(This program will calculate the size of eaves gutters, and the number of downpipes required for roof drainage)
Code method and the 'More Down pipe' function:
Flow is calculated from the roof area and roof slope.
Figure 3.5.2(B) or (C) relate this to an eaves gutter cross sectional area.
This is then related to a downpipe size from Table 3.5.2.
However in this table, DP sizes jump from one size to the next available size. For instance a 125 diameter DP jumps to
150 dia. there are no sizes in between.
So, if using the More Down Pipes
function, all the in-between sizes have to be calculated.
Therefore the size shown in the printout will shown as "interpolated" from table 3.5.2.
The 'available' size from the table is also shown.
Check the number of DP's required, if the figure
is say 0.1, then that DP is only 1/10 full.
You will be guilty of
gross overdesign if you use this. A smaller DP should be used.
If you have the case of say, 3.25 number * 150 dia DP's required, then you may
choose to split the catchments to have 3*150 & 1*100 dia DP's.
However, it is normally better to keep all DP's the same size and
accept 4 * 150 DP's.
If using the number of downpipes calculated above, try to have approximately equal catchment areas draining
to each down pipe, with high points approx midway between downpipes, and DP's as close as possible to valley gutters. (Don't forget,
if there are no stop ends in the gutter, water may flow a little between catchments. i.e. if one downpipe is overloaded,
excess water may continue to the next downpipe.)
Also, although not stated in the plumbing code, the Building Code requires DP spacing to be not greater than 12m.
This would apply to straight runs of gutter to limit the expansion, it would also require an expansion joint every 12m in this case.
If it is not possible to have equal catchments, and a catchment area is much larger than the others,
then run the program again for just that larger catchment, it may require an extra downpipe.
Any size, or shape eaves gutter may be used, as long as the cross sectional area is equal to, or greater than, the size calculated.
However some shapes are more efficient than others. For instance a semicircular eaves gutter is more efficient than a rectangular one.
For rectangular eaves gutters, the most efficient shape is when the width is approximately twice the depth.
So try to select a gutter that is close to this, as this is what the plumbing code expects.
The number of downpipes required is the theoretical number required. This is not always a whole number.
So the number used in the eaves gutter area calculation, is the theoretical number rounded up to the next whole number.
Also, the Code only refers to the "Nominal Diameter". The actual Internal diameter may be more or less, depending on the material and pipe class
When designing pipework, we must always use the internal pipe diameter in all calculations, however some suppliers quote stormwater pipes
as the Outside Diameter, so a 150 (nominal) pipe dia shown in the calculator is taken as referring to
a 160mm 'outside' dia (PVC) storm water pipe in the catalogue. This pipe is about 154mm internal diameter.
This is how 'nominal' diameters work. It defines any pipe that is 'around about' that diameter.
If you want to be strictly correct, find the exact internal diameter of your chosen material and pipe size, and enter this in
the 'extra features' function. This may or may not give a different number required. For instance if the theoretical number required is 3.01
you will need 4 down pipes. However with a pipe a few mm larger this may come down to 3. It works in reverse too, if your chosen pipe is a few
mm smaller that the nominal diameter, you may need an extra downpipe.
Minimum Roof Slope :
The recommended minimum roof slope for corrugated metal roofs is 5 degrees. For some wide trough,
long span metal roofing the minimum slope is 1.5 degrees.
Some Theory :
The time of concentration is the time it takes water to travel from the furthermost point in the catchment to the point under investigation.
To generate peak flow from a catchment, a storm must last at least this long. Now the longer a storm lasts, the less is the average intensity.
eg a storm may bucket down for 5 mins, but is not likely to keep up such an intensity for hours.
The flow of water in a down pipe is restricted by the size of the entry (ie the
entry diameter, throat, or orifice.) Water starts to enter a downpipe as though it was flowing over a weir into the mouth
of the downpipe. The weir formula is used to calculate the downpipe size.
As the flow builds up, the water level over this weir increases until the
entire mouth of the downpipe is submerged,
just like your bath tub when you pull the plug. The downpipe entry now acts like an
orifice, and the orifice formula
is used to calculate the downpipe size.
The greater the depth of water over the down pipe, the more water can be forced
through this entry orifice, or over the entry edge (weir).
This is why we have a rain water head over some downpipes, to increase the depth of
water over the entry
and hence force more water into the downpipe.
Note: down pipes do not flow full (except in syphonic systems)
so pipe flowing full formulas do not work.
Another way to increase the downpipe capacity, is to increase the throat diameter by having a conical entrance
to the downpipe. Hence increasing the length of the entry weir.
Further Notes on the Code:
However you should approach a consultant on this as it is not always applicable.
A down pipe designed to the code does not flow anywhere near full, it is the entry orifice/weir that limits the flow.
If you want to investigate this further, check out the notes on the pipe size calculator
and pipes flowing to tanks, or discharging under water.
A "charged" downpipe is one that flows full, or stays full because of a "U" shape.
AS3500 does not take into account the location of the downpipe along the gutter, nor
does it adjust the formula for bends in the gutter.
This can make a big difference. The code only allows for the worst possible
case. This makes it ideal for residential buildings with many turns and bends
in the roof. However for projects with long straight roofs (Large industrial Sheds) it would be
conservative (ie an overdesign).
For these projects, the CSIRO have produced formulas that take into account the location of down pipes and bends
along the gutter. The relevant document is here Roof Drainage by K G Martin
I have used these formulas to create another calculator here.
Cost savings of up to 20% can be achieved.
I would also be interested in any modifications, or suggestions that you would
If you need more info, or you would like other areas of Australia, or New
Zealand, added to the list,
please contact me.