regulations & standards
2014-07-08: Why do individuals and institutions wake up to a problem only when extensive damage to property, or horrendous injury to people, has already occurred … and the shit hits the fan … big time ?!? What way is that to organize a society … or protect its communities ???
The Answer is Simple: Prevention ! Not Cure … when damage cannot be effectively repaired … some injuries can never be healed … and it becomes very costly to do anything !!
In Ireland … Part D of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations, as amended, states the following …
Materials & Workmanship
Legal Requirement D1: All works to which these Regulations apply shall be carried out with proper materials and in a workmanlike (i.e. competent) manner.
Definition of ‘Proper Materials’
Proper Materials: Building/construction materials (or products, systems, assemblies, etc.) which are fit for the use for which they are intended and for the conditions/location in which they are to be used.
Reference European Union (EU) Legislation
EU Regulation No.305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 9 March 2011, laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC.
[ N.B. The 1989 European Directive on Construction Products (89/106/EEC) was repealed, in 2011, by Article 65 of EU Regulation No.305/2011. ]
It is the duty of a Supplier … any Supplier, e.g. manufacturer, distributor, agent, wholesaler, whatever … of building/construction materials to clearly show that they are ‘proper materials’, i.e. they are fit for the use for which they are intended and for the conditions/location in which they are to be used.
Refer to SDI’s Technical Guidance Notes … www.sustainable-design.ie/arch/tgn.htm
It is the duty of the Design Professional in Responsible Charge of a construction project (whoever he/she may be – architect, engineer, etc., etc.) to demand of a Supplier … additionally and most particularly, where there are any doubts about any relevant aspect of that material’s performance … that he/she/they clearly show that the building/construction materials they are supplying are ‘proper materials’, i.e. they are fit for the use for which they are intended and for the conditions/location in which they are to be used.
When Pyrite, for example, shows up in the hardcore under a finished concrete floor, or in the blockwork of a completed wall, in an Irish building … we know who has ignored his or her legal/professional duty concerning proper and satisfactory compliance with Legal Requirement D1 … and who is liable.
For bureaucrats and the legal profession, this is the end of the story.
At this stage – when building occupants are hurt and extremely annoyed following, perhaps years, of inconvenience and discomfort – it’s too late ! The damage cannot be effectively repaired … and such limited repairs which can, in practical terms, be carried out will be very expensive.
PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM …
In Ireland, have we properly learned any lessons from Priory Hall, Pyrite, or Chinese Plasterboard ? No !
Could these or similar problems occur AGAIN on an Irish building site ? Yes !
Because … aided and abetted by the professional institutes … a ‘blind eye’ is being turned to the greatest lesson of all … that self-regulation/self-certification does NOT work !!
And Other E.U. Member States ???
The wording in national/local legislation may be slightly different … the language certainly will be different … but the legal intent is the same.
Legal/professional duties are similar.
Self-regulation/self-certification doesn’t work there either !
2014-05-16: Anybody with even the slightest interest in the Future Development of Fire Engineering Design, and Structural Fire Engineering in particular, should pay attention to the proceedings of an upcoming CIB/NIST Workshop, which will be held on 21-22 May 2014, at the NIST Campus in Maryland, USA …
It is essential to read 3 White Papers … produced by three separate teams of experts, contracted by NIST, in advance of the Workshop … to get a ‘real’ flavour of how discussions may, or may not, develop next week. All three papers are available to download from the NIST WebSite (follow the link above). And I suggest that you get your hands on them … ASAP !
1. Fire Behaviour of Steel Structures (March 2014). 20 Pages, 786 Kb.
2. State-of-the-Art on Fire Resistance of Concrete Structures: Structure-Fire Model Validation (March 2014). 32 Pages, 1.26 Mb.
3. Fire Resistance of Timber Structures (March 2014). 20 Pages, 998 Kb.
After reading these 3 NIST White Papers … I was not surprised by the large number of ‘unknowns’, or the enormous gaps in our ‘knowns’ …
Taken in whole and all together, however, the three documents are a public confirmation that today’s general practice of Fire Engineering is more akin to that of mid-19th Century Alchemy. Blinkered practitioners are isolated from the building design process … because they have no understanding of that process, and have no means of effective communication with the many other design disciplines involved. And minimal, i.e. ‘cost-effective’(?), compliance with the limited and inadequate fire safety objectives in current building codes/regulations is widely regarded as the one and only target for their efforts … a minor one compared to the fundamental, long-term target of realizing a Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Built Environment for All. At the same time, frontline fire service personnel are forced to operate on shoestring budgets … and, when a fire emergency inevitably occurs, they are regarded as nothing more than an expendable resource.
