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New High-Rise Code Changes Based on World Trade Center Investigation

Safer buildings, especially tall structures, that are more resistant to fire and more easily evacuated in emergencies are the goal of the first comprehensive set of building code changes recently approved by the International Code Council (ICC) based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

By CP Editorial Staff    Facilities Management   Article Use Policy

Safer buildings, especially tall structures, that are more resistant to fire and more easily evacuated in emergencies are the goal of the first comprehensive set of building code changes recently approved by the International Code Council (ICC) based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The recommendations are based on the findings of NIST's three-year investigation of the collapses of New York City's World Trade Center (WTC) towers on Sept. 11, 2001. The changes will be incorporated into the 2007 supplement to the ICC's International Building Code (IBC), a model code used as the basis for building regulations promulgated and enforced by U.S. state and local jurisdictions.

The proposals addressed areas such as: increased resistance to building collapse from fire and other incidents; use of sprayed fire-resistive materials, commonly known as fireproofing; performance and redundancy of fire-protection systems, or automatic sprinklers; fuel-oil storage and piping; elevators for use by first responders and evacuating occupants; the number and location of stairwells; and exit-path markings.

The model code changes consistent with the WTC investigation recommendations that now are required by the IBC are:
* an additional exit stairway for buildings more than 420 feet in height
* minimum of one fire service access elevator for buildings more than 120 feet tall
* increased bond strength for fireproofing.

Field installation requirements for fireproofing to ensure that:
* installation complies with the manufacturer's instructions;
* the substrates are clean and free of any condition that prevents adhesion;
* testing is conducted to demonstrate that required adhesion is maintained for primed, painted or encapsulated steel surfaces
* the finished condition of the installed fireproofing, upon complete drying or curing, does not exhibit cracks, voids, spalls, delamination or any exposure of the substrate.
 
For more information, including a web-based system for tracking the progress toward implementing all of the NIST WTC recommendations, visit http://wtc.nist.gov.
posted on 6/21/2007



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