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CHANNELS ENVIRONMENTAL + SUSTAINABILITY 10 Solar Panels as Natural Resources of Energy 11 Open the Door to Energy Efficiency 12 PFAS Cleanup STRUCTURES + BUILDINGS 14 How Fire Causes Office-Building Floors to Collapse 16 Clamping Down on Noise 18 Meeting Healthcare Challenges Through Prefabricated Modular Solutions and Engineering 21 Turner Protects Workers in U.S. Navy Building with WES3 23 Safety While Working at Height TRANSPORTATION + INFRASTRUCTURE 24 Keeping America Safely Supplied in the Face of Corona Virus 26 Building Resiliency into Construction Businesses with Cloud- Based Technology WATER + STORMWATER 28 Spencer Dam Failure Investigation Provides Lessons to Engineers and Dam Professionals BUSINESS NEWS 31 30 Universal Work Zone Safety Tips 33 Structural Health Monitoring: A Technologically Preparedness Solution for Infrastructure Health Management 35 6 Essential Safety Principles for New Engineers 36 Working Without a Contract SOFTWARE + TECH 37 The Importance of BIM Integration without Compromising Vital Design Data UNMANNED SYSTEMS 39 Rapid Response Brings Calm After the Storm 42 Shell Polymers Utilizes Drone Technology to Capture Real-time Data on a Large Ethane Cracking Plant SURVEYING 44 3D Augmented Reality Solution Sought, Evaluated and Deployed
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47 Benchmarks 48 Reader Index Columns 5 From The Publisher: Opportunity in Crisis Jamie Claire Kiser 6 Engineering Front Line: Actions in a Moment of Crisis H. Kit Miyamoto
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OPPORTUNITY IN CRISIS
Though the immediate impact of COVID-19 is bleak for many in our industry, there is reason to see the foundation forming for a different type of AEC firm. The true worth of any profession or business – including the AEC industry – is revealed in a crisis. We have seen the AEC industry make itself suddenly more relevant to societal and environmental issues, and there’s opportunity in this circumstance. For an industry that has acknowledged reluctance to change and suffered from analysis paralysis, I think it’s worth calling out as an advisor to this space that this is no longer consistent with my experience. Leaders in the AEC industry have responded brilliantly; it is incredible to see how the firms that we talk to are not just open to change but are functioning as strategic change agents and making decisions without the benefit of research and information to rely upon. Firm leaders have been thrown into turmoil and have resoundingly risen to the occasion. This acknowledgment is coupled a plea to stop exhibiting the behaviors that have led to the stereotype of the AEC industry as one that is resolutely behind the times. The business case has been made that your employees are resilient, dynamic, and able to work differently than we believed they could. It will soon be time to make decisions about what this means for your organization, rather than a circumstance we have had to adapt to, and a chance to reassess our comfort level working on teams with asynchronous schedules and delivering projects in a flexible environment. Not only in terms of workplace practices, but also the role of A/E professionals is relevant at this very moment. The national spotlight is shining on thought leaders in architecture, urban planning, environmental consulting, and engineering. That “seat at the table” that we have sought out collectively is in front of us, in interviews from Forbes to talking heads in the news on subjects from public health to development to education. For many, it may feel like the first time the AEC industry has been considered “essential.” Though the immediate impact in many AEC firms is bleak in market sectors and geographies that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19, and the daily news of layoffs is not encouraging, there is reason to see the foundation forming for a different type of AEC firm. To follow the money: the massive spike in M&A interest in AEC from private equity recently is evidence that we have far too long undervalued our time, expertise, and services, and therefore our companies, too. This is the time to reframe the value proposition for the design industry. If we intend to bounce back and recover “stronger than ever,” that has got to include a shift in how we see our own contributions to our projects and how we price our services and see ourselves as professionals leading the charge instead of being beaten down on pricing and burned out by unrealistically demanding schedules. Less humility, more reminders to the market, to stakeholders, clients, and the public that this industry, in many respects, serves as both the front line and the last line of defense in fighting an outbreak.