!! Structure … Does Not A Building Make !!
Some comments on the 3 NIST White Papers …
A. The Papers contain a number of important technical errors:
- A similar Introduction in two of the Papers refers only to the 2005 NIST Report (NCSTAR 1) on the 9-11 Collapse of WTC Buildings 1 & 2 in New York City, which contained 30 Recommendations. However, NIST published a later Report in 2008 (NCSTAR 1A) on the Collapse of WTC Building 7, which contained a further 13 Recommendations … 1 new, and 12 revised/updated from the earlier 2005 Report.
- There is a reference in one of the Papers to a 1989 European Directive on Construction Products (89/106/EEC), and as later amended. This Directive was repealed, in 2011, by Article 65 of the new European Union (EU) Regulation No.305/2011 on Construction Products. Unlike a Directive, a Regulation is addressed directly to the EU Member States, and does not permit any flexibility with regard to national implementation. Annex I of Regulation 305/2011 sets out 7 Basic Requirements for Construction Works:
- Mechanical resistance and stability ;
- Safety in case of fire ;
- Hygiene, health and the environment ;
- Safety and accessibility in use ;
- Protection against noise ;
- Energy economy and heat retention ;
- Sustainable use of natural resources.
Concerning fire safety in buildings … it is incorrect to state, or even suggest, that only the second Basic Requirement is relevant … a building must satisfy all of the Basic Requirements taken together, i.e. the 7 Basic Requirements are inter-dependent.
B. Having carefully read the Papers … none of the expert teams appear to have paid any attention to any of the NIST Recommendations, in either the 2005 or the 2008 Reports ! Note well that two separate series of posts on both sets of NIST Recommendations have been carried here on this Technical Blog.
C. If we have learned anything from the WTC 9-11 Building Collapses, it is that the Fire Engineer must be able to communicate effectively with other mainstream building design disciplines … especially ‘ambient’ structural engineers who speak the language of Structural Reliability, Limit State Design and Serviceability Limit States. The Fire Engineer must also become an active participant in the creative, trans-disciplinary process of design. These issues have not been seriously considered in any of the Papers.
D. All of the Papers lack a common and precise starting point … relevant structural fire engineering concepts are either not defined or badly defined … and the ‘dynamic, complex architectural interaction between a building’s structure and fabric under conditions of fire’ requires immediate and urgent investigation …
The ability of a structural system to fulfil its design purpose, for a specified time,
under the actual environmental conditions encountered in a building.
Structural Fire Engineering
Those aspects of fire engineering concerned with structural design for fire …
and the dynamic, complex architectural interaction between a building’s structure and
fabric, i.e. non-structure … under conditions of fire and its immediate aftermath,
including but not confined to the ‘cooling phase’.
Fire-Induced Progressive Damage
The sequential growth and intensification of structural deformation
and displacement, beyond fire engineering design parameters*, and the eventual failure
of elements of construction in a building – during a fire and the ‘cooling phase’
afterwards – which, if unchecked, will result in disproportionate damage,
and may lead to total building collapse.
[ *fire serviceability limit states ]
The failure of a building’s structural system:
(i) remote from the scene of an isolated overloading action ;
and (ii) to an extent which is not in reasonable proportion to that action.
[ Fire-Induced Progressive Damage and Disproportionate Damage are fundamental concepts in the Fire Engineering Design of All Buildings ! ]
E. It is not acknowledged in any of the Papers that the Fire Safety Objectives in Current Building Codes/Regulations are, of necessity, limited in scope … and entirely inadequate in the context of Annex I in EU Regulation 305/2011, and the long-term goal of realizing a Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Built Environment for All. Refer to the updated Scope, Aims & Objectives of CIB Working Commission 14: ‘Fire Safety’.
F. Once and for all … use of the term Fire Resistance (and any number of variations thereof, e.g. resistant, resisting, resistive, etc.) in connection with any aspect of structural performance in fire … is ridiculous ! It is roughly comparable to use of the term Fire Proof during the first half of the 20th Century.
