Unsurprising Construction Delays

Working in construction, I really didn’t expect the new Tiverton elementary schools to be ready for student occupancy this coming Monday, and indeed, the school committee has held off the transition until February 23:

A unanimous school committee voted Tuesday night to delay until Feb. 23 the move of an estimated 350 elementary students into Pocasset and Fort Barton Schools, where final touches on major renovations still continue.
The vote reflected the “consensus recommendation” made at the meeting by project architect Greg Smolley and builder H. V. Collins, said Douglas Fiore, director of administration and finance for Tiverton schools.
The recommendation was based on the views of over half a dozen inspectors (electrical, plumbing, mechanical, fire, health, elevator, and the town building official), who with the architect and builder and school officials, had toured Pocasset School Tuesday afternoon, punch lists in hand, and were scheduled to do the same at Fort Barton School on Friday afternoon.

Why a two-story school needs an elevator is beyond me; so is the reason the General Assembly hasn’t scaled back the ridiculous fire codes, yet. The extra month-and-a-half that Tiverton students will be spending in horribly inadequate surroundings is in large part a consequence of those two factors.
ADDENDUM:
I raised the topic of elevators with somebody in my household who has much more extensive experience with day-by-day life in school buildings, and she pointed out something that hadn’t occurred to me: broken legs.
The fire codes are still outlandish.

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Ken
Ken
12 years ago

Justin,
“Why a two-story school needs an elevator is beyond me;”
Try the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990
I don’t think you’d want to exclude a whole class of American students trying to attend school would you Justin?

David
David
12 years ago

Ken is right about the elevator. My experience in general contracting has led me to add days to a work schedule to accomodate local building inspections. The fire code issue? Maybe too restrictive as a political reaction to the Station nightclub fire. But based on your remarks that the Bush war on terror is successful because there have been no new attacks on US soil and that the surge in Iraq is the sole reason that levels of violence are down; so to, the new restrictive fire code laws are solely responsible for no fires in Tiverton schools.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Ken:
You wouldn’t happen to know the average number of students requiring an elevator to get to class who go through a given RI school in the course of a decade, would you?

Ken
Ken
12 years ago

Justin,
No I would not know that number however, the way the ADA law is written, if it is a “public building”, it must be ADA accessible (a ramp can take the place of an elevator see the Children’s Museum of Rhode Island 2 story ADA ramp).
As for the state fire code which adopted the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code and Life Safety 101 code, it has been around for over 40 years being updated each year. All the state fire marshal, state building code commission and GA did was tightened up some loop holes in local interpretations after the Station Night Club fire.
Let one child die in a school building fire due to relaxed fire code enforcement and listen to howling and law suits afterwards

Phil
Phil
12 years ago

David
Justin does not react well to bringing up his past posts and how they don’t square with the new ones. He either responds with churlishness or weaseles out of responding at all. Also it’s good to hear from someone that actually works in the building trade.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

My posts square just fine. David’s comments this time around were silly, to the point at which response is fruitless. Two points, though:
1. As far as I’m aware, there was no history of regular school burnings prior to the change of code, as there was a history of terrorism.
2. The real travesty of the night club fire was that existing law should have prevented it (and those ultimately responsible for the failure were given a pass).
In short, forcing communities to rebuild entire buildings because the controlling authorities dropped the ball when it came to enforcing existing law on a nightclub hasn’t solved a prior problem.

bobc
bobc
12 years ago

But based on your remarks that the Bush war on terror is successful because there have been no new attacks on US soil and that the surge in Iraq is the sole reason that levels of violence are down; so to, the new restrictive fire code laws are solely responsible for no fires in Tiverton schools.
Ken,
Thank you so much for enlightening me to the fact that Tiverton school buildings are actively pursuing the demise of students by suicide fires. Man, I must’ve missed that article. Good thing I didn’t inadvertently move to Tiverton. Hey, what about the rest of the state, any chance that this dastardly plan has spread?

