Project Profile: Thompson Savannah
This project focuses on the building of a riverbank hotel in Thompson, Savannah by the Jordan & Skala Engineers.
Engineering firm: Jordan & Skala Engineers
2023 MEP Giants rank: 38
Project: Thompson Savannah
Location: Savannah, GA, United States
Building type: Hotel/motel/resort
Project type: New construction
Engineering services: Electrical, power; fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; plumbing, piping
Project timeline: April 2018 to March 2022
MEP/FP engineering budget: $232,000
The unique site, location, and layout of the building offered a few challenges for our design team. The project is located on a Class D seismic site and therefore required extra structural bracing underneath the building to prevent potential collapse into the mud and sand of the riverbank. The soft ground prevented our plumbing team from using the standard method of digging trenches to lay sanitary and storm piping along the site.
The humidity present in coastal areas like Savannah poses damage risks to rooftop HVAC units, particularly when salt water is nearby. Due to the hotel’s location on a riverbank, our team had to take into consideration ways to combat the potential corrosion of exterior equipment.
Hotels have rather low floor to floor heights in comparison to other building designs, and Thompson Savannah was no exception, so our designers found inventive ways to incorporate all the necessary systems into an incredibly tight area. The building is composed of a central tower of guest rooms with lower roof wings on each side. The open-to-sky swimming pool occupies one of these roof wings, and it is directly above the riverside restaurant kitchen, which prevents necessary grease ducts and ventilations from being run through the roof of the kitchen, as is standard practice.
While the unique nature of Thompson Savannah provided design challenges, we are proud to be a part of the design team that utilized advanced technology, extensive coordination, and creative problem-solving to bring the development to fruition in August 2022.
To account for the seismic site, our plumbing team fastened the building’s underground sanitary and storm piping from the subterranean support structure to ensure the lines were anchored and did not sink into the earth. Additionally, due to the seismic site, the design team incorporated an extra 35,000-gallon water storage tank that was placed underground to provide secondary water storage for fire protection.
To combat the humidity of the location, our mechanical team utilized coastal environmental coatings on all outdoor mechanical equipment to prevent the salt air from corroding the copper in their units.
To compensate for the low floor-to-floor heights and the amount of design work needed to fit in those tight spaces, a Sovent plumbing system was used, and our entire team utilized the 3D software Autodesk Revit to visualize how each discipline’s designs would fit alongside each other. Due to the location of the swimming pool and the central tower of guest rooms, our team utilized a non-typical, prefabricated grease exhaust duct that allowed them more slope flexibility. They ran the duct underneath the central tower to the adjacent lower roof wing to ventilate the restaurant kitchen. The entire length of the duct totaled approximately 120 feet, one of the longest our team has ever had to design.