G. Finally, for now … the current unwise focus on Crude Pass/Fail Results from the ‘standard fire’ testing of single loadbearing structural elements must evolve … must be transformed into the more detailed and precise measurement of all aspects of ‘real’ structural system performance over the full duration of a ‘design’ fire (including the cooling phase afterwards) … using a much wider range of performance monitoring equipment, e.g. short wave infra-red thermography.
It is no longer acceptable for Fire Engineering to exist in an isolated Twilight Zone … completely removed from the everyday realities of Mainstream Building & Construction.
2014-04-21: Notwithstanding the, by now, well-established existence of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), International Standard ISO 21542: ‘Building Construction – Accessibility & Usability of the Built Environment’, a host of other national accessibility standards, and a plethora of accessibility design guidance materials … not every ‘real’ site, or building, or built environment, situation is covered. It would be physically impossible.
Unless it is fixed in your mind … or, more importantly, in the ‘group-thinking’ of an organization … that Accessibility-for-All should be, for example, both independent (i.e. it is not necessary for a person to have an assistant) and inclusive (i.e. friends can do things together and no special deal is made about accessibility for one person) … it can be very difficult to emerge from beneath the weight of those documents referred to above … and to apply important disability-related principles flexibly and adaptively in the real world.
At a recent meeting with some teachers in an Irish school (which shall remain nameless) … I advised that a very good and positive start can be made by discussing together and agreeing on a Disability Policy Statement, which will help to guide future actions. More steps are required, of course, but those will come later.
Model Disability Policy Statement for Educational Establishments
Insofar as it relates to the educational activities of
Name of School/College/University/Institute
and its relationships in the wider local community …
We recognise and respect the rights of people with activity limitations:
- to lead a fulfilling life – autonomously, independently, and with dignity ;
- to integrate into the civil, political, economic, social, cultural and educational mainstream ; and
- to participate in the general life of the wider local community on a basis of equal opportunity with everyone else.
Good Education is an Important Key to Social Inclusion
In order to ensure your autonomy and independence, your civil, political, economic, social, cultural and educational integration, and your active participation in the general life of the wider local community – the principle of equal opportunity shall not prevent the adoption or maintenance of services, systems and policies providing for your support or assistance within this establishment.
[ Discussed and Agreed by the School/College/University/Institute Management Board on ...... ]
2014-04-20: Traditional/Conventional Fire Engineering Practice is slowly, but inevitably, being transformed … in order to meet the regional and local challenges of rapid urbanization and climate change, the pressing need for a far more efficient and resilient building stock, and a growing social awareness that ‘sustainability’ demands much greater human creativity …
Design Target: A Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Built Environment for All
Design Key Words: Reality – Reliability – Redundancy
Essential Construction & Occupancy Start-Up Processes: Careful Monitoring & Reporting – Independent Verification (MRV)
Sustainable Fire Engineering Design Solutions:
Are Reliability-Based …
The design process is based on competence, practical experience, and an understanding of ‘real’ building performance and resilience during Extreme Man-Made Events, e.g. 2001 WTC 9-11 Attack & 2008 Mumbai Hive Attacks, and Hybrid Disasters, e.g. 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Incident … rather than theory alone.
Are Person-Centred …
‘Real’ people are placed at the centre of creative design endeavours and proper consideration is given to their responsible needs … their health, safety, welfare and security … in the Human Environment, which includes the social, built, economic and virtual environments.
Are Adapted to Local Context & Heritage * …
Geography, orientation, climate (including change, variability and severity swings), social need, culture, traditions, economy, building crafts and materials, etc., etc.
[* refer to the 2013 UNESCO Hangzhou Declaration]
In Sustainable Design … there are NO Universal Solutions !
To protect society, the best interests of the client/client organization and building user health and safety, and to maintain functionality under the dynamic, complex conditions of fire … Project-Specific Fire Engineering Design Objectives shall cover the following spectrum of issues …
- Protection of the Health and Safety of All Building Users … including people with activity limitations (2001 WHO ICF), visitors to the building who will be unfamiliar with its layout, and contractors or product/service suppliers temporarily engaged in work or business transactions on site ;
- Protection of Property from Loss or Damage … including the building, its contents, and adjoining or adjacent properties ;
- Safety of Firefighters, Rescue Teams and Other Emergency Response Personnel ;
- Ease and Reasonable Cost of ‘Effective’ Reconstruction, Refurbishment or Repair Works after a Fire ;
- Sustainability of the Human Environment – including the fitness for intended use and life cycle costing of fire engineering related products, systems, etc … fixed, installed or otherwise incorporated in the building ;
- Protection of the Natural Environment from Harm, i.e. adverse impacts.