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“the new restrictive fire code laws are solely responsible for no fires in Tiverton schools.”
Ken, at your convenience, could you please supply the number of school fires in states without our draconian fire laws? I believe there are forty nine such states to pick from. So that should make the task relatively easy.
Thank you.

phil
phil
12 years ago

Ah a churl but not a weasel.

Ed Davis
Ed Davis
12 years ago

Ok…not trying to win an argument just trying to offer a perspective. Most of you do not work in a schools you do not know the day to day usage. Students use elevators. Students who break their legs and are, at first, confined to a wheel chair can now go to class. Also, many students are on crutches. Kids are kids. Soccer, Baseball, etc results in sprained ankles, knees etc. There are a lot more who need the elevators than you might think. Many of the Special Ed children can not use stairs. Custodians use elevators. Heavy items get delivered. There is only one custodian on during the day so anything that gets delivered and have to be moved requires and elevator. Power tools, floor stripping and buffing machines, carpet cleaning machines are not moved via stairs. Also, when a teacher is transferred from one room to another, that is on a different floor, the elevators speed things up. Teachers use elevators. Some teachers float and have no classroom. They have a cart with their teaching materials and since their classes are often on different floors they use it to move from class to class. It is too heavy to carry up the stairs. AV materials have to be moved from the Media Center to Classes. The new mobile computer labs are on carts and have to be transported from floor to floor. The school elevator is more often more of a service elevator than a people mover. Hope this helps explain why it is needed. I think a lot of people will argue that the fallout of the station night club fire has been a bit excessive. Events that exceed a certain number of occupants now require a fire marshal which is not cheap. This expense has been a… Read more »

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

Thank you for the input, Ed.
Unfortunately, the fire prevention situation in Rhode Island is exactly the reverse as in Fall River. We have inordinately high fire prevention costs which came to naught in 2003.

bobc
bobc
12 years ago

Sorry Ken,
I inadvertently attributed a statement to you that actually came from David. So David, not Ken, needs to explain the suicide fires.

EMT
EMT
12 years ago

I raised the topic of elevators with somebody in my household who has much more extensive experience with day-by-day life in school buildings, and she pointed out something that hadn’t occurred to me: broken legs.
And medical emergencies requiring the use of a stretcher. I recently had a call on the second floor of a school with no elevator (a leg injury coincidentally), and it took 6 of us to carry the student and the stretcher down. An elevator that wouldn’t have jostled the injury sure would’ve been nice.
As for the fire code, there was a serious school fire in Shelton CT this week at a school where there has been controversy because a recent renovation did not include a sprinkler system, in violation of state fire codes. Oops.
http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/news/news_wtnh_shelton_explosion_fire_hit_shelton_high_school_200812301318
http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/news/news_wtnh_shelton_cigarette_caused_shelton_high_fire_200812311240
I’ll never understand people who think
it’s fine to operate as if something bad
will never happen just because it hasn’t happened so far.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

EMT,
At this point, I’m more than sold on the elevators, and my objection was overly hasty.
But let’s be honest about the fire code: There’s much more burdensome stuff in there than sprinkler systems.

EMT
EMT
12 years ago

Like what though? If it helps save lives how bad can it be? I used to work in the private sector of EMS, and I can tell you without question that cutting corners on things that someone trying to make a profit sees as “unnecessary” doesn’t make much sense to me.
I can give much better patient care now than I ever could back then. Bare bones might be cheaper, but I can tell you from experience it can make life far more difficult for everyone, and even literally cause human suffering.

bobc
bobc
12 years ago

EMT,
No one would argue that “cutting corners” to save money is the way to go and that putting safeguards into place is outlandish. However, when is enough, enough? Let’s face it we will never obliterate human suffering, so there has to be a line drawn somewhere. The adage that if we can only save one life it would be worth it doesn’t always cut the mustard. Even with a plethora of laws, nothing can possibly hope to stop tragedy without enforcement. Something we seriously lack in RI.

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