JAMIE CLAIRE KISER is managing principal and director of advisory services at Zweig Group. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
100 percent of us are going through monumental challenges and changes in our lives now due to COVID-19. Some challenges are personal, some are business, others are financial. All of these challenges were totally unexpected to all of us. We all know changes in our lives are inevitable. We sometimes get into a comfort zone in our lives and want to remain there. But unfortunately, or fortunately, it is not possible to stay the same. A crisis puts us out of our comfort zone and makes us move forward. Just like many readers, our business was doing great. Then COVID-19 hit. The sky fell. Our leadership decided to make the best out of it. Until this happened, I was logging 30,000 miles in the air every month. I was hopping around from city to city, country to country like a madman. My job was to connect with people, find new opportunities and respond to disasters. Now I am grounded in California coming into my third month. Crisis demands changes and adaptation. The truth is, I found myself so much more effective to our business. Via Zoom meetings, we opened new offices in Las Vegas and Uzbekistan and starting M&A discussion with firms elsewhere. I am able to more intimately understand people in U.S. offices by all these video meetings. We have offices spread out all over in California, Nevada, Mexico, India, and the Caribbean. I feel all of us are united, more than ever before, virtually. Fortunately, our company set up a remote work policy and equipment last year, so production efficiency and communication were not an issue. We were prepared for this crisis. Crisis makes us creative. Our business development team stopped for a week then decided to be creative. We sent in a bottle of wine, lunch, or whiskey to a client’s home in order to set up a virtual business development session. We wrote a record-breaking amount of proposals in the middle of a crisis. Crisis makes us better. We moved the company-wide schedule to the cloud, so that any staff could collaborate much easier beyond the office boundaries. We set up a cloud base CRM system. We set up training system for overseas offices. Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.” In relation, we basically did our best to be creative and positive about the outcome. We set up ourselves for this upcoming disaster recovery phase. Adversity can bring many advantages. The question is: can we see these benefits in the middle of so-called dark hours? Crisis makes us focus on what is essential. To me, it is my family. I run, lift, and bike twice a day with my 15-year-old son. I share a bottle of wine with my daughters. We talk about the lives ahead of us. I got to know my wife in a deeper and more sensitive way. I found my niece, nephew, sister, and brother-in-law a to be a lovely and welcomed addition in my everyday life. No one knows how this current crisis will end, and we do not have any control over the global economic collapse. But one thing we have a control over is “today.” How we live, plan and appreciate today. Living out today, to its full extent, is the only thing we have control over. Today really matters.
Actions in a Moment of Crisis H. Kit Miyamoto, Ph.D., S.E.
H. KIT MIYAMOTO, PH.D., S.E., is the CEO and a structural engineer for Miyamoto International (http://miya- motointernational.com), a California seismic safety commissioner, and president of the technical nonprofit Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief. He specializes in high-performance earthquake engineering and disaster mitigation, response, and reconstruction.
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NEW LIVE WEBINARS HERDING THE DOLLARS: CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT FOR AEC FIRMS - WEBINAR FREE OVERVIEW: The conversion of projects into cash – and every step from the timesheet to the invoice to the bank account – is important for the survival of any business. With a median average collection period of 70 days, AEC firms may not be able to control every aspect of the collection process, but there are steps that each firm can take to more effectively manage working capital. In this hour-long webinar, we will review Zweig Group’s data and discuss what the data tells us works for AEC firms and we will discuss specific cash flow tips to improve the collection process and control disburse- ments. THIS WEBINAR WILL AIR ON JUNE 9, 2020 AT 12 PM CST. LEARN MORE
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OVERVIEW: With the uncertainty of traveling to In-Person events, Zweig Group has created a virtual seminar program for The Principals Academy. This is a 6 week pro- gram of 2 hours each week of a live zoom meeting with our seminar instructors. These meetings will be a mix of presentations as well as open ended Q&A sessions. This will be the same great content that is taught during our in-person The Principals Academy seminar that has trained over 800 attendees in the last 5 years. This program will have a limit of 30 participants so each participant will have time to ask questions and get the same cohort feel as an in-person seminar does. THIS VIRTUAL SEMINAR WILL BEGIN ON JUNE 17, 2020 AT 10 AM CST PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR AEC PROFESSIONALS - VIRTUAL SEMINAR PRICE: $499 LEARN MORE OVERVIEW: With the uncertainty of traveling to In-Person events, Zweig Group has created a NEW virtual seminar program perfect for upcoming and current project managers. This is a 6 week program of 1 hours each week live zoom meetings with our seminar instructors. These meetings will be a mix of presentations, discussions, and open ended Q&A sessions, with the ability to continue the discussion via discussion forum from week to week. This will be the same great content that is taught during our in-person Project Management for AEC Professionals seminar. This program will have a limit of 30 participants so each participant will have time to ask questions and get the same cohort feel as an in-person seminar does. THIS VIRTUAL SEMINAR WILL BEGIN ON JUNE 30, 2020 AT 11 AM CST
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projects, are used to exemplify the actual, real-world implementation of green infrastructure techniques. Course presenters include regionally renowned landscape architects. http://www.cpe.rutgers.edu/courses/current/ew0328wa.html
