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Depending on size, most medium-density housing developments include a wide variety of services.

MDH developers should consider services early in the design process and manage them carefully during construction. Designers should pay particular attention to:

  • ventilation systems
  • active heating and air-conditioning systems
  • boilers and other on-site heat and energy sources
  • energy and data distribution
  • potable water conservation and distribution
  • greywater and wastewater management
  • fire notification, control and suppression systems
  • emergency lighting and egress systems
  • lifts and escalators
  • security and controlled access systems.

When locating plant, equipment and service lines, consider the aesthetic impact they will have on occupants and the character of the development.

Elements such as drainpipes, satellite dishes, lifts, stairs, mail boxes and utility boxes can detract from the appearance of the development. Methods to eliminate or integrate such elements so they are no longer visible include:

  • providing purpose-designed service channels to take downpipes, conduits and communications cabling to upper levels
  • routing television and satellite feeds throughout the development
  • integrating mail boxes into exterior walls or placing them in a central location
  • concealing utility meters and connections, mechanical devices and electrical equipment from view.

Resilience

In seismic and flood risk zones and in areas prone to other natural and man-made hazards, consider the most resilient placement of plant and services. The longer that services such as boiler rooms, pump houses, communication hubs and emergency power supplies can operate in an emergency, the more resilient the MDH community will be.

Larger MDH developments produce significant qualities of stormwater and wastewater, which must be integrated into the municipal stormwater and wastewater systems. Consider adding in situ stormwater collection and storage systems to each dwelling to better manage run-off.

Design larger complexes with more than one stairway and lift core. This not only adds resilience, it also provides multiple entry points for occupants and reduces the length of halls and accessways. This can greatly improve the movement of people around a large building at busy times.