More Specifically … with Regard to Resilient Building Performance during a Fire Incident and the ‘Cooling Phase’ after Fire Extinguishment:
1. The Building shall be designed to comply with the Recommendations in the 2005 & 2008 NIST(USA) Final Reports on the World Trade Center(WTC) 1, 2 & 7 Building Collapses.
In one major respect, the 2005 NIST Report is flawed, i.e. its treatment of ‘disability and building users with activity limitations is entirely inadequate. The Building shall, therefore, be designed to comply with International Standard ISO 21542: ‘Building Construction – Accessibility & Usability of the Built Environment’, which was published in December 2011.
2. The Building shall remain Serviceable, not just Structurally Stable(!) … until all buildings users (including those users with activity limitations waiting in ‘areas of rescue assistance’) have been evacuated/rescued to an accessible ‘place of safety’ which is remote from the building, and have been identified … and all firefighters, rescue teams and other emergency response personnel have been removed/rescued from the building and its vicinity.
The Building shall be designed to resist Fire-Induced Progressive Damage and Disproportionate Damage. These requirements shall apply to all building types, of any height.
Under no reasonably foreseeable circumstances shall the Building be permitted to collapse !
3. The Building shall be designed to comfortably accommodate and resist a Maximum Credible Fire Scenario and a Maximum Credible User Scenario.
Concerted International Research is Needed …
To creatively resolve the direct conflict which exists between Sustainable Building Design Strategies and Traditional/Conventional Fire Engineering.
An example … for cooling, heating and/or ventilation purposes in a sustainable building, it is necessary to take advantage of natural patterns of uninterrupted air movement in that building. On the other hand, fire consultants in private practice, and fire prevention officers in authorities having jurisdiction, will demand that building spaces be strictly compartmented in order to limit the spread of fire and smoke … thereby dramatically interfering with those natural patterns of air movement. The result is that the sustainability performance of the building is seriously compromised.
If, however, adequate independent technical control is absent on the site of a sustainable building … it is the fire safety and protection which will be seriously compromised !
To effectively deal with the fire safety problems (fatal, in the case of firefighters) which result from the installation of Innovative Building/Energy/EICT Systems and Products in Sustainable Buildings.
These are appropriate tasks for a new CIB W14 Research Working Group VI: ‘Sustainable Fire Engineering Design & Construction’ !
2014-02-07: Another year, and here we go again ! Except this time around … the bullshit, hot air and ‘blah-blah-blah’ must end !! Certainly here, and at every other opportunity as well … I will demand to hear far less talk, but to see a lot more effective action on this important issue of human and social rights !!!
Just before Christmas (2013), I received a personal invitation to attend the Zero Project Conference on Accessibility for All, which will take place in a few weeks time on 27 & 28 February … at the United Nations Offices in Vienna (one of my favourite cities), Austria. You can read all the details about the conference here: http://zeroproject.org/conference/ The following is my polite and restrained reply to that invitation, dated 14 January 2014 …
RE: 2014 Zero Project Conference on Accessibility for All
To Whom It May Concern,
Thank you very much for your invitation to attend the upcoming Zero Project Conference on ‘Accessibility’ … but, having carefully examined the Draft Conference Programme, I must decline … and will not be attending.
Concerning Accessibility for All … the biggest problem within the European Accessibility Community is that we are all talk and no action. The shameful reality is that the Human Environment (including the social - built - virtual - economic environments) remains emphatically inaccessible throughout Europe and far beyond !
Even though the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is in place, ratified by the European Union and many of the EU Member States … and International Standard ISO 21542: ‘Building Construction – Accessibility and Usability of the Built Environment’ has been fully adopted … the first conference session is still asking the basic question “What is Accessibility ?”
Instead of a detailed examination of how the elaborate Accessibility Agenda contained in Articles 9, 11 and 19 of the UN CRPD can be properly and satisfactorily implemented, in an independently monitored (Art. 33), harmonized and culturally-sensitive manner across the globe … you will be presenting an ‘Access’ Beauty Pageant. Istanbul, a beautiful city with which I am very familiar, is only at the earliest stages of awareness about accessibility … and the recently published Hong Kong Fire Safety Code completely ignores fire safety for building occupants with disabilities ! Ireland is determined to delay ratification of the UN CRPD for as long as possible, and will refuse to ratify the Convention’s Optional Protocol … and I also know that implementation of the CRPD is meeting stiff resistance within the Institutions of the European Union.