Principles of Vapor Mitigation Design and Installation – live june 9 This new online program will provide a full spectrum look into current practices of vapor intrusion mitigation system design and installation. The program will begin with a solid foundation of system design and a theoretical framework for functionality. Furthermore, it will delve into practical mitigation strategies along with the shortcomings of adapting antiquated inefficient design to modern mitigation systems in both retrofit and new construction scenarios. http://www.cpe.rutgers.edu/courses/current/en0523wa.html Herding the Dollars: Cash Flow Management for AEC Firms – live june 10-11 The conversion of projects into cash - and every step from the timesheet to the invoice to the bank account - is important for the survival of any business. With a median average collection period of 70 days, AEC firms may not be able to control every aspect of the collection process, but there are steps that each firm can take to more effectively manage working capital. In this hour-long webinar, we will review Zweig Group's data and discuss what the data tells us works for AEC firms and we will discuss specific cash flow tips to improve the collection process and control disbursements. https://event.webinarjam.com/register/22/6v958f6 This is a six week program of 2 hours each week of a live zoom meeting with our seminar instructors. These meetings will be a mix of presentations as well as open ended Q&A sessions. This will be the same great content that is taught during our in-person The Principals Academy seminar that has trained over 800 attendees in the last 5 years. The Principals Academy is Zweig Group’s flagship training program encompassing all aspects of managing a professional AEC service firm. Elevate your ability to lead and grow your firm with this program designed to inspire and inform existing and emerging AEC firm leaders in key areas of firm management leadership, financial management, recruiting, marketing, business development, and project management. https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/webinars/products/the- principals-academy-virtual-seminar-cohort?variant=31936976748616 This online course is designed for landscape architects, engineers, planners, and environmental scientists looking to learn more about the application of green infrastructure stormwater management practices utilized as part of both new development and redevelopment projects. Emphasis is given to "small footprint," retrofit green infrastructure techniques, which are especially suited for urban environments and managing the runoff responsible for localized nuisance flooding and combined sewer system overflows. Case studies, many of which are American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) award winning The Principals Academy – live Virtual Seminar starting june 17 Green Stormwater Management – live june 17-18
Restoration Ecology – live june 22-23
This online course is designed for ecologists, engineers, planners, and landscape architects involved in the recovery of impacted river, lake, riparian, wetland, and coastal environments. Drawing heavily upon real-world examples of Restoration Ecology in practice, this class will focus on the multi-disciplined recovery of degraded, damaged, or impaired ecosystems. http://www.cpe.rutgers.edu/courses/current/ew0330wa.html august 2020 During the next 10 years, over 50 percent of AEC firms are expected to increase their use of doer-sellers, yet many do not have the training or skills to succeed. In order to grow into a position of leadership, they need the skills and know-how to strategize, build and deepen relationships, and win more work. Zweig Group’s Elevating Doer-Sellers: Intensive 2 Day Workshop is designed specifically for technical professionals in AEC firms. https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/events/products/elevating- doer-sellers?variant=31274832789576 elevating doer-sellers august 5-6 – chicago, il This one-day training course covers the critical focus areas every AEC Industry project manager should be familiar with and is presented in lecture, tutorial, and case study workshop sessions. Attendees will leave armed with a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics, skills, and techniques successful project managers must have to flourish in their role. https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/seminars/products/ excellence-in-project-management?variant=30890361323555 september 2020 Project Management for AEC Professionals rescheduled: august 12 – dallas, tx This one-day event is open to all and for anyone interested in learning more about how to solve the AEC industry’s top challenge: recruitment and retention. The ElevateHER symposium will gather together leaders in the AEC industry, Zweig Group’s ElevateHER 2020 Cohort members, and speakers on topics related to hiring, retaining valuable employees, and fostering a diverse and equitable workplace. https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/conference/products/ elevateher-symposium?variant=31530063265864 elevateher symposium september 30 – denver, co
elevate aec conference september 30-October 2 – denver, co
Leadership skills for AEC Professionals rescheduled: october 29-30 – dallas, tx
The Elevate AEC Conference & Awards Gala (formerly the Hot Firm & A/E Industry Awards Conference) is the AEC industry’s premiere experience to connect global leaders, solve industry issues, present next practices, and celebrate the most successful firms in the built environment. https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/conference/products/2020- elevate-aec-conference?variant=30365800988707 October 2020 AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2020 is the global stage for everything unmanned — from state-of-the-art propulsion technology, sensors, energy storage and UAS mitigation solutions to what’s coming over the horizon in AI, 5G, edge computing, and more. As the largest, most significant event for the unmanned systems industry, you’ll find your edge as you explore the latest technology innovations, develop new perspectives as you hear from industry luminaries, and cultivate creativity at special networking events where you will meet some of the most influential leaders in the unmanned and autonomous space. https://www.xponential.org/xponential2020/public/enter.aspx AUVSI Xponential rescheduled: october 6-8 – dallas, tx This one-day training course covers the critical focus areas every AEC Industry project manager should be familiar with and is presented in lecture, tutorial, and case study workshop sessions. Attendees will leave armed with a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics, skills, and techniques successful project managers must have to flourish in their role. https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/seminars/products/ excellence-in-project-management?variant=30890364796963 Solid financial management is crucial to the success of any company, and firms in the AEC industry are no exception. This course provides an overview of business financial management – specifically tailored to our industry – to help firm leaders make informed decisions. Topics include: interpreting financial statements; key performance metrics; benchmarking and predictive cash flow management; and how strategic decisions drive the value of the firm. Project Management for AEC Professionals october 14 – minneapolis, mn Learn the Language of Business: Financial Management october 20 – dallas, tx https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/events/products/financial- management-for-non-financial-managers?variant=15425604845603
