diagonals (as for structural steel). In order to
maximize prefabrication, diagonals may be made of structural steel.
Mixed structures
As mentioned above, structures may be made also of a mix of prefabricated concrete elements
and structural steel.
Starting form a concrete structure, many possibilities are offered to the designer:
- Use of steel intermediate girders (very common solution)
- Use of steel diagonals,
- Use of steel longitudinal girders,
- Use of frames with a lower part made of concrete and the upper made of steel.
Tee post pipe rack
In case of one layer pipe rack, with a small width and small height, vertical loads well balanced and
low horizontal loads, it will be preferable to have tee-post pipe racks with one column instead of
two per frame.
2.5 Thermal expansion and maximum length
Due to their length and to the variations of the ambient temperature, pipe racks are subject to
important thermal expansion or contraction. In order to limit the effects of this thermal expansion or
contraction in terms of stresses in the structure, expansion joints are provided. Provided a
maximum distance between two consecutive expansion joints is complied with, thermal stresses
may be omitted. This maximum distance depends on the climatic conditions and, on a theoretical
point of view, on the stiffness of the structure. For concrete pipe racks, the maximum length
between braced bay and pipe rack ends will generally be limited to 20 m when the maximum
temperature variation amplitude is -25C/+25C or less, 15 m for higher temperature variations.
When the bracing bay is located in the middle of the branch, the maximum length, end to end,
should respectively in the range of 40 metres and 30 metres. For steel pipe racks, these limits are

higher, 30 m for temperature variation amplitude 25C/+25C and 25 for higher temperature.
Longer pipe racks may be designed and built. The design will take into account the thermal
stresses developed in these conditions and will allow either relaxation of the stresses by adequate
means (hinged connections, sliding connections) or additional strength by larger sections (not
As a general rule, for load analysis of pipe rack, reference shall be made to the design criteria
specification. First of all and before review of the various loads that may be applied to a pipe rack,
it must be reminded that some loads must be taken into account locally for the design of a girder.
They will not be taken into account in the design of frames, columns or braced bays unless they
are generated by special pipe supporting structures such as large transfer lines, which shall be
covered by particular design conditions.
These loads are assumed to occur once or twice on the total length of a pipe rack at a location
which is not defined. They will have an influence locally but not on the overall design of the pipe
rack.They will be clearly identified as such.
Dead loads (DL)
Own weight
As usual, dead loads include the own weight of the structure including platforms, ladders and
miscellaneous and including also fireproofing.
The weight of pipes, even when empty, is included in the pipe loads.
The weight of the cables and of the supporting trays should be provided by the Electrical and
Instrumentation departments. In absence of data, an average weight of 1.0 kN/m2 for one standard
tray may be taken.
Air coolers and other equipment
The weight of air coolers (or other equipment) must be provided by the equipment manufacturer.
These data should be provided with the detail layout of the supports of the air coolers on the pipe
Live loads (LL)
The live loads are those on the platforms or access.
Pipe loads
Gravity loads
These loads correspond to the weight of the pipes and of the liquid inside. Three main cases may
be considered: erection, operation and test with corresponding load symbols PE, PO and PT.
Erection: does not call for particular comments. The corresponding load may be considered as the
weight of the pipes when empty during operations. Operation: corresponds to weight of pipes in
use, i. e. with fluid inside (liquid or gas). For cold lines, the possible presence of ice must be taken