Sustainable Development and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) receive no attention in the Zero Project Conference Programme … even though it took a lot of effort to ensure that the innovative and forward-looking Preamble Paragraph (g) was incorporated in the Convention. Within the rapidly evolving SDG drafting process, it is still not properly understood why and how Accessibility for All is a fundamental attribute of a Sustainable and Resilient Human Environment.
Concerning Mainstreaming … I describe a typical ‘real’ situation on our Technical Blog ( www.cjwalsh.ie/2012/11/new-legal-normative-environment-for-accessibility-in-europe/ ) … but this constant annoying struggle, and discussion on finding common approaches to its successful resolution, are absent from the Programme.
For us, attendance at the 2014 Zero Project Conference would be a waste of scarce organization resources. For Europe, however, the Conference represents a much greater waste … a magnificent opportunity missed !
C. J. Walsh, B Arch FRIAI MIBCI MIFS MIFireE – Consultant Architect, Fire Engineer & Technical Controller.
- Member, CIB Task Group 87: ‘Urban Resilience – Benchmarking & Metrics’.
- Member, CIB Working Commission 14: ‘Fire Safety’.
- Chair, CIB W14 Research Working Group IV: ‘Structural Reliability & Fire-Induced Progressive Damage’.
- Member, CIB Working Commission 108: ‘Climate Change & the Built Environment’.
- Member, EU Expert Working Group on Urban Environment Research.
- Member, EU EYPD Expert Group on Accessibility.
Managing Director, Sustainable Design International Ltd. (Ireland & Italy) and Sürdürülebilir Tasarım Tic.Ltd.Şti. (Turkey).
This 2014 Zero Project Conference on Accessibility for All is divorced from Reality … and the Real Needs of many vulnerable people in all of our communities !
Without an Effectively Accessible Human Environment (including the social, built, virtual and economic environments) … access to many other human and social rights, e.g. education, housing, medicine, voting, etc., is prevented and unjustly barred.
Building Accessibility has been clearly specified in the new International Standard ISO 21542: ‘Building Construction – Accessibility & Usability of the Built Environment’ as including … ‘access to buildings, circulation within buildings and their use, egress from buildings in the normal course of events, and evacuation in the event of an emergency’.
Two days ago, on the 12th Anniversary of the 9-11 World Trade Center Attacks in New York City … I couldn’t help recalling a period of time 20 years earlier, and the still vivid memories of institutional ‘after-shocks’ following the 1981 Dublin Stardust Discotheque Fire in February of that year. For a very long time afterwards, the Irish Fire Establishment disappeared from public view and hearing … without any trace ! As a young architect, at the time, just starting out in private practice … it was a critical lesson on the importance of ‘reality’ … and the malignancy of ‘realpolitik’.
As the years rolled by, and more and more information was revealed by troubled ‘insiders’ and uncovered by brave journalists … it was clear to me that the Dublin Fire had spawned two entirely separate and unconnected realities:
- The Frontline Tragedy … of the fire victims (those who were killed or injured on the night, and those who survived), their families and (to this day) their mournful pleas for justice and truthful answers, the local communities, the first responders, e.g. firefighters, ambulance personnel, and Garda/police and (to this day) their continuing struggle for adequate resources, the staff of the Dublin hospitals … and a shocked public.
- Defensive Institutions … senior policy and decision makers in national and local authorities, or agencies, having jurisdiction and/or responsibility for blatantly inadequate building codes and standards, poorly resourced technical control systems over building design and construction, and a dysfunctional emergency response infrastructure … senior politicians, on both sides of the political spectrum, who ‘fixed’ the format and major outcomes from the post-incident investigation (they ensured that minor outcomes were either implemented in a ham-fisted bureaucratic manner, or were ignored) … the various building design disciplines directly involved and their respective professional organizations … etc., etc.
These Same Realities have been re-born … and have evolved in scale … out of the savage destruction on that Tuesday, 11 September 2001.
2013-09-10: Recently, much ado has been made in the technical press about a New Multi-Storey Office Block in Vienna which has achieved the German ‘Passivhaus’ (Passive House) Standard …
Is There A Problem ?? Yes !!