Practical leadership skills are vital to the health and success of every company in any industry. Effective leaders motivate their teams to achieve exceptional results, inspire others to be better than they thought possible, and create an environment where their team is focused and working towards a common vision. Zweig Group’s team of management experts – who have extensive experience working with AEC firms providing solutions to the challenges facing AEC firms today – deliver practical solutions that technical professionals can put to work immediately to lead their firms to success. https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/events/products/leadership- skills-for-aec-professionals?variant=30889848569891 virtual Solid financial management is crucial to the success of any company, and firms in the AEC industry are no exception. This short course provides an overview of business financial management – specifically tailored to our industry – to help firm leaders make informed decisions that drive results. Topics include: interpreting financial statements; key performance metrics; benchmarking and project cash flow management. https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/webinars/products/copy-of- recruitment-retention-webinar?variant=31805139320904 Driving Financial Results Webinar 1 pdh Zweig Group's research shows that recruiting and retention are the #1 challenges AEC firms have faced in the last few years. This webinar discusses current data from exclusive industry survey results that can be used to effectively develop your firm's recruitment and retention strategy in any type of job market. https://shop.zweiggroup.com/collections/webinars/products/ recruiting-retention?variant=31792090054728 Recruitment & Retention Webinar .5 pdh
The matter of getting energy from renewable sources is very relevant today. While in some locations such energy would solve the basic problems, such as the lack of food, medical care, etc., in other locations it would contribute to the solution of such problems like environmental pollution, resource exhaustion, and others. The sources of renewable energy are well known. Those are wind, water, and sun. Solar energy attracts special attention because it is inexhaustible. However, it is still not used as widely as people wish. The main problem is how to harness solar energy. While earlier, it was harnessed through the specific location of buildings, for example, with windows faced to the side where there is more sunshine. Now, solar panels are used to harness solar energy. Just a couple of years ago, the efficiency of solar panels was limited. For example, they could transform solar energy only during hours when the sun was shining on them. Now, the technology has improved sig- nificantly. Such elements as a solar actuator and sensors have changed the way solar panels work. Solar actuators move panels to follow the sunlight. Thus, they make solar panels more efficient. Sensors are the elements that tell the actuators where to move the panel. A Solar Panel: Is It Efficient Indeed? A solar panel is very robust. It is designed to work in the most severe environments. From this point of view, this equipment is reasonable. A normal solar panel installation pays off within 1-2 years of service. While the service life of the equipment is normally around 25 years. So, from both economic and ecological points of view, solar panels are a very profitable investment. The sun is an endless source of energy. More than 173,000 terawatts of this energy hit our planet daily. If we could use at least a small part of it, the problem of the lack of energy would be solved forever. Solar panels are not completely harmless though. Many materials ap- plied for the manufacturing of a solar panel are potentially hazardous or harmful. For example, for making photocells, silicon is used. Silica gas is explosive which poses a potential danger. Silicon production itself involves the use of sulfur hexafluoride. This gas contributes most to the greenhouse effect. Application Fields Solar panels are relatively cheap. However, they provide people with an easily accessible source of energy. That’s why they are widely ap- plied in all walks of life. • In farming, solar panels are used in difficultly accessible areas where the traditional energy sources are not available. Solar energy is applied to power Solar Panels as Natural Resources of Energy
water pumps to deliver water to livestock and fields. As well, it is used for the houses of farmers. • Many households use solar panels for water heating. It is known that water heating contributes to up to 30 percent of the greenhouse effect. The solar energy allows eliminating this impact completely. In addition, solar energy allows for decreasing electricity bills. • Lighting is one of the most common applications of solar panels. It is widely applied in areas where the traditional electricity systems are not available or using them can be potentially dangerous. Special sensors allow the lights to turn on and off automatically. Solar lighting systems allow preserving wildlife while still electrifying the areas where the traditional energy sources are not available or not unwished. Do Solar Panels Have A Future? We would say that solar panels, along with other technologies that use renewable energy, will replace the traditional ways of producing energy. For now, researchers still have many things to improve about solar panels. For example, many researchers are working to find out to find out how to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic cells. Their average efficiency is around 30 percent only. Most of the photovoltaic cells of a solar battery hardly reach 10 percent of their efficiency. Thus, there is room for improvement. Solar panels are still expensive for most households. Even though they pay off within a relatively short period, this is still an investment that many households cannot afford. Hence, technology should be devel- oped that will make solar panels more affordable. Other than that, solar energy is being increasingly used to preserve the environment and to provide people with an endless source of clean energy.
