Facility Management Archives

Code Council Foundation donates I-Codes to Louisiana communities ravaged by hurricanes

Code Council Foundation donates I-Codes to Louisiana communities ravaged by hurricanes

A donation of code books by the International Code Council Foundation (ICCF) will help local Louisiana governments’ efforts to carry out requirements of the state’s new construction code law as the state rebuilds in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. ICCF, a subsidiary of the International Code Council, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating the devastating effects of natural disasters and other building tragedies. “We certainly welcome the support of the International Code Council Foundation in our efforts to implement these new safety measures,” said Louisiana State Senator Hollis. “We appreciate their generosity for donating the codes which would have cost our already cash-strapped communities thousands of dollars to purchase on their own.” Sen. Hollis and State Representative Gil Pinac co-authored a bill during a special legislative session that set up a process to establish a statewide, uniform Louisiana construction code. “The Council’s commitment to Louisiana, not only with its donation, but also its expertise, is vital to our efforts to rebuild our state better and stronger,” said Rep. Pinac. “As we move forward to establish our uniform statewide construction code, the Council’s professional advice and support will be invaluable.” “As a former building official, I know that using the International Codes, combined with strong enforcement will help Louisiana to build back stronger and safer, and better protect lives and property from future hurricanes and other disasters,” said Paul Myers, ICC Foundation President, during a press conference in the Louisiana State Capitol building. “As promised, the International Code Council will open a regional office in Louisiana to help the state with its hurricane recovery efforts.” The ICCF donated copies of I-Codes to 11 Louisiana parishes declared federal disaster areas. The donated codes will help many jurisdictions replace technical libraries that were damaged or destroyed during the hurricanes. Other communities will be using the codes, including the International Building, Residential, Existing Building, Fuel Gas and Mechanical codes, for the first time as part of the new law. Under emergency provisions of the new construction code law, the 11 parishes hit hardest by the hurricanes have up to 90 days from the effective date of the law to begin implementing and enforcing wind and flood provisions of the building and residential codes. Starting in 2007, the codes will be required for construction and renovation of all buildings statewide. The Foundation also contributed the book Reducing Flood Losses through the International Codes. The guide, jointly written by FEMA and the International Code Council, will help communities participating in the National Flood… …Read More…


ARI launches Web tool for HVAC performance

ARI launches Web tool for HVAC performance

The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) has launched an online tool enabling contractors and the general public to access important certified product performance information about their air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Known as the ARI Directory of Certified Product Performance (ARI Directory), the new tool will allow consumers, contractors, distributors, engineers, architects, and facility managers to access the information they need to match outdoor condensing units and indoor coils, for example, thus enabling the system to achieve the advertised levels of efficiency. In addition, the new ARI Directory will allow a contractor to print out a certificate stating that the installed system is properly matched, thereby protecting consumers’ warranties and enabling them to qualify for utility rebates that are offered in some areas. The ARI Directory also includes certified performance information for products covered under ARI’s 22 other certification programs. The above-named customers can use this Directory as the definitive source of vital information about the performance of ARI certified products. “This new ARI Directory provides end users – customers – with the tools they need to ensure they get what they pay for,” said ARI President William G. Sutton. “With this tool, contractors and their customers can be assured that their ARI-certified products are properly matched, energy efficient systems. We are excited about the potential for this new Directory to bring manufacturers, contractors, and the public closer together in a continuum of quality, efficiency, and performance, as we continue to improve life and the environment,” Sutton said.


Friday Funny: Plumbing Mix-Up Yields Beer

Friday Funny: Plumbing Mix-Up Yields Beer

This Friday Funny story appeared in Associated Press news earlier this week… Last weekend in Norway, a woman turned on her kitchen faucet to find the water had turned into beer. Two flights down, employees and customers at the Big Tower Bar were horrified when water poured out of the beer taps. By an improbable feat of clumsy plumbing, someone at the bar in Kristiandsund, western Norway, had accidentally hooked the beer hoses to the water pipes for Haldis Gundersen’s apartment. However, Gundersen said the beer was flat and not tempting, even in a country where a half-liter (pint) can cost about 25 kroner ($3.75) in grocery stores. Per Egil Myrvang, of the local beer distributor, said he helped bartenders reconnect the pipes by telephone. “The water and beer pipes do touch each other, but you have to be really creative to connect them together,” he told local newspapers.