into account if no (or insufficient) insulation is provided. Test: corresponds to the weight of the pipes
when tested. Usually they are tested full of water. In some circumstances, for instance for flare
lines, this may lead to an important over design of many beams and/or columns. In that case, the
possibility of an air test must be investigated.
Pipes with diameter less than or equal to 12 inches (300 mm)
a. Loads
The loads of these pipes are usually not provided by the Piping department. They are assumed to
be known to the Civil Engineering department.
The loads will depend on the diameter of the lines at the considered layer but in order to simplify
the design, the following loads are considered.
Erection condition (or empty condition) 0.5 kN/m2 maximum
Operation condition 2.0 kN/m2 minimum
Test condition:
For girders supporting four pipes or less, all the pipes shall be considered as full of water.
For girders supporting more than four pipes, 50% of the pipes shall be considered as full of water
and chosen in order to produce maximum stresses. Other pipes shall be considered as empty.
The loads shall be applied on the entire surface occupied by the pipes including empty spaces.
The above loads are valid for non insulated pipes. Regarding insulated pipes, the weight of
insulation should be considered but, since the spacing between pipes shall be larger, the above
loads are also considered for insulated pipes.
b. Spreading of loads
Small pipes must be supported at close distances, typically 3 metres. Larger lines may be
supported at larger distances. For that reason the spreading of the loads between main girders and
intermediate girders is not equal. The following spreading may be used. The need for intermediate
girders and their spacing must be given by the Piping department.
13 % of the load shall be applied on each intermediate girder, the remaining on the main girder.
Example: with intermediate girders every 3 metres,
Distance between main girders 6 9 12
Number of intermediate girders 1 2 3
Load on intermediate girders 13 % 27 % 40 %
Load on main girders 87 % 73 % 60 %
Pipes with diameter larger than 12 inches (300mm)

Loads shall be considered loads at the actual location of the pipe supports. Values shall be given
by the Piping department.
Horizontal loads (TL)
Types of loads
The horizontal loads, either longitudinal or transversal, are due to various phenomena.
The contraction or expansion of pipes will cause horizontal forces, longitudinal but also transversal
since pipes may have loops, tee-junction, etc.
Usually a pipe rack is designed so that, in normal temperature conditions, no thermal loads are
applied to the structure. This means that the length of the pipe rack is limited to the maximum
length defined in Chapter 3.
The thermal loads brought by the pipes are due to hot or cold pipes. Pipes at ambient temperature
do not bring thermal loads.
In other words these loads cannot occur during erection or tests since these operations are made
at ambient temperature. They cannot occur also when the pipes are empty but they may occur with
pipes full with gas.
The thermal loads are quasi constant when the pipe is full and in operation.
The fluid under pressure in the pipes may also induce horizontal loads which will be transmitted to
the pipe rack through the pipe supports. When the pressure is a normal pressure in operation
conditions, the loads are quasi permanent.
The pipe supports are of two types, sliding and fixed.
When a support is sliding, the force it transmits to the pipe rack cannot be more than the vertical
load on the support (weight of the pipe in operation) times the friction coefficient of the support.
When a support is fixed, it may transmit any load to the pipe rack. A fixed support shall never be on
an intermediate girder.
The loads transmitted through the pipe supports will then not be the same for all girders and
For a given pipe and its support, it is not possible to add friction loads and anchor loads.
Two other types of horizontal pipe loads may occur:
Valve release loads may take place only at the location of a valve. High values may be obtained at
the beginning of the release, then the loads come to lesser values. These loads are given by the
Piping department. Load values
Valve release loads