Open the Door to Energy Efficiency
Minimizing Energy Costs with Bi-fold & Hydraulic Doors
Hydraulic and bi-fold doors are one of the most convenient and neces- sary features on many buildings. Without them, we couldn’t quickly and easily load and unload bulk materials or have access into and out of buildings with large and oversized equipment. But with large doors, as with any opening into a structure, comes the risk of energy losses and increased heating and cooling costs. Whether it’s a door for a new educational building or a replacement unit for an existing manufactur- ing facility, a door that’s built and installed with energy efficiency in mind will not only save costs but will also last longer. When looking for a hydraulic or bi-fold door, you’ll see that most, if not all, are customized options. Even so, it’s still worth noting that this is the most critical aspect of the door selection process. Just like the windows in a house, a bi-fold or hydraulic door that’s made precisely for the opening it’s intended will be one of best lines of defense against energy loss. Work with a manufacturer that is thorough and works from the be- ginning to the end of the project, designing, building, and installing the door. This ensures they understand the needs of the facility and expectations of the project. For example, if temperature fluctuations are unacceptable due to the door’s proximity to sensitive materials, a swing-open hydraulic door with a fast open and close time might be preferred over a bi-fold door. Some door manufacturers offer variable frequency drives (VFDs) for their bi-fold doors that decrease the door’s open and close cycle times by as much as 30 percent. Some VFDs also convert single-phase power into three-phase power, which is more economical because it doesn’t require as much conductor material. In addition to minimizing how long the door takes to open and close, choosing to insulate the door can also have a big impact on controlling energy loss. Take a look at the insulation options and choose an op- tion that will be appropriate for the climate and building needs. Work with a manufacturer to find the best-rated insulation for the climate. Insulation materials – such as white-faced blanket, board or spray foam – vary in cost and rating. When considering windows, be sure to look for insulated glass options to maximize efficiency. A malfunction or broken part can have a big impact on a facility’s production, especially in the dead of winter. A door that is solid, du- rable, and built with quality components ensures optimal performance and contributes to energy efficiency day after day. Look for all-steel designs, which provide greater stability than doors made with wood and steel. Heavy-gauge steel tubing and jig-welded construction are ideal for enhancing door durability and dependability.
To expedite the installation of a bi-fold or hydraulic door and minimize heating and cooling costs during replacement projects, work with a manufacturer that fabricates the door offsite and ensures materials are delivered to the site before the project. This will ensure a quick and smooth installation.
To expedite the installation process and minimize heating and cool- ing costs during replacement projects, work with a manufacturer that fabricates the door offsite and ensures materials are delivered to the site before the project. This will ensure a quick and smooth installation. Doors are exposed to the elements every day, so it’s important to oc- casionally inspect them, especially before winter, to ensure energy sav- ings year after year. Take a look at the seals and weather strip, which are the door’s only defense against air infiltration where it meets the ground and building. Minimizing building energy loss and costs can be challenging when large building openings are needed, but knowing the ins and outs of installation and design will open the door to efficiencies and savings. JASON MYRVIK is the general manager at Midland Door Solutions, which manu- factures and installs bi-fold and hydraulic doors for new and existing buildings. He has more than 17 years of industry experience. As general manager, he oversees the manufacturing and installation departments, ensuring the best customer service from the door design to production to on-site installation. Contact him at Jason@MidlandDoorSolutions.com. A hydraulic or bi-fold doors that is built and installed with energy efficiency in mind will not only save costs but will also last longer.
PFAS Cleanup Challenges and Solutions By James Peeples
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of about 5,000 human-made chemicals whose management and remediation present a challenging task for site owners and government agencies. PFAS have unique chemical and physical properties that have led to their wide- spread use in industrial and consumer products, ranging from aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) used for fighting flammable liquid fires to spray-on products for fabrics that repel water and stains. PFAS, except in the polymerized form (e.g. Teflon), typically consist of two parts: (1) a hydrophobic and lipophobic carbon backbone where all the carbon atoms are bound to fluorine atoms (perfluoroalkyl) or there is a mix of hydrogen and fluorine atoms bound to the carbon backbone (polyfluoroalkyl), and (2) a hydrophilic functional group, which can be a carboxylic or sulfonic acid, as in the case of two widely used PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesul- fonic acid (PFOS). The carbon-fluorine bonds within the backbone of these molecules rank among the strongest bonds in organic chemistry and this strength together with the protective “shell” around the carbon backbone formed by the fluorine atoms impart an extreme chemical and physical stability to PFAS molecules (ITRC, 2020). If it were only for their extreme chemical and physical stability, PFAS would likely have found many uses in industrial and consumer prod- ucts; however, many of these “forever chemicals” also dissolve well in water, due to their hydrophilic functional group, and the carbon-fluorine backbone exhibits both hydrophobic and lipophobic