New Jersey recently turned
down a request to require the retrofit installation of fire sprinkler systems
in existing high-rise buildings. My concern is that in the
spirit of compromise, NJ is considering requiring the installation of
sprinklers in common areas, with one head in each apartment, as
an alternative to a completely sprinklered building. In
my humble opinion, one sprinkler head in an
apartment provides little, if any, help.
I just returned from Atlanta where a gas shortage is
creating havoc. At one point I became mired in a line of cars when I simply
attempted to turn into my hotel parking lot. My path was blocked by a horde of
aggressive, petrol-starved motorists, all emotionally invested in reaching the
corner gas station. From the perspective of someone from Michigan, where gas is
still plentiful, I found the shortage scary.
This past summer, PM Engineer magazine added a
bimonthly column on solar design, written by hydronics guru John Siegenthaler,
P.E. Response to the column, called “Solar Design Notebook,” has been very
favorable, which surprises neither Siggy nor anyone else on the staff of PME.
In fact, insights that I’ve gained from Siggy’s columns have
already proven very helpful to me on two occasions...
That eardrum shattering noise you’ve been hearing is the construction industry
grinding to a halt. Will the gears that run our economy unclench?If so,
when? A few days ago, the House of Representatives joined Congress in
passing the financial “Bail Out Bill.” President Bush quickly signed the measure
so taxpayers like you and me can throw $700 billion at the problem.
When my wife and I travel for pleasure, we prefer to stay at
small boutique hotels. Their charm is quite
unique. The wallpaper or floor covering in one room might well be different
from another room on the same floor. And then we get to the plumbing...
Three years ago this month, I joined a group of
about a dozen volunteers on an emergency trip to Gulfport, MS. We were a couple
weeks behind Hurricane Katrina and traveling with an 18-wheeler loaded with
supplies. The devastation was still immense as we arrived. Now our eyes are fixed on Texas, Louisiana and
the other states that bore the brunt of Hurricane Ike.
There’s an unsettling thought tailgating the bumper of this
week’s wild ride
on Wall Street. The bad news isn’t over. Clearly, the housing and financial crises are not going to
subside any time soon. For construction pros, business opportunities will be
limited. But this is no time to play possum.
The Copper Development
Global Market Trends Conference” was held in Chicago, Sept. 10-12, and focused
mainly on green technologies and sustainable development. I attended several of
the programs, and will take this opportunity to share some of the more
memorable insights coming out of them.
September 11 was a somber day for me. From the moment I
turned on my car radio in the morning until I went to sleep, words and images
kept flooding my mind.
All day long my thoughts returned to the events of
September 11, 2001. I rarely look out my office window, but a flag flying at
half-mast kept stealing my attention. I haven’t thought this much about 9-11
since the one-year anniversary.
Uncertainty going in…certainty coming
out. That’s the shortest summary I can give of my view of cast
iron as a “green” material following last Thursday's MEC Webinar by John
Siegenthaler, P.E. (Siggy). His 60-plus-minute presentation, called Cast-Iron
Boiler Technology: Past, Present, and Future, talked at length about why cast iron boilers can no
longer be seen through “rust-colored” glasses.