As mentioned above, valve release loads shall be given by the Piping department. They usually
give only the peak load. This peak load is a dynamic load which is critical in the design of the girder
which supports directly the valve. For the design of the other components of the pipe racks,
columns, other girders, foundations, 60 % only of the peak value shall be considered. Unless
specified otherwise, it will be considered that only one valve release takes place at a time.
Other horizontal loads
For pipes of a diameter larger than 12 inches (300 mm), the horizontal anchor loads are usually
provided by the Piping department
The above mentioned load are only given for fixed supports. For sliding supports, the horizontal
loads cannot be more than the vertical load times the friction coefficient of the pipe
support. If the loads are not available by the time of the pipe rack design, it is recommended to
apply the same rules as for pipes smaller than or equal to 12 inches (300 mm).
For pipes of a diameter smaller than or equal to 12 inches, the following rules will apply.
Design of a pipe supporting girder will be done with a horizontal longitudinal force equal to
10 % of the operating weight of the pipes supported by the girder. This force has a local effect. It
shall not be taken into consideration for the design of other components, frame, column, bracing,
foundation, etc. Each main supporting girder shall be designed, in addition, to withstand a
longitudinal concentrated load equal to 10 kN and located so as to produce the maximum stresses.
This load shall not be added to the previous one. This load is assumed to have only a local effect
and shall not be considered for the design of columns, foundations and bracing.
Pipe rack frames shall be designed taking into account transversal loads at each layer equal to 5 %
of the weight of the pipes at this layer or 5 kN whichever is the greater. These loads shall be taken
into consideration in the design of foundations. For braced bays, anchor forces transmitted by
longitudinal girders are an arbitrary load of 5 % of the total pipe load per layer unless pipe stress
analysis dictates a higher value. The force is supported equally by the two sides of the pipe rack
(except if it is obviously wrong and if another distribution is more adapted). The forces shall be
distributed to the foundations.
Friction coefficients
. If not, the following values may be considered.
Surfaces Coefficient
Steel on steel 0.35
Teflon on stainless steel 0.10
Teflon on Teflon 0.10
Longitudinal girders
Longitudinal girders shall be calculated as follows:
Vertical loads

Gravity loads from intermediate girders

Concentrated vertical load of 15 kN if more unfavourable (local load)
Compression load
15 % of the vertical on the most loaded adjacent column (local load)
Horizontal load
An arbitrary horizontal load of 7.5 kN located at mid-span (local load)
Accidental loads Surge loads (AL)
Accidental horizontal (or vertical) pipe loads may occur due to surge in the pipes. The values are
always given by the Piping department. Only few lines may be concerned. This phenomenon may
involve several lines at a time. But, unless specified otherwise, it will be considered that only one
line is concerned at a time.
Since these loads are accidental, they shall be considered as such in load combinations and the
appropriate load factors will be used. Of course, surge loads cannot be combined with wind or
earthquake loads.
These loads last a very short time and are transient loads. It means that, the energy brought by the
surge is dissipated also as movement (deformations) and heat (damping) in the structure. This
dissipation means that surge loads will be considered for the girders or elements close to the pipe
supports where the load takes place. They are assumed to be local loads. Foundations or remote
elements of the structure shall not be designed to withstand the surge loads.
3.4 Wind loads (WL)
3.4.1 Transversal wind loads
As a general rule, the wind loads are composed of the loads applied by the wind on:
- The structure of the pipe rack,
- The pipes,
- The cables,
- The air coolers.
Unless Piping department already provides wind loads from pipes, the general formula to be
applied at each pipe layer is:
F = qz * Cf * (max + 0.1 * l) * L

F is the horizontal wind load for the concerned layer,

qz is the dynamic wind pressure at the considered level,
Cf is the force coefficient for pipes,
max is the diameter of the largest pipe at the concerned layer (minimum 10 inches or 250 mm),
l is the pipe rack width,
L is the length of the exposed area, usually this is the pipe rack span.
The term = qz * Cf must include any gust factor or dynamic factor as required by the applicable
If not defined in the Design Criteria or in the applicable codes, Cf shall be taken as equal to 0.7 as
a minimum.
Cable trays
The general formula to be applied at each pipe layer is:
F = qz * Cf * (hmax + 0.1 * l) * L
F is the horizontal wind load for the concerned layer,
qz is the dynamic wind pressure at the considered level,
Cf is the force coefficient for pipes,
hmax is the height of the largest cable tray at the concerned layer,
l is the pipe rack width,
L is the length of the exposed area, usually this is the pipe rack span.
The term = qz * Cf must include any gust factor or dynamic factor as required by the applicable
If not defined in the Design Criteria or in the applicable codes, Cf shall be taken as equal to 2.0 as
a minimum.
Air coolers
The resulting wind loads on the supports of the air coolers must be given by the equipment
Longitudinal wind loads

