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Measuring Building Heights


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#1 AndyN

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 02:53 PM

I believe this has been discussed here before or perhaps on an earlier version of the forum but... Isn't there an official method of measuring a building's height for determining ranking in a tallest building list? I had to measure the height of the city center buildings but that was 20 years ago.


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#2 Nitixope

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 03:26 PM

I believe this has been discussed here before or perhaps on an earlier version of the forum but... Isn't there an official method of measuring a building's height for determining ranking in a tallest building list? I had to measure the height of the city center buildings but that was 20 years ago.

 

I like the clinometer method but here's a few other suggestions:

https://www.brighthu...ing-the-ground/

 

(By the way, I saw your old post the other day explaining the rotation of our city street grid system and its history and that is a classic thread.  your explanation beats anything you'll find on the open internet doing simple searches.)



#3 AndyN

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 03:54 PM

(Thank you).

 

I actually know how to measure a building, being a land surveyor with a fancy theodolite, electronic distance meters, a steel tape, two plumb bobs and a Gee-Pee-Ess machine. ;)

 

The question is where to measure the building. If the ground outside the building is on a slope, where do you measure at to get the official height. Antennas don't count but architectural spires do? What are the rules for where and how to measure a building to determine the official height.

 

Here is an example I found after an internet search from Snohomish County:

 

Building height shall be measured as the vertical distance from the average final grade to the highest point of the coping of a flat roof, or the deck line of a mansard roof, or to the average height of the highest gable of a pitch or hip roof.

 

Is there a national standard?


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#4 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 04:21 PM

This is from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat:

  • Height to architectural top: This is the main criterion under which the CTBUH ranks the height of buildings. Heights are measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the top of the building, inclusive of spires but excluding items such as flagpoles and antennae.
  • Highest occupied floor: Height to the floor level of the highest floor that is occupied by residents, workers or other building users on a consistent basis.
  • Height to tip: Height to the highest point of the building, including antennae, flagpoles, and technical equipment.

This is the group that officially ranks the tallest buildings. 

 

I have also found that unless there are major design changes, the construction drawings will usually give a good height of the building.  Yes, sometimes a little settling does occur, and there are slight changes, but usually the drawings give a close number for actual height.  That's close enough for me to list on the Tallest Buildings in Fort Worth. 

 

Also, the CTBUH has a definition of completion, which makes a difference on when the Bank of America Tower was completed, and if it was ever the city's tallest building.  Since it was mothballed for a year because of no tenants, it technically wasn't ever the Tallest Building in Fort Worth, even though it looked complete and for a while was taller than Burnett Plaza while it was still rising and under construction.  By their definition, you could also argue that it was the tallest for a short time.



#5 AndyN

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 03:57 PM

Thanks, John. That is what I needed.


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#6 Doohickie

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 04:09 PM

This brings to mind an old Aggie joke.  If you went to A&M, stop reading now!

 

An Aggie was asked by his boss to measure the height of a flagpole.  It was pretty tall and he didn't have any way to reach up to the top.  He was pretty despondent when someone happened by and asked him what he was so upset about.  "My boss wants to know how tall this flagpole is, but I can't reach the top so I don't know how I'm going to measure it."  The other guy suggested taking the pole down, measuring it, and then putting it back up.  The Aggie said, "He wants to know how tall it is, not how long it is!"

 

Okay Aggies, it's safe to resume reading.


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#7 John T Roberts

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Posted 02 September 2021 - 08:44 PM

I'm glad that I could help, Andy.

 

Doohickie, that's a pretty good joke.






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