College Planning & Management

JAN 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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LI KA SHING CENTER FOR BIOMEDICAL & HEALTH SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY. DESIGNED BY ZGF ARCHITECTS, LLP. PHOTO © ROBERT CANFIELD. SAFETY YOU'RE FIRE-D ASSESSING THE RISKS WHILE ALL AGREE THAT GOING green is