As a general rule, and unless otherwise required by project specifications, the wind loads are
composed of the loads applied by the wind on:
- The structure of the pipe rack,
- The pipes,
- the Cables,
- The air coolers.
Pipes and cable trays
The general formula to be applied at each pipe layer is:
F = qz * * l * L
F is the horizontal wind load for the concerned layer,
qz is the dynamic wind pressure at the considered level,
l is the pipe rack width,
L is the length of the exposed area, usually this is the pipe rack length between two expansion
is a coefficient equal to 0.1 for the top layer and 0.05 for the other layers.
Air coolers
The resulting wind loads on the supports of the air coolers must be given by the equipment
Snow loads
Usually snow loads (or dust and sand loads) are not taken into account in the design of pipe racks.
Earthquake loads (EL)
The loads due to earthquake shall be estimated in accordance with the corresponding code
specified in the Design Criteria.
The gravity loads which are assumed to be considered for this estimation are the deal loads and
the pipe loads in operation.
Due to the low frequency of visits on access platforms of pipe racks, the corresponding live loads
may be omitted.

Unless noted otherwise in the Design criteria, the allowable deflections for pipe racks shall be as
Vertical deflections
Main girders
Total deflection in normal operation (all load cases except wind and earthquake loads) L/400
Intermediate girders
Combined deflection of longitudinal girder and intermediate girder L/200 with L = span of the
intermediate girder = width of pipe rack.
Horizontal deflections (transversal)
Under wind loads, without air-cooler (or other equipment) H/150 Under wind loads with air coolers
(or other equipment) H/200
This selection is not easy to do and no absolute rule may be reasonably given because of the
various parameters to be taken into account.
Criteria for selection
The various criteria to be retained in the selection of the pipe rack structure are:
- The cost,
- The construction/erection simplicity and the time schedule,
- The possible risk of fire and of passive fire protection (fireproofing), in relation with cost,
- The local habits for pipe racks,
- The location of the pipe rack,

The cost, direct and indirect, is of course the most important criteria with time schedule for the
material, construction sequence selection.
Usually, steelwork is less costly than reinforced concrete. However, this may vary widely from one
country to the other.
5.3 Construction/erection

The second important criteria with cost. Actually both criteria are connected to each other in most
Steelwork could even be quicker than poured in-place concrete depending upon country where
construction site is with consequent prefabrication and transportation time, despite of the cycle for
detail design of connections and shop drawings.
Where prefabrication of concrete elements may be made, erection can start earlier than for
steelwork. Erection may be as quick as for steelwork but making the connections is longer
especially in the case of moment connections. This is why, if prefabricated concrete is selected,
moment connections shall be avoided as much as possible or shall be designed in order to be easy
to be made.
Passive fire protection
Where passive fire protection has to be provided, this will have a very minimum influence on
concrete design since, the cover on rebars can adequately provide fire protection.
In case of steel structure, fireproofing will need to be applied. The corresponding cost and time for
application may make concrete preferable to steelwork when the extent of fireproofing is large
(case of pipe racks supporting air coolers).
Local habits
Some countries have a strong culture in terms of use of steelwork or concrete. Selection of a
material which is not usual for pipe racks may lead to problems. For instance, use of structural
concrete in the USA is not common. These problems may affect the design but essentially the
prefabrication and erection of the various elements.
Location of the pipe rack
The location of the pipe rack is of course in relation with erection simplicity (access) and also with
need for fire protection. But other points may have an influence on the design of the pipe racks.
Pipe racks in process units will have a large number of outgoing and in going pipes. This is also
valid for interconnecting pipe racks close to process units. For interconnecting pipe racks far from
process units, the number of going and in going pipes is reduced and use of longitudinal girders
made of steel truss may be of some advantage.
Soil conditions
Usually pipe rack columns are fixed (moment connections) on foundations. This will allow smaller
bending moments in the columns and smaller columns, so lighter structures. Adversely foundations
will be larger than with hinged connections between column and foundation. But, globally, this
solution is more economical.
In the case of soil conditions implying the use of piled foundations, this may have another
consequence. Usually piles cannot withstand large bending moments. To support bending
moments, two (or more) piles per foundations will be needed. In that case, the increase of the cost
of the foundation may be such that hinged connection are preferable.
Generally this will not be the case. Moreover, with the use of transversal tie beams between
foundations the bending moments may be withstood and the number of piles reduced to one per
foundation. Where important earthquakes may occur this will be the best solution.