1. It takes approximately 3 Years of Building Occupation, by ‘real’ people, before the actual performance of a building can be properly monitored and reliably shown. The building is still ‘drying out’ for the first year. It takes at least one to two years of running the complex technologies and systems in today’s buildings … training people how to operate them efficiently and effectively … and fine-tuning and de-bugging as you go along … before everything begins to work together, as originally intended during the building design stage. Then, if all goes well … in the third year of occupation, the careful (i.e. accurate and reliable) monitoring of ‘real’ building performance, by means of portable measuring devices and devices installed within the construction, can commence.
So … what exactly has achieved the German ‘Passivhaus’ (Passive House) Standard … the design intent for the building, or the building’s ‘real’ performance ???
2. Much more fundamentally … achieving this Standard is a good starting point … but in a new building project … It Is Not Enough !
A. Energy Conservation and Efficiency Burden Sharing by Different Building Types
Separate strategies are required to greatly improve the energy performance of:
- existing buildings … onto which many energy efficiency measures can be successfully grafted, but it will be difficult work and will certainly not be cheap ;
- buildings of historical, architectural or cultural importance … the integrity of which must be protected ; and
- new buildings and facilities … which must therefore carry the major burden.
B. Paradigm for New Buildings – A ‘Positive Energy’ Return + Assured Building User Comfort
Primary Energy Consumption should be less than or equal to 15 kWh/m2/yr.
Renewable Energy and Heating Systems should contribute a reliable quantity of energy, per year, which covers the following:
i) the Building’s/Facility’s Primary Energy Consumption ;
ii) an Energy Efficiency Degradation Factor which takes account of the degradation in energy efficiency …
(a) normally expected during the life cycle of renewable energy and heating systems installed in the building. The rate of degradation will depend on the quality of maintenance and servicing ; and
(b) caused by wasteful patterns of building management and/or use ;
iii) the energy consumed by Private Transport associated with the building or facility ;
iv) an Energy Return to an Intelligent District, Local or Regional Grid exceeding, by a multiple of 3 (three), the total energy consumed by the Building/Facility (including its Energy Efficiency Degradation Factor) and any associated Private Transport.
Primary Energy includes the energy required to generate, transmit and distribute electricity, as well as energy directly consumed on site.
User Thermal Comfort = Air Temperature + Mean Radiant Temperature + Air Humidity + Air Velocity, i.e. draughts (ISO 7730).
And interestingly enough … on the Passivhaus WebSite (German language version) … www.passivhaus.de/passivhaus-informationen/vom-passivhaus-zum-plusenergiegebaeude.html … this is now the thinking there also !!
Should have been happening 10 years ago !
2013-09-05: A few days ago, I was travelling on a motorway in Ireland … the scenery was luscious, and daylight and weather conditions were good … when I noticed that the visibility and marking of Emergency Response and Public Service Vehicles varied considerably. The rear of one vehicle, in particular, had highly visible markings … but it was pulling a high trailer, without any markings … and, of course, the vehicle itself and its bright luminescent markings were almost obscured.
What would happen at night, in heavy rain … if any of these vehicles had to stop on a road without any public lighting … as they responded to a traffic accident … or because they were part of a Garda/police checkpoint ? Serious danger for the responders and other road users is the obvious answer !
Then, more recently, while walking around Howth Harbour, in Dublin … I spotted this Irish Coast Guard Vehicle … which made me feel more optimistic …
Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (4.35 MB)
Produced by the U.S. Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association (CVVFA) Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI) … with the support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s United States Fire Administration (USFA), and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) – the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Author: Ron Moore - Chief Instructor, CVVFA Emergency Responder Safety.
CVVFA ERSI WebSite: www.respondersafety.com
Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (4.87 MB)
Both of these documents must be carefully adapted by the reader to suit a European context … as the following List of Recommendations from USFA Report FA-330 will clearly indicate …
To help decrease vehicle-related injuries and fatalities of emergency responders if implemented at the appropriate levels:
1. Develop a comprehensive database that tracks accidents involving emergency vehicles and any resulting injuries and/or deaths to both emergency responders and civilians.
2. Limit speeds to a level that is safe for the vehicle being driven and the road conditions on which it is being operated.
3. Adopt a zero-tolerance alcohol (and drugs) policy and enforce an 8-hour time difference between alcohol consumption and the commencement of work.
4. Equip all emergency vehicles with appropriate traffic control and safety equipment.
5. Ensure all traffic-channelizing devices meet applicable standards.
6. Ensure flaggers, if used, are properly trained and meet Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) qualifications.
