When the Port of Authority was Allowed to Write their Own Codes
Allowing any agency such as the Port authority or USPS to ignore rules as a cost cutting measure lives are placed at risk such as the inadequate fire suppression systems in the WTC and how the post offices ignored the dangers of employees coming into contact with asbestos on the work room floors where everyone came into contact with it
With the bombing of the world trade center something came to mind that was discussed during my apprenticeship days when the WTC was being built.
The topic on the minds of plumbers/steamfitter at that time was how to protect life and property with adequate fire protection as we knew no fire fighting equipment could shoot water up that high.
High rise building were always a deep concern of world wide fire departments as these sky scrappers are hell to protect under the best of conditions.
Now considering we have the technology to install stand pipe systems with sprinklers a new concern has arisen that of a possible plane crashing into these sky scrappers and a water system just will not extinguish this kind of fire or even keep it under control until the fire fighters arrive.
Being a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) I know we do have the means to protect these structures with several options for a class B fire.
Even as a fire fighter in the Navy (Damage control specialist) almost 40 years ago we were able to not only contain these types of fires but extinguish them quickly with some damage to the electrical equipment but we saved lives and were able to keep damage to a minimum.
The code bodies should stop thinking bottom line pricing and think of saving people by use of fire suppression systems that use foam or CO 2 or a number of other ways or a combination of several types of protection.
We could for example utilize a two pipe system one would be the cheaper water type and the other using higher temperature rated sprinkler heads for the B type of fire such as oil, gas and other flammable liquids which burn at a much higher temperature then the A type of fire which is wood paper and for a rule of thumb anything that leaves an ash.
Fire protection is not a new subject as we members of the trades do read about high rise fires and how many life's are lost because of inadequate protection.
I think some good may come out of the World trade disaster by having people wake up and realize how we (professionals in the trade) have been saying all along that these structures need more protection then most code bodies want to address.
Yes, it will add cost to a building design but what price do you put on human life?
Fire suppression systems do save life's and property and there is no valid excuse why they should not be made part of the building codes world wide.
Many times because a fire suppression system is installed the code officials give a "trade off" like less fire rated (time to burn through) walls and stairways.
Think about the fire suppression systems that are utilized in air port hangers, or on air craft carriers.
We have the technology why not use it?
I am sure the insurance savings would more then offset the cost human life and the replacement of these structures.
Think about how many billions will be paid out in property damage and loss of life and businesses that are no longer providing jobs and thus the loss of income to the business owners and employees
By Tieger Plumbing Co. Inc.ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sylvan Tieger, LMP
Plumbing Expert Witness
Plumbing Expert Witness
Sylvan Tieger,LMP, LMFSPC
United States Navy Boiler Tender
Sylvan is a Licensed Master Fire Suppression Piping Contractor / member of the NFPA. Sylvan has passed federal testing for Stationary Engineer and an American Society of Mechanical Engineers course of low pressure Boiler and unfired pressure Vessel inspector as given by Oklahoma University (Federal Boiler inspector and unfired pressure vessel inspector) for the US government. He does high rise fire suppression systems and pump installations and large boilers continuing his repair business and alterations. He also does commercial, residential, institutional and industrial work. He has continued taking courses and receiving more diplomas in heating and fire suppression training. He received his master fire suppression piping contractors license. He has completed the Plumbers Local Union 5 year apprenticeship (10,000 hours training).
Copyright Tieger Plumbing Co. Inc.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.