Elevator standing alone, but strong

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Architect here. Generally you have a floor every 14-15 feet in a nonresidential structure. With most ceilings at 9-10 feet, that leaves around 4-5 feet for structure and miscellaneous systems. It sounds like a lot, but that real estate goes quickly. A typical slab and deck system is about 4 inches with joists or beams supporting that running anywhere from 18-36 inches depending on span. That leaves you 3 feet or less for ductwork, fire sprinklers, roof drains, supply lines, cable trays, electrical conduit, and recessed light fixtures. A main air duct can easily get to 24-36 inches (plus 2 inches of external insulation), so you see where problems can arise. Personally, I’d love to see 6-7 feet from ceiling to floor, but that costs money.

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