7. Require members to wear highly reflective American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) 107 Class II, Class III, or ANSI/ISEA 207 compliant public safety vests whenever they operate in a roadway.
8. Mark the emergency vehicle perimeter with retro-reflective striping or markings.
9. Extinguish forward facing emergency vehicle lighting when parked on the roadway, especially on divided roadways.
10. Fire departments should consider the implementation of traffic safety response units.
11. Position the initial-arriving emergency vehicle in a blocking position to oncoming traffic.
12. Establish an adequately sized work zone.
13. Develop a formalized Traffic Incident Management (TIM) information sharing method between public safety and transportation agencies.
14. Manage major traffic incidents using the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS).
15. Consider the use of Unified Command (UC) to manage traffic incidents involving multiple jurisdictions or disciplines.
16. Incorporate transportation departments into ICS when appropriate.
17. Ensure adequate training on roadway hazards and safety procedures for responders.
2013-07-19: Once upon a time, back in 1979, when I was flying to Sydney, Australia … one of the scheduled stops on the route was Bahrain and the New International Airport Terminal there. In spite of the flashy and expensive building, I noticed how obsolete looking (and functioning) were the fittings in the toilet area. Could it possibly be, I wondered, that the Arab Gulf Region was being supplied with shoddy, second rate construction products from you-know-where ??
Fast forward to a few years ago … in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia … and I encountered one building – the same building – where one half had a 110 Volt electrical supply, and the other half had a 220 Volt supply. Amazing !?! Two different consultants, or contractors, or whatever … one from North America, and the other from Europe … with the Saudis in the middle, having to tolerate this nonsense !!
DOHA City Fire - Monday, 28 May 2012 …
I distinctly remember that some Irish people who had actually witnessed the Fatal Fire Incident at the ‘Villaggio’ Shopping Mall (www.villaggioqatar.com), in Doha (capital city of Qatar) … were afterwards talking to Mr. Joe Duffy, on the lunchtime ‘Liveline’ Programme (Ireland’s RTE Radio 1 Station).
19 People were killed on that Monday morning in Doha … 13 Children, 4 Teachers, and 2 Firefighters. Many more were injured from inhaling toxic smoke.
According to various news reports … an electrical fire, caused by a light fitting (which was not ‘fit for its intended use’) in a Nike Shop, engulfed a section of the shopping centre … spreading to the Gympanzee Drop-and-Shop Childcare Centre on the first floor.
The staircase leading to the Childcare Centre collapsed … trapping victims inside. One of their fire exits led directly to the seat of the fire, while the other fire exit was locked from the outside.
In addition, the ‘Villaggio’ – a luxury mock-Italian shopping centre (one of the most popular in the country !) where customers could ride around Venetian-style Canals, in Venetian-style Gondolas – was later found to be in breach of legislation because Essential Fire Safety Measures were either inadequate or missing, at the time of the fire: the fire sprinkler system was not working properly; inflammable paint and decorative mouldings were used in the construction; the building did not have effective fire evacuation procedures in place; the building was not equipped with proper fire-fighting equipment; and the fire alarm wasn’t loud enough.
A Qatari Court – Thursday, 20 June 2013 …
The recent outcome from this Qatari Court Case has been nagging at me ever since I saw the news on Al Jazeera (English) … www.aljazeera.com
Only Some of the People having Control / Responsibility were convicted for the Negligence which resulted in the 19 Deaths, and many injuries, at the 2012 ‘Villaggio’ Fatal Fire Incident.
Four people received six-year jail terms, while the fifth received a five-year term. All five are currently out on appeal, and will remain out of custody until the appeals process is completed.
Those convicted include Two Co-Owners of the Childcare Centre, and Members of the Mall’s Management Team. Sheikh Ali Bin Jassim Al Thani, one of the co-owners, is also currently Qatar’s Ambassador to Belgium … while Iman Al-Kuwari, the other co-owner, is the daughter of Qatar’s Culture Minister.
Two other defendants, including the Mall’s Assistant Manager and Head of Security, were cleared of all charges.
Other People having Control / Responsibility were also Careless, Incompetent, and Negligent …
2013-07-11: Further to the Posts about the ongoing Fire Safety Fiasco at Priory Hall in Dublin, beginning on 2011-10-18 … and my recent reply to Ms. Saffron Willetts, dated 2013-06-09, which can be found at the top right-hand corner of this Page …
A house with a timber-framed party wall, whether the wall projects above the roof covering or not … in a terrace, or semi-detached … and constructed in 2004 (approaching the height of the Celtic Tiger frenzy in Ireland) ?? Not even torture in Guantánamo Bay (Cuba) would persuade me to buy … or rent !