Excess inventory assists in disaster recovery efforts

Excess inventory assists in disaster recovery efforts

With the paperwork following the last containers down the road, the Institution Recycling Network has completed 108 facility cleanouts large and small during 2005. IRN and its members have filled over 200 trailers and shipping containers, providing over 32,000 items of furniture, medical equipment and supplies, kitchen equipment and furnishings, office, library, and classroom furnishings, and thousands of other items for disaster relief and economic assistance. For TFM‘s general coverage of recycling, see “Recycling 2002: A Primer For Fms” from the archives. IRN’s surplus property cleanouts span almost every conceivable size and situation. There were 22 trailers filled from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst over the course of a nine-building, 10-day cleanout. There were another 20 trailers filled from a single dorm at Framingham State College. There was Middlebury College’s cleanout of 1000 pieces from 18 small residences. There was a kitchen disassembled at Harvard, and bathroom fixtures, doors, and stalls from Harvard Business School. A truckload of dining chairs from Phillips Exeter, a half-trailer of student move-out leftovers from Brown, a partial container of mattresses from Boston University. Warehouse cleanouts for Baystate Health and the Cambridge Health Alliance. One container of stored furniture and medical equipment from New England Baptist Hospital. Six containers from St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. And there were dozens more. “A couple of new developments have made this a great year,” says Mark Berry, IRN’s manager of surplus programs. “The first is our warehouses in Everett and Holyoke, Massachusetts, which allow us to handle just one or a few items of surplus at a time, storing and combining them to make up full trailer-loads. The second is our expanded relationship with a number of movers, including nationwide systems, which gives us the capacity to handle surplus cost effectively anywhere in the Northeast – and anywhere in the nation.” The IRN partners with U.S. and international relief organizations to deliver surplus for disaster relief and economic development in the U.S. and overseas. In the wake of disastrous hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005, and events like the South Asia tsunami, the demand for usable surplus property is overwhelming. Working with over 125 health care and educational institutions, the IRN is able to make a match for all kinds of surplus – from medical supplies and operating room equipment to office furnishings and dorm furniture. Looking forward to the end of spring semester, the IRN is approaching its busiest season. When students move out, they leave behind thousands of pieces of perfectly good stuff, from… …Read More…


Mine safety under scrutiny

Mine safety under scrutiny

In recent testimony at the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on mine safety and health, American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) member and Mining Practice Specialty Administrator Mike Neason, a certified Mine Safety Professional, urged the Committee to not assume that a lack of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) enforcement powers or weak penalties to be the root cause of the failures witnessed during the recent mine tragedies. For TFM‘s coverage of general safety issues, see “A Recipe For Safety” from the archives. “Along with an examination of penalties and more stringent requirements, the Committee must consider other factors. It could be that the most effective solution to increasing mine safety is that MSHA make better, smarter use of its current powers and target enforcement resources more directly at the proven ‘bad actors’ rather than being required to inspect all mines in exactly the same way, regardless of their compliance history or safety and health performance,” Neason said. “It may be appropriate to provide the agency with more flexibility so it can deploy its inspectors where they are most needed. More effective and not merely more severe enforcement may very well be the answer we all seek. We urge the Committee to work with MSHA, the National Institue of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and stakeholders, both within industry and organizations like ASSE to help make these determinations.” Neason noted that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to underground mine communication, respiratory protection, or mine rescue, “as much as we all would hope for.” With respect to mine safety technology, the Sago disaster pointed out that gaps exist in protections for underground miners – both coal and metal/non-metal. Although many mines, Neason noted, such as the ones that he oversees, go beyond compliance with MSHA’s mandatory standards, others unfortunately adhere to the bare minimum standards, with the result that lives may be lost due to inadequate respiratory protection and technologically obsolete communication systems. The market makes readily available products that function in the same manner as the one-hour Self-Contained Self-Rescuers (SCSRs) but provide expanded protection from toxic gases that can be created in mine fires or present in gassy mines even without an accident, Neason said. Promising technologies also exist for locating or communicating with miners underground, such as the text messaging technology currently being tested in approximately 140 mines throughout the world. However, when considering what is and may not be feasible, focus must be placed on post-incident functionality when electrical systems… …Read More…


CDC Mold Guidance Document

CDC Mold Guidance Document

The CDC Mold Work Group recently published a guidance document entitled “Mold: Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects in the Aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.” The document cites sources that indicated 60% to 80% of all residential structures in New Orleans sustained severe flood damage. As this flood damage has translated into a significant mold issue in the region, this CDC document is intended to guide building owners and cleanup workers through the potential hazards of contaminated environments. For TFM‘s coverage of this subject, see “Correcting Mold Misinformation” from the archives. Beginning with background information on mold and exposure issues the document moves into strategies for assessing exposure to mold. Cleanup and prevention guidelines are provided, as well as a comprehensive review of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The most current information regarding potential effects of mold contamination on human health are presented along with a discussion on public health strategies and recommendations for state and local officials. The complete document can be accessed here.


Guidelines to reduce fluorocarbon emissions

Guidelines to reduce fluorocarbon emissions

To reduce emissions by manufacturing facilities that either produce, use, store, or transport refrigerants, the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, released new guidelines for handling refrigerants to minimize their potential environmental impact. For related coverage in TFM, see “Rejuvenating HVAC” from the archives. According to a 2005 industry survey, in the past 10 years the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry has made substantial expenditures to control refrigerant emissions. More than 70% of survey respondents said they have reduced emissions by 25% to 75% at their facilities, and more than 50% of respondents built new facilities with a zero emission goal. Some of the refrigerants used in air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs); hydrochloroflourocarbons (HCFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are greenhouse gases. ARI‚s responsible-use guide contains specific recommendations for minimizing their release into the environment during every phase of the manufacturing process. Examples of recommendations include: using a process to detect refrigerant loss during manufacturing; minimizing refrigerant emissions through preventive maintenance of refrigerant handling equipment; recovering and recycling waste refrigerants if possible; properly storing refrigerants in pressure vessels that meet national, state, and local regulations; monitoring transported or shipped equipment for leakage and taking corrective action when necessary; and designing packaging to minimize refrigerant loss during shipping. The ARI Responsible-Use Guide for Minimizing Fluorocarbon Emissions in Manufacturing Facilities can be found on ARI’s Web site.