In case of large width pipe racks and of piled foundations, it may be of some interest to have
hinged columns at the bottom. For foundation design, it must be kept in mind that for small width
pipe racks, a common mat per frame supporting both columns could be more economical than two
foundations, one per column. The limit width cannot be fixed; it depends on the project, local costs,
etc. Usually it is in the range of 4 to 6 meters.
Selection of the structural concept
The first step of a pipe rack design is to select the most appropriate structural concept. Reference
must be made to Chapter 6 as a guide. This phase must be made in close co-ordination with
people in charge of the layout (Piping department) but also with people in charge of construction
and of civil work and structural subcontracts.
It is usually during this phase that the width and the span of the pipe rack are determined as well
as the location of braced bays, expansion joints. The other known data are the number and level of
the pipe and/or cable layers.
The loads, the location of fixed and sliding supports are not known. Nevertheless, the very large
diameter pipes are known (flare line for instance)
First structural analysis
From the data obtained and/or determined during the first stage, it is possible to make a first
structural analysis. Though all load data are not known, it is possible to make a reliable structural
analysis allowing the determination of the dimensions of the steel profiles and of the concrete
elements with their reinforcement. This analysis is mandatory in case of 3D model to be made for
CAD purpose.
The load data to be used are those given by default on this document or those given by default in
the project Design criteria or those determined with design information from Piping department.
This stage is not mandatory but is highly recommended, however, for very secondary pipe racks, it
is usually omitted.
Second structural analysis
At a later stage, when the piping stress analysis has been done, all load data are known and a
more precise analysis may be done. The drawings will be revised if necessary.
Further structural analysis
Due to possible modifications, additional structural analysis may be required to check whether
already designed elements may be kept or need to be modified and to design additional elements.
In order to minimize the quantity of work, the recommendations of the following chapter shall be
complied with.
Use of 2D/3D models
Pipe rack structural analysis can be done by various means including 3D models .The type of
analysis to be done must take into account the characteristics of pipe racks:- design to be done in
several stages,

- Possibility of modifications (even at a late stage)

- Local loads.
A 3D model allows all kind of modifications but implies to redesign (or recheck) the whole pipe rack
for a local modification. It allows also the introduction of local loads which will be used only in
specific load combinations for local design. This will imply a large increase of the number of load
combinations and the risk to include local load combinations. But usually, confusion is made
between local loads and other loads. Actually, pipe racks include a large number of isostatic beams
(intermediate girders, longitudinal girders, bracing diagonals). It is possible to split the whole
structure in smaller elements, intermediate girders, longitudinal beams, transversal frames and
bracing bays. Each element is then designed separately starting of course by intermediate girders.
Models are 1D or 2D and are much simpler to handle, so local design is easier as well as design
by stages, incorporation of modifications is also much easier. Gathering of similar elements in
groups is also possible. This method is highly recommended for the design of pipe racks.

3.0 Structural Layout of Tank farm

The use of tanks is common in all kinds of plants found in oil & gas industry.

