MEP Design Guidelines of Pressurized Air Compressor Rooms in Hot & Humid Climates.

MEP Design Guidelines of Pressurized Air Compressor Rooms in Hot & Humid Climates.

The area designated for compressors, known as the compressor room, constitutes a crucial component of the compressed air system. It may be a specialized room solely for compressor use or a multifunctional space. Regardless, specific criteria should be met to optimize the compressor setup.

Centralizing the compressor plant is generally recommended, as it offers diverse advantages across industries. This approach not only improves operational efficiency but also enhances the overall design of the compressed air system. Centralization aids in service accessibility, security against unauthorized access, noise control, and facilitates controlled ventilation.

Factors such as ventilation requirements, noise levels, safety hazards, overheating risks, condensation management, surrounding environmental hazards, space considerations for future expansions, and maintenance accessibility should be carefully considered. Adhering to these considerations ensures an optimal working environment that maximizes compressor efficiency.

Construction and standards guidelines should also be followed meticulously. These include specifications regarding building height, distances between buildings, materials, electrical systems, piping, fire safety, and environmental conditions. Compliance with codes such as NFPA, ASME, ASTM, ASHRAE, and local building regulations is imperative for safety and functionality.

Additionally, attention must be given to electrical systems, piping design, safety relief valves, drainage, fire detection, wall construction, and supplementary considerations like soundproofing, drainage, lighting, signage, and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

It’s important to note that while this serves as a comprehensive guideline, specific design adjustments may be necessary based on factors like compressor capacity, system pressure, and manufacturer recommendations. Consulting with a qualified professional engineer is essential to ensure compliance and functionality of the compressed air system.

Compressor Rooms

The compressor room is where the largest part of the compressed air system is located. It can be a dedicated room designed specifically for the compressor or a multi-purpose space. In both cases, certain conditions must be met to get the most out of your compressor installation.

One of the most important factors in operating a compressed air system is the proper layout and design of the air compressor room.

Doing the job right optimizes the performance of the entire system, including:

• Air compressor efficiency

• Safety

• Quality of the compressed air

• The life of the equipment


𝐂𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐤𝐞𝐲:

It is generally advisable to arrange a separate compressor central plant. This centralized approach offers numerous benefits across various industries. Not only does it enhance the operating economy, but it also leads to a better-designed compressed air system.


• improves service and user-friendliness,

• safeguards against unauthorized access,

• ensures proper noise control, and

• simplifies controlled ventilation.

Consider factors such as:

• air compressor ventilation requirements,

• noise disturbance,

• physical risks,

• overheating risks,

• condensation drainage,

• surrounding hazards (e.g., dust, flammable substances),

• aggressive substances in the air,

• space requirements for future expansion,

• and accessibility for maintenance.

Follow this guide on how to create optimal working conditions that will maximize the efficiency of your compressor.

𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐓𝐲𝐩𝐞: 𝐈𝐄 (𝐒𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞), 𝐔𝐧𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝

• Maximum Building height will be 8-11 m when the front side will be 13.6 m distance (with the condition: 2*(A+B)>- 13.6 meters), BNBC 2020 Section

• Compressor Building to other building distance 4.5m (3 sides)

• Unprotected steel structure is considered

𝐂𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐚:

• Maximum Temperature: 40°C (104°F)

• Relative Humidity: 80%

• Location: Dusty with hash environment

• Climate: Hot and Humid Conditions

𝐂𝐨𝐝𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬:

• ASME B16.5: Pipe Flanges and Flanged Fittings (Piping)

• ASTM A53: Standard Specification for Pipe, Steel, Black and Hot-Dipped, Zinc-Coated, Welded and Seamless (Piping)

• NFPA 101: Life Safety Code (Building egress, fire separation)

• NFPA 704: Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response (Compressed air hazard labeling)

• NFPA 70/BNBC: National Electrical Code (Electrical wiring and protection)

• ASHRAE 90.1: Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (Ventilation system efficiency)

• ASHRAE 52.1: Gravimetric and Electrostatic Air-Cleaning Devices (Pre-filter selection)

𝐑𝐨𝐨𝐦 𝐋𝐚𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐀𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬:

• NFPA 101: Ensure adequate egress paths for personnel in case of emergencies (Exit sign and Emergency Light).

• Design for ease of equipment access and maintenance (Consider future expansion).

• Separate room for compressors is recommended to minimize noise transmission.

𝐕𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 (𝐍𝐅𝐏𝐀 𝟗𝟎.𝟏, 𝐀𝐒𝐇𝐑𝐀𝐄 𝟗𝟎.𝟏):

• Maintain room temperature below the compressor manufacturer’s recommended maximum (typically < 35°C).

• Airflow Rate: 25-30 air changes per hour (ACH) to remove heat generated by equipment and prevent moisture build-up.

• Filtration: Pre-filter with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of 8 to capture dust particles larger than 10 microns before they reach the compressor intake. Consider higher MERV (13-16) for sandier environments.

• Makeup Air: Provide conditioned makeup air to replace exhausted air and maintain positive pressure within the room (helps prevent dust infiltration).

𝐄𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 (𝐍𝐄𝐂/𝐁𝐍𝐁𝐂):

• Design electrical system to handle starting and running loads of compressors, dryers, and other equipment.

• Separate feeders for critical equipment and lighting.

• Grounding and bonding must comply with NEC/BNBC standards.

𝐏𝐢𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 (𝐀𝐒𝐌𝐄 𝐁𝟏𝟔.𝟓, 𝐀𝐒𝐓𝐌 𝐀𝟓𝟑):

• Pipe Sizing: Select pipe sizes based on required air flow rate, pressure drop calculations, and compressor outlet pressure.

• Material: Galvanized steel pipes (ASTM A53) are commonly used for compressed air due to their durability and corrosion resistance. Consider alternatives for highly corrosive


• Safety Relief Valves: Install properly sized and rated safety relief valves on the compressor pressure vessel and downstream piping to prevent over-pressurization.

• Drain Lines: Install drain lines at low points in the piping system to remove condensate and prevent corrosion.

𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐃𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐒𝐲𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐦 (𝐍𝐅𝐏𝐀 𝟕𝟐/𝐁𝐍𝐁𝐂):

• Install an appropriate fire detection and alarm system based on the occupancy classification (NFPA 101/BNBC).

• Heat detectors are generally preferred in compressor rooms due to the potential for dust accumulation that can trigger false alarms with smoke detectors.

Building Wall Construction:

• Select building wall materials with appropriate fire resistance ratings based on occupancy classification (NFPA 101/BNBC). Consider insulated metal panels for their durability, thermal insulation properties, and ease of cleaning.

𝐀𝐝𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬:

• Soundproofing: Implement soundproofing measures to achieve noise levels compliant with local regulations and workplace safety standards.

• Drainage System: Design a drainage system sized to handle condensate discharge from the compressed air system and any potential spills.

• Lighting: Provide adequate and energy-efficient lighting for the room.

• Signage: Install appropriate signage for safety precautions and emergency procedures.

• Standard Operating Procedures (SOP): Develop and implement SOPs for compressor operation, maintenance, and emergency response procedures.


• This is a general guideline, and specific design values may need to be adjusted based on the actual compressor capacity, system pressure, and manufacturer’s recommendations.

• Consulting a qualified professional engineer is crucial for a compliant and functional compressed air system design.

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