properties allow- ing it to repel both water and oils. Collectively, these properties result in a substance that is slippery, noncorrosive, chemically stable and has a high melting point (ITRC, 2020); PFAS chemicals add oil and grease repellency and chemical/physical stability to products (ATSDR, 2020). These properties have resulted in widespread use of PFAS in indus- trial and commercial/retail products such as nonstick coatings (e.g., Teflon®), chemical- and temperature- resistant plastics and tubing, stain treatments for fabric (e.g., Scotchgard™, STAINMASTER®), photographic antireflective coatings, car wax, waterproof/breathable clothing (e.g., GORE-TEX), architectural composite resins, aerospace/ aviation products, mist-suppressant foams in electroplating, AFFF, and paper/cardboard coatings (e.g., popcorn bags and pizza boxes) and many other products/uses (ITRC, 2020). The key takeaway is that PFAS substances are incredibly useful and incredibly stable, leading to their widespread distribution and their long-term persistence in the environment (USEPA, 2020). These fac- tors have resulted in a challenging situation for both the regulated and regulatory communities. Virtually all people have been exposed to PFAS either directly, through products we use, or indirectly, through environmental exposure (ATS-
DR, 2020; USEPA, 2020). The Agency for Toxic Substances and Dis- ease Registry (ATSDR) reports PFAS are found in “the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment” (ATSDR, 2020). Toxicologi- cal and epidemiological studies have found links between exposure to some PFAS and significant health effects. Some studies in humans with PFAS exposures indicate the potential for PFAS to interfere with the body’s natural hormones, increase cholesterol levels, affect the immune system, and increase the risk of some cancers (ATSDR, 2020). While the PFAS family contains thousands of human-made compounds, only a few have received significant testing or study. Much more work is yet to be done to evaluate the health effects of a broader range of this very large and useful family of compounds. As the health and toxicological studies raise concerns over the poten- tial effects of PFAS on humans and other organisms, regulators have taken notice. PFAS compounds began to receive attention as emerging contaminants of concern in the early 2000s (ITRC, 2020). By 2002, PFOS, was voluntarily phased out of production in the United States (ITRC, 2020). Additional voluntary phaseouts of global production by eight PFOA manufacturers occurred in 2006 (ITRC, 2020). The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) announced a Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisory of 70 parts per trillion (ppt or ng/L) of combined concentrations for PFOA and PFOS, two of the more commonly detected PFAS in 2016 (USEPA, 2016). Health advisories are unenforceable guidance providing information on con- taminants that can cause health effects and are known or anticipated to occur in drinking water (USEPA, 2016). In 2018, ATSDR set minimal risk levels in drinking water for four PFAS: PFOA at 78 ppt* (adult) and 21 ppt (child); PFOS at 52 ppt (adult) and 14 ppt (child); perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) at 517 ppt (adult) and 140 ppt (child); and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) at 78 ppt (adult) and 21 ppt (child) (ATSDR, 2018). In Feb- ruary 2019, USEPA released a PFAS Action Plan that listed targets and milestones but no hard deadlines. The Action Plan, among other items, includes the following: evaluating PFOA/PFOS for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) in drinking water and as possible hazardous
*ppt = parts per trillion
the future until a consistent federal standard for PFAS, which is also acceptable to state regulators, is enacted. A quick resolution to this problem is not expected. Once released into the environment, some PFAS have been shown to be relatively mobile and most have been found to be stable and per- sistent. At the current time, remediation of soil containing PFAS has been limited largely to landfilling and incineration. Incineration is an expensive process, particularly if the soil must be transported great dis- tances to the location of an incinerator that is permitted for incineration of PFAS. It is expected that landfills will be more reluctant to accept PFAS-containing material as they become required to deal with PFAS present in their leachate. In situ remediation of PFAS in groundwater is not currently feasible, and due to the chemical stability of PFAS molecules, in situ destructive technologies for PFAS in groundwater is likely to be very challeng- ing. Technologies are available for adsorbing and containing PFAS in place within an aquifer. This approach can be effective for containing PFAS and preventing its spread through a broader area of an aquifer. However, these technologies do not destroy the PFAS in the aquifer, but merely hold them in place. For the present time, the most effective approach for containing and treating PFAS in groundwater is a pump-and-treat system. These sys- tems can contain a plume of PFAS in groundwater and allow removal of the PFAS at the ground surface, through a variety of readily avail- able treatment technologies. The treated groundwater can be used as a drinking water source, released to a surface water body or reinjected into the aquifer. The most commonly used technologies for treating PFAS in water are granular activated carbon (GAC), ion exchange resins, and membrane technologies. Of these technologies, GAC is the most prevalent at this time and is effective for removal of some of the most commonly encountered PFAS. Ion exchange resins have been shown to be effective for a wide range of PFAS compounds and research is ongoing to improve the range of PFAS treated and the ca- pacity of the ion exchange resins. Membrane technologies, such as nanofiltration and reverse osmosis are quite effective for removal of a broad range of PFAS but can be costly to implement and operate and will also result in the generation of a waste stream that still contains the removed PFAS in a concentrated form.