Process Plant
Specialty chemicals
Administration buildings
Material Handling Plants
Storage tank are containers used for storage of fluids for the short or long term. Cluster of tanks
together in a same are termed as Tank Farms.
Types of Tanks:
Types of Tanks in Process plant depend on the product to be stored, potential for fire, and capacity
to be handled.
Cone roof tank:
Used for countless products including Petroleum, Chemicals, Petrochemicals, Food products &
Floating roof tank:
The roof of tank rises and lowers with the stored contents thereby reducing vapour loss &
minimizing fire hazard. Commonly found in Oil refineries.
Low temperature storage tank:

Tanks stores liquefied gases at their boiling point. Products found in such tanks include Ammonia (28 F), Propane (-43.7 F) and Methane (-258F).
Horizontal pressure tank (Bullet):
Used to store products under high pressure.
Hortonsphere pressure tank:
Handles large capacity under high pressure.
Underground Tanks:
Commonly used for drain collection of the plant at atmospheric pressure.
FRP Tanks:
Commonly used for corrosive fluid at atmospheric pressure.

Design Considerations for Tankfarm Layout:

Below considerations are to taken into account while designing a Tankfarm for Process plants:
General considerations:

Local codes and regulations

Client specification


Adjacent process units

Neighboring commercial and residential property

Maintenance and operation

Detail design:

Identification of storage based on fluid stored.

Safety considerations/Statutory requirements

General / Plot plan arrangement

General piping layout

Material of Construction.
Statutory and Safety Requirements:

Following are the key statutory requirements (India). However these are to be
relooked based on geographical location:

OISD -118 ( Plant Layout )

OISD -116 / 117 (Fire Fighting )

Fire Hydrant Manual & Spray Manual.

Factory Act of State. If Any

Petroleum Act 1934 (Act N0.30 of 1934) Along with The Petroleum Rules.

Static and Mobile Pressure Vessel (SMPV).

National Fire Protection Act (NFPA).

Apart from this, local rules and regulations pertaining to State and local industrial
requirement should be taken into consideration.

Safety ensures proper protection and safe operation- Lifetime.

Insurance Premium.

Plot Plan Arrangement for Tankfarm

Hydrocarbon processing and handling plants are inherently hazardous involving

large and complex processes and substantial risk potential; hence a careful consideration shall be
given while developing a plot plan.

Plot plan is a spatial arrangement of equipment considering proper flow sequence,

system grouping, safety, statutory requirements, maintenance, operation, erection and construction
with logistical economy.

General classification of petroleum products for storage.


Class A: Flash Point below 23 C


Class B: Flash Point of 23 C & above but below 65 C.


Class C: Flash Point of 65 C & above but below 93 C.


Excluded Petroleum class: Flash Point of 930 C & above.


LPG doesnt fall under this classification but form separate category.

Grouping of petroleum products for storage shall be based on product classification.

Classification based on capacity and diameter:


Larger installations: Aggregate capacity of Class A and Class B petroleum product is

more than 5000 cu.m or diameter of Class A or Class B product tank is more than 9m.


Smaller installations: Aggregate capacity of Class A and Class B petroleum product

is less than 5000 cu.m or diameter of Class A or Class B product tank is less than 9m.

The storage tanks shall be located at lower elevation, wherever possible.

The storage tanks should be located downwind of process units.

Due to risk of failure of storage tanks and primary piping systems, means must be
provided to contain the spills. The containment for petroleum storage tanks is in the form of Dyked

Dyke Enclosure

Aggregate capacity in one dyke enclosure:


Group of Fixed roof tanks: Upto 60,000 m3


Group of Floating roof tanks: Upto 120,000 m3


Fixed cum floating roof tanks shall be treated as fixed roof tanks.


Group containing both Fixed roof tanks & Floating roof tanks, shall be treated as
fixed roof tanks.

Class A and / or Class B petroleum products :- Same dyked enclosure

Class C: Preferably separate dyked enclosures.

Tanks shall be arranged in maximum two rows. Tanks having 50,000 m3 capacities
and above shall be laid in single row.