Sustainability Moves Forward with IFMA and Alliance Support

Sustainability Moves Forward with IFMA and Alliance Support

Sustainability practices just got easier for the facility management profession as the International Facility Management Association has announced a collaborative agreement with the Alliance for Sustainable Built Environments to develop and deliver sustainability educational programs, as well as provide research and planning tools. This new partnership will bring sustainability concepts and state of the art practices to a vital division of all business organizations. Currently, more than 18,400 facility management professionals are members of IFMA, managing nearly 23 billion square feet of workspace combined. For more on TFM‘s coverage of this issue, see “William McDonough: A TFM Show Interview” from the archives.“Fifty-nine percent of IFMA’s North American members are currently implementing some sustainable practices, often without a plan, and another 17% plan to do so in the next two years,” said David J. Brady, IFMA president and CEO. “The Alliance has become a focal point for green building practices, with the right resources and unparalleled commitment.” IFMA/Alliance programming and activities will include a number of environmental metrics, including the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) programs, Energy Star, Climate Leaders and others. The Alliance also will take a key role in developing the first dedicated sustainability educational track at IFMA’s annual World Workplace Conference and Expo. “Facility management professionals have an incredible impact on how their organizations implement high performance, green solutions for their buildings,” said Bill Gregory, director of sustainable strategies for Milliken & Company and a spokesperson for the Alliance. “Since these individuals collectively manage nearly 60 billion square feet of building space in the U.S., getting resources to them, combined with their commitment and experience, will greatly benefit the sustainability movement within the built environment.”


Keep America Beautiful Focuses On Cigarette Litter

Keep America Beautiful Focuses On Cigarette Litter

Intensifying its efforts to combat one of America’s largest and most persistent litter problems through education and action, Keep America Beautiful® announced today the expansion of its Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. The intensified efforts will include significant public awareness advertising by Keep America Beautiful. Research conducted during the development of the program indicated a fundamental awareness problem; many smokers do not consider tossing cigarette butts to be a form of littering. Many smokers and non-smokers alike believe that the butts are biodegradable. In fact, the filter is made of cellulose acetate – a plastic that does not easily degrade under normal conditions. The expanded efforts will also provide additional resources for communities that implement the program, and will refine the program to include solutions for parks, beaches and recreation areas. Facility managers interested in reducing cigarette litter in and around their buildings can request a free CD-ROM Guide to the program through the Keep America Beautiful Web site. “Cigarette butts are the most-littered item in America, representing nearly 30% of all items documented in our clean-up initiatives,” said Keep America Beautiful president G. Raymond Empson. “Aggressively addressing this growing problem is essential to our organization’s mission of improving communities through litter prevention, waste reduction, and beautification. We’re looking forward to expanding our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in 2006.” The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program addresses the issue by integrating four proven approaches: enforcing litter laws that include cigarette litter; raising awareness about the issue using public service messages; placement of ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings or transit; and distribution of pocket ashtrays. Keep America Beautiful offers the following advice to businesses and other organizations: Provide employees and visitors with ash receptacles at all entry points. These transition points are the places smokers need to discard their cigarettes before entering the building. Once installed, these ash receptacles need to be monitored and maintained regularly. Smokers will become accustomed to using these receptacles and you may need to add more to control the cigarette litter.


Turner Construction: Costs Expected To Rise First Quarter ‘06

Turner Construction: Costs Expected To Rise First Quarter ‘06

Earlier this week, The Turner Corporation announced that construction costs in the first quarter of 2006 are projected to increase over the fourth quarter of 2005. According to the Turner Building Cost Index, the first quarter 2006 index will rise to 766, showing a 2.68% increase over the fourth quarter 2005 index of 746 and a 10.85% increase over the first quarter 2005 index of 691. Karl F. Almstead, the Turner vice president responsible for the Cost Index, says, “The volume of construction activity, cost pressure on materials associated with global demand, and the availability of skilled labor are the primary elements driving the cost escalation in the domestic construction market. Concerns over energy costs remain in the background, along with questions of the impact and timing of rebuilding following Hurricane Katrina.” Used widely by the construction industry and federal and state governments, the building costs and price trends tracked by the Turner Building Cost Index may or may not reflect regional conditions in any given quarter. The Cost Index is determined by several factors considered on a nationwide basis: labor rates and productivity, material prices, and the competitive condition of the marketplace. The index does not necessarily conform to other published indices because others do not generally take all of these factors into account.