Architectural Design Requirements in Romania

Romanian Construction Quality Law sets a few architectural requirements for the building design, named:

Design Requirements

These requirements are not solely for the design, they target the building from the design boards, the construction phases, and the use of the buildings. The developer of any building is responsible for all these tasks solidary with the architects and engineers from the design team and the constructor.

Because the developer of a building is not an architect or engineer he is obliged to hire licensed project verifiers for the design phase and later a licensed site inspector for the construction phase. The quality system is a triangle formed by the architect (and his engineering team), the owner, or developer through his project verifiers and site managers, and the constructor. The whole process is based on the Design-Bid-Construction system. In Romania the constructor is not allowed to provide technical drawings and solutions, all the details and blueprints should be provided by the architect, structural engineer, mechanical and electrical engineers.

The building industry in Romania is more and more disciplined and the control is more and more effective.

A. Structural Safety and Strenght

A. Resistance and Stability

The requirement regarding the resistance and stability of the buildings refers, of course, to the resistance structure of the constructions. Divided into classes and categories of importance, according to design, the buildings must ensure a response to seismic actions, and gravitational loads, from wind and snow within the limits of the design norms.

All projects must be checked against this design requirement, regardless of size, position, or importance class.

In Romania, the most important risk is the seismic one, of course. Contrary to public opinion, buildings are not designed to withstand an earthquake of magnitude x. The responses of the building are calculated for gravitational accelerations and earthquake frequency (corner period). These two elements practically establish the displacements that the building will bear and are data established statistically and experimentally. The response of the buildings has two characteristics: resistance and stability, but also a safety system to prevent the failure of some vital elements of the structure, simultaneously with the monitoring of a certain type of failure. Projects avoid brittle, sudden failures as well as those that would lead to the collapse of the building.

Building buildings that can withstand any earthquake would be extremely expensive. That is why extremely important buildings, such as hospitals, are designed to withstand devastating earthquakes, allowing the care of the wounded after the disaster. However, most buildings are designed to withstand earthquakes that may occur during their lifetime (50-100 years), and in the case of devastating earthquakes, they can be damaged, but without allowing the occupants to be injured.

This design requirement also aims at the correct response of the building to useful loads (from normal operation), to those from wind or snow, as well as to the stability and resistance of some non-structural portions of the building, which could cause detachment, falling, and injury to people.

B. Safety in Use

B. Safety in Use

Requirements that ask for a proper design to prevent falls, slips, hits, and other accidents that can occur during the regular use of the buildings. The tasks are to verify the proper use of materials correlated with the proper geometry of architectural spaces. It is a relatively new concern of the design requirements in Romania to allow the proper use of public buildings for disabled persons.

These kinds of measures try to eliminate the physical barriers to the use of disabled persons.

C. Fire Safety

C. Fire Safety

All over the world people died in buildings in fire. The proper design can and should prevent the loss of human lives in fire buildings. The requirements for the fire safety design: Disallow the spread of fire from one building to other buildings. Set proper intervention paths for the firefighters. Properly alarm the inhabitants of the buildings in fire. Evacuate the people from the buildings in fire. Maybe the most important requirement, the evacuation should be designed well enough to have functional evacuation paths, protected from fire and smoke. Evacuate the smoke as many people used to die or got injured not by fire but by smoke. The most important goal is to prevent smoke infiltration in the exiting spaces and to properly evacuate the smoke. To prevent fire to pass from one space to another, design proper fire-resistant walls, ceilings and floors, fireproof doors, and so on. To endure the means of the firefight with hydrants, sprinklers, and drenchers and also provide the water reserves for the fire brigade interventions. Fire safety measures are designed mostly to protect human lives, but also to prevent and limit the damages that fire can make. The rules are differentiated for different types of buildings, the fire danger, and mostly by how many people could be in the building when the fire starts. Fire safety design is one of the hardest tasks for architects and engineering teams, but also vital importance.

D. Hygiene, Health and Environmental Protection

D. Hygiene, Health, and Environmental Protection

If the care for hygiene and human health is normal when someone builds his own house, the design of public, commercial, or industrial buildings can be the victim of budget limitations. Nevertheless, there are huge rules and laws to prevent the construction of improper buildings from this perspective. Over the usual regulations to provide quality breathing air, potable water, and the means of human hygiene, there are specific rules for each industry and field of activity. Poor design can easily be a major factor in the spread of diseases. Buildings are made to shelter and protect the people and their activities so the design requirements are very tough. Environment protection is not a political correctness empty expression. The Romanian laws disallow the use of building materials or technologies that can be dangerous to the environment. If the use of a specific material or technology that can be harmful is justified, proper environmental protection measures should be provided.

E. Noise Protection

E. Noise Protection

There are measures to be applied for both the protection of the outer noise and inner building noises and vibrations.

F. Energy Economy And Heath Insulation

F. Energy saving and thermal insulation

This requirement follows thermal insulation, but the limitation of heat losses is not by far the biggest energy consumer. Ensuring an optimal temperature in the hot season, as well as ensuring air quality, have an energy-saving impact.

These requirements sometimes work symbiotically, in contradiction with those from point D., regarding people’s hygiene and health. Sealing the gaps to prevent heat loss damages the ventilation and implicitly the humidity and air quality in the built spaces. Its conditioning is a big energy consumer, so the balance between these types of measures is always a delicate one.