The tank height shall not exceed one and half times the diameter of the tank or 20 m
whichever is less.

The minimum distance between a tank shell and the inside toe of the dyke wall shall
not be less than half the height of the tank.

Dyked enclosure for petroleum class shall be able to contain the complete contents
of the largest tank in the dyke in case of any emergency.


Height of Dyke (H): 1m < H < 2m


Width of Dyke (W): Minimum 0.6m (Earthen dyke) Not Specific (RCC dyke)
Separation distances between the nearest tanks located in separate dykes shall not be less than
the diameter of the larger of the two tanks or 30 meters, whichever is more.

All process units and dyked enclosures of storage tanks shall be planned in separate
blocks with roads all around for access and safety.

In a dyked enclosure where more than one tank is located, firewalls of minimum
height 600mm shall be provided to prevent spills from one tank endangering any other tank in the
same enclosure.

For larger installation, minimum separation distances shall be as specified in

following tables.

Dyke Wall Height Calculation:

Area of Dyke

21582.5 M2

Height of Dyke Assumed

H = 1.2 M

Height of Foundation h which is 0.9M

Diameter of Foundation

D = Diameter of Tank + 1.5 M

Number of Tanks

Fire wall dimensions

200 MM Thk. X 600 MM High

Dyke enclosure vol.


A) Dyke enclosure volume



Working capacity of Largest tank + Dead volumes


B) Working capacity of Largest tank

Area of Dyke X Dyke Height

=25899 M3

17304 M3

C) Dead volume
= All tanks foundation volume + Liquid volume of tanks (other than the
largest tank) upto the Ht. of the enclosure + Dead volume of Fire wall
1) All Tank foundation volume:
Volume of a tank foundation = /4 D2 X h X n
Let ,
D1 : Fdn Dia of 300 tank = 37.5 M; D2 : Fdn Dia of 250 tank = 26.5 M; D3 : Fdn Dia of 210 tank =
22.5 M

n1 : Number of 300 tank fdns = 2 nos; n2 : Number of 250 tank fdns = 4 nos; n3 : Number of 210
tank fdns = 6 nos;
Volume of all tank foundations = /4 D12 X h X n1 + /4 D22 X h X n2 + /4 D32 X h X n3
= /4 X 37.52 X 0.9 X 2+ /4 X 26.52 X 0.9 X 4 + /4 X 22.52 X 0.9 X 6
= 1988.04 + 1985.56 +2147.08
= 6120.68 M3


2) Liquid volume of tanks (other than the Largest Tank) above Fdn upto Dyke Ht:
Liquid volume of tank above Fdn upto Dyke Ht. = /4 d2 X (H-h) X n= /4 d2 X (0.3) X n
Where, d : Dia of Tank
n : Number of tank
Total Volume of all tanks (other than the Largest Tank) above Fdn upto Dyke Ht:
= /4 d12 X (0.3) X n1 +/4 d22 X (0.3) X n2+/4 d32 X (0.3) X n3
= /4 X (36)2 X (0.3) X 1 +/4 X (25)2 X (0.3) X 4+/4 X (21)2 X (0.3) X 6
= 305.36 + 589.05 + 623.45
= 1517.86 M3


3) Dead Volume of Fire wall = 0.2 X 0.6 X (56 + 199+ 77.5 + 77.5 + 77.5 + 77.5 + 77.5) = 77.1 M3
= 100 M3 (Min Dead Volume of Sleepers & Crossovers) ..(3)
C) Dead volume

= (1) + (2) + (3)

= 6120.68 + 1517.86 + 100

= 7738.54 M3

= 17304 + 7738.54

= 25042.54 M3

= 25899 M3



Dyke height (1.2 M) assumed is OK.

As per OISD, 200 MM free board is to be added to Dyke height

Dyke Wall Height = 1.2 + 0.2

= 1.4 M