substances, developing interim remediation standards, establishing state/local authorities as the first line of enforcement, finalizing toxic- ity assessments for and values for some additional PFAS chemicals, completing a significant new use restriction (SNUR) analysis under the Toxic Substance Control Act, considering the addition of PFAS to Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting, and developing consistent informational materials across various governmental agencies. In the absence of quick action and clear leadership at the federal level, individual states have enacted their own regulations with respect to drinking water and in some cases biosolids and soils. This has resulted in a patchwork of varying standards and health advisories across the country, with those states that have established more stringent levels for the presence of PFAS in environmental media taking the lead role in enforcement. This presents a difficult environment for the regu- lated community with varying standards being applied throughout the country and being implemented under different timetables. It appears this challenging regulatory environment will remain in place well into References Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls (June 2018). https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp200.pdf. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), accessed May 14, 2020. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and Your Health. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/index.html. Interstate Technology and Research Council (ITRC), 2020. PFAS Technical and Regulatory Guidance Document and Fact Sheet PFAS-1. Washington, D.C.: Interstate Technology and Research Council, PFAS Team. https://pfas-1.itrcweb.org/. United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), November 2016. Drinking Water Health Advisory for Perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (“PFOS”). https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-05/ documents/pfoa_health_advisory_final_508.pdf, https:// www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-05/documents/ pfos_health_advisory_final_508.pdf. United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), accessed May 14, 2020. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). https://www.epa.gov/pfas.
JAMES PEEPLES, Vice President & Senior Technical Environmental Engineer at T&M Associates.
Engineers and technicians at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) spent months meticulously recreating the long concrete floors supported by steel beams commonly found in high-rise office buildings, only to deliberately set the structures ablaze, destroy- ing them in a fraction of the time it took to build them. These carefully planned experiments produced cracked concrete slabs and contorted steel beams, but from the rubble arose a wealth of new insights into how real-world structures behave and can eventually fail in uncontrolled building fires. The results of the study, reported in the Journal of Structural Engineering, indicate that structures built to code are not always equipped to survive the forces induced by extreme shifts in temperature, but the data gained here could help researchers develop and validate new design tools and building codes that bolster fire safety. In the United States, fireproofing materials are sprayed or painted onto weight-bearing beams or columns to slow their temperature rise in case of a fire. These materials, which are typically the only fire-resistance measures integrated into the skeletons of buildings, are required by building codes to be thick enough to delay structural deterioration for a certain number of hours. The responsibility of putting fires out or preventing them from spreading, however, typically falls on measures outside of the structural design, such as sprinkler systems and local fire departments. How Fire Causes Office- Building Floors to Collapse NIST tests could lead to stronger building codes, improved design tools. By SL. Choe, S. Ramesh, W. Grosshandler, M. Hoehler, M. Seif, J. Gross and M. BundyLauricello, PE, Virginia Creighton, PWS, David Tomasko, PhD, and Mike Salisbury, PE
The current approach to fire safety is typically sufficient to protect most buildings from collapse; however, there are rare situations in which fire protection systems and firefighting efforts are not enough. In dire circumstances like these, where fires rage in an uncontrolled fashion, flames can sometimes burn so hot that they overwhelm the defense of the fireproofing and seal the structure’s fate. Just like the red liquid in a thermometer rises on a hot day, components of a building will undergo thermal elongation at elevated temperatures. But whereas the liquid has room to expand, steel beams, like those used to hold up floors in office buildings, are typically bound at their ends to support columns, which typically stay cool and maintain their shape for longer because of additional fireproofing and the reinforce- ment of the surrounding structure. With very little wiggle room, beams that heat up during fires could press up against their uncompromising boundaries, potentially breaking their connections and causing floors to collapse. To better prepare buildings for worst-case scenarios, structural designs may need to account for the forces introduced by fires. But because
Mimicking the design of floors from high-rise office buildings, Choe and her colleagues at the NFRL formed concrete slabs atop steel beams spanning 12.8 meters (42 feet) — a typical length in office buildings and also the longest fire-tested in the United States. The floors were suspended in the air, fastened at their ends to support columns either by double angle or shear tab connections, which are differently shaped but both commonplace. To make the test conditions even more true to life, the engineers used a hydraulic system to pull down on the floors, simulating the weight of occupants and moveable objects like furniture. The beams were also coated in fire- proofing material with a two-hour fire-resistance rating to meet building code requirements, Choe said. Inside a fireproof compartment, three natural-gas fueled burners torched the floors from below, releasing heat as rapidly as a real building fire. While the compartment warmed up, various instruments measured the forces felt by the beams along with their deformation and temperature. As temperatures within the compartment surpassed 1,000 C, the expanding beams, having been constrained between two support columns, began to buckle near their ends. No floor came out of the fire tests scot-free, but some withstood more than others. After around one hour of heating, the shear tab connections of one beam — now having dipped down by more than two feet — fractured, leading to collapse. The beams with double angle connec- tions, however, beat the heat and remained intact. That is, until they tumbled down hours after the furnaces were shut off, as the beams cooled and contracted back upwards, breaking the double angle connections.