One last word of caution … carefully examine any ‘Opinion on Compliance’ covering this property.
On Sunday evening last, 7 July 2013, I received an e-mail notification from Mr. Del Tillyer about a Belmayne ‘Fire Safety’ Press Conference to be held in his home … 19 Churchwell Place, Belmayne, Dublin 13 … on Tuesday, 9 July 2013, at 11.00 hrs. I was pleased to attend.
Back in ye good olde days of the Celtic Tiger … the price paid for this 2 Storey Timber-Framed Dwelling Unit was a staggering € 530,000 ! However, following occupation of their new home, it was noticed by the family that there were BIG problems concerning nuisance sound transmission from neighbouring units. And that’s when their long shabby saga of ‘Fire Safety at Belmayne’ began … or, more correctly, it should be called the tortuous saga of a ‘Serious Lack of Fire Safety at Belmayne’ !!
In order to satisfy the Legal Requirements of Part D: ‘Materials and Workmanship’, Second Schedule to the Irish Building Regulations … this form of construction was covered by an Irish Agrément Board Certificate …
Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (1.43 MB)
Unfortunately … any connection between IAB Certificate 04/0198 and the bitter, cold reality of how 19 Churchwell Place was actually constructed … is, at best, extremely tenuous … as the following photographs clearly show …
[ It was difficult ... but I resisted the temptation to add an elaborate caption to each image which would describe the original Shoddy, Careless, Incompetent Site Workmanship ! And please bear in mind that the opening-up shown was limited ... more problems cannot be seen, or will only become apparent in the future, e.g. the inevitable settlement of low-density thermal insulation !! ]
[ This is the other unreported and completely hidden Irish National Debt ... over 20 years of 'Lite' National Regulation of the Construction Sector and an Entirely Inadequate and Ineffective National System of Local Authority Building Control / Independent Site Technical Control have resulted in a New National Building Stock which will require an enormous amount of difficult and costly repairs during the next decades ... which will have to be paid for by the citizen ! Those responsible ... National Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ's), Professional Institutes and Societies, Property Developers, Construction Product Manufacturers, and Politicians ... have all quietly slipped away from the crime scene !! ]
The Fire Consultant on this Project is Mr. Noel C. Manning.
In the event of a fire incident at this dwelling unit … why are the construction failures shown in the photographs above so risky, so hazardous, so dangerous for its occupants (more precisely – their health, safety and welfare) ??
Even within the Construction Sector, it is not well understood that the Fire Safety Objectives of Building Regulations, generally and not just in Ireland, are limited in scope to the protection of people who use and/or occupy buildings from fire (i.e. heat, smoke and flame). These Fire Safety Objectives only ‘extend’ to the protection of property (i.e. the building fabric) … insofar as the protection of that property is relevant to the protection, including the safe evacuation, of people in the building.
The biggest original construction failure shown above is that there is an extensive warren of continuous, hidden cavities within the walls, floors, service duct and ceilings of the house … which facilitates the unseen spread of fire, including toxic smoke, very rapidly throughout the building and to adjoining dwelling units. This type of insidious fire spread cannot be detected by smoke alarms located in the area of a staircase.
The serious ‘cavity’ failure is compounded by another serious construction failure … the weak and inadequate protection from fire (i.e. heat, smoke and flame) to the staircase itself … which is the only means of evacuation from the house for the occupants.
The limited Fire Safety Objectives of Building Regulations must be clearly distinguished from Project-Specific Fire Engineering Design Objectives which have a much wider scope. For an elaboration of this issue … go to: http://www.cjwalsh.ie/2012/12/sustainable-fire-engineering-for-all-sdis-professional-service/
- ¿A que se enfrenta la accesibilidad y el diseño universal? | HEART OF EARTH® on Japan in April and May 2010 … Accessibility-for-All !
- CJ Walsh on Recent Terenure Terraced Housing Fires – Party Wall Failures !!
- Saffron Willetts on Recent Terenure Terraced Housing Fires – Party Wall Failures !!
- MTC on Spectacular Dawn over Amandola (FM), in Italy – 28 April 2013 !
- Farrokh Rostami Kia on Health & Safety at a Construction Site in Osaka, Japan
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