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Message - Re: Codes for the twin towers?

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Posted by  Willis on September 09, 2003 at 09:49:58:

In Reply to:  Codes for the twin towers? posted by alma on September 08, 2003 at 13:22:22:

Of course!-- the codes were modified on an annual basis, but the NYC code may not have been changed that often. But in the span of some 30 years there have been numerous and quite imposing changes. This continues, even though most jurisdictions have now adopted the new International Building Code, which came out in 2000. The process to make changes at the lower levels of govenrment is slow and often lags the changes by the code writing agencies by years. Also, you might be interested to know that the Port Authority just within the last 6 months has decided that they will meet the new NYC code in the rebuilding-- something they, for some odd reasons did NOT do before [see following]


NEW YORK (CNN) -- A group pushing for better skyscraper safety has filed a lawsuit seeking enhanced fire safety measures in buildings constructed at the World Trade Center site.

The Skyscraper Safety Campaign filed its complaint in New York State Supreme Court on Monday, hoping that a judge might order the site's owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to comply with building and fire codes that apply to private landlords.

The Port Authority, a transportation agency founded in 1921, is exempt from those codes, but says it follows them anyway, submitting, for example, to unannounced inspections at all its properties.

The SSC was founded by Sally Regenhard, whose son, Christian, was one of 343 firefighters killed responding to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the 110-story towers, which withstood the initial impact of Boeing 767 jets, but collapsed within two hours after super-hot fires.

The Uniformed Fire Officers Association joined the lawsuit, which also sues the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which is overseeing the rebuilding process, and Silverstein Properties, run by Larry Silverstein, the trade center leaseholder who hopes to develop as many as five new towers on the 16-acre site over the next decade.

"We're not trying to slow anything down," said Tom Shanahan, the plaintiffs' attorney. "The goal is to build a safer city for the people who are going to work in and visit those buildings and the people who will live in the area surrounding them."

New York Gov. George Pataki has called for groundbreaking next summer on the trade center rebuilding plan designed by architect Daniel Libeskind.

Libeskind's plan, chosen by the LMDC, features a 1,776-foot tower, 400 feet taller than the twin towers, with 2 million square feet of office space filling its first 70 floors and an observatory and sky restaurant above.

Intense fires
The call for better fire safety measures stems from the belief that such improvements might have saved some of the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the trade center terror attack.

A study by the American Society of Civil Engineers, first reported last year on a PBS "NOVA" program titled "Why the Towers Fell," found that the planes' impact blew away fire-retardant foam that coated the towers' steal beams.

Steel floor trusses that connected the towers' load-bearing outer walls to the inner core were weakened by the fires, sparked by jet fuel, which reached more than 1,700-degrees.

According to the engineers' study, the intense fires caused the floor trusses to sag and fall, contributing to the towers' upper floors pancaking into the lower ones.

The study also found lightweight, fire-resistant drywall that surrounded the elevator banks and emergency stairwells in the towers' core were damaged by the plane crashes, exposing the core to the same fires and rendering most stairwells impassable.

The United Nations, diplomatic missions, federal government buildings, and buildings belonging to other government authorities, such as the Port Authority, are not required to comply with city building codes.

After the first terrorist attack on the twin towers -- the 1993 truck bombing -- the Port Authority entered into a "memorandum of understanding" with the city stipulating regular fire department inspections and buildings department reviews of plans for new construction.

Discussions over a new memorandum are under way.

Greg Trevor, a spokesman for the Port Authority, said: "We are saddened and disappointed that they have decided to break off discussions, because we share the same goals -- to ensure that the buildings at the World Trade Center site meet and exceed building and fire codes and to make them a national model for safety and security."

Shanahan said: "If they meet or exceed the codes, then they should have no problem consenting to the jurisdiction, which means submission of the plans and regular inspections by New York City's fire and buildings department personnel."

Connecticut Rep. Christopher Shays is a plaintiff in the suit, urging that any new buildings be subjected to local, state, and federal building, fire, and safety codes that are strictly enforced.

The Port Authority had 2,100 staffers in the towers on the morning of September 11, 2001, and lost 75 -- half of them uniformed police officers helping other people escape.

 
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