the behavior of a burning building is complex, structural engineers need help predicting how their designs would hold up in an actual fire. Computer models that simulate building fires could provide invaluable guidance, but for those tools to be effective, a considerable amount of experimental data is needed first. “The main purpose of this experiment is to develop data from realistic structure and fire conditions that can be used for developing or validat- ing computational programs,” said Lisa Choe, NIST structural engi- neer and lead author of the study. “Then the programs can be expanded to different building configurations and used for design.” Structures are seldom fire-tested at a realistic scale. Standard tests make use of laboratory furnaces that typically only accommodate individual components or small assemblies without the kinds of end connections that are used in buildings. Size is less of an issue for NIST, however. Within the National Fire Research Laboratory (NFRL), engineers can build and safely burn structures as tall as two stories and have a plethora of tools available to inspect the destruction.
While the study’s small sample size means conclusions about build- ings in general could not be drawn, Choe and her team did find that the beams with double angle connections endured greater forces and deformations from the temperature changes than those with shear tab connections. “The influence of the thermal elongation and contraction is something that we shouldn't ignore for the design of steel structures exposed to fires. That's the big message,” Choe said. Toward the goal of more robust designs, these results provide invalu- able data for researchers developing predictive fire models that could lay a foundation for buildings that resist not only burns, but the force of fire.
Clamping Down on Noise Different Ratings Measure Sound Control, And Knowing the Distinction is Essential By Thomas Renner
Just one year after it opened, the Great Lakes Center for theArts sched- uled a wondrous array of events at the height of the 2019 summer. The Center in Petoskey, Mich. scheduled 31 events for the months of July and August – jazz concerts, movies, the Grand Rapids Symphony, bal- let, violin recitals, a leadership forum, and a closing performance from two of Broadway’s most endearing leading ladies, Andrea McArdle and Donna McKechnie. The diverse lineup of performers aligned perfectly with the mission of the Center. “The mission of the Great Lakes Center for the Arts is to inspire, entertain, and educate with year-round, diverse, world-class programming at affordable ticket prices with robust educational ini- tiatives,” said the Center’s Executive Director, Jill O’Neill. “Visiting artists, intellectual dialogue, movies and film, and educational pro- gramming accompany music, theater, dance, and comedy in bringing exceptional, world-class opportunities to the shores of Lake Michigan.” The architectural design team at TowerPinkster included many unique architectural elements at the 525-seat, 40,000 square foot venue, which sits just steps away from Little Traverse Bay, an offshoot of Lake Michigan. Roots for the project reached back 20 years, when a Community Cultural Plan for Emmet and Charlevoix Counties pri- oritized development of additional cultural facilities and envisioned the addition of a unique performing arts center for the region. After a nine-month design process and 16 months of construction work, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra raised the curtain at the opening gala for the Center. Architectural pieces unique to the region adorned the facility. They in- clude aged copper, Petoskey stone, natural sedimentary rock. “And of course,” lead architect Jason Novotny said, “the beautiful blue waters of Lake Michigan.” Atop the roof of the Center are five acoustical smoke vents that help protect against noise intrusion. The vents, manufactured by The BIL- CO Company, are life safety products that exhaust smoke, heat, and burning gases to improve visibility and protect the building structure. They also allow firefighters to enter the building and contain the fire, and provide safe egress for building occupants. Acoustical smoke vents, however, take on the added quality of control- ling noise. They are used in theaters, concert halls, and in projects near highways, airports, and railroad lines. In a high-performing acoustical environment, Novotny said the design team knew it needed reliable acoustical smoke vents “With the potential for more than 500 visitors for larger events, our team knew we would have a need for a depend- able smoke ventilation system,” Novotny said.
Smoke vents from The BILCO Company sit atop the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Petoskey, Michigan. The vents protect property and aid firefighters in bringing a fire under control by removing smoke, heat, and gases from a burning building. Photo: Brooksie Productions
Acoustical smoke vents, however, have different ratings that measure how effective they are at limiting noise intrusion. Understanding those ratings is an important part of building design. Rating Acoustical Smoke Vents Ratings for acoustical smoke vents are divided into two groups: Sound Transmission Class (STC) and Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC). The difference in the ratings is essential for architects, design- ers, and construction teams to understand. And in the case of the Great Lakes Center and other performance venues, the key rating is OITC. OITC rates the transmission sound between outdoor spaces and indoor spaces in a structure. The OITC rating was developed in 1990 and is typically used to measure sound transmission loss over a frequency range from 80 to 4000 hertz. It is most applicable for measuring the prevention of low frequency exterior sounds such as automotive traffic, construction, and low-flying airplanes through exterior building surfaces. “OITC is the preferred rating when addressing sound insulation from exterior noise – especially when transportation noise sources are Acoustical smoke vents minimize noise infiltration and serve as a critical safety component by allowing smoke, heat, and gases to escape from a building in case of fire. Photo: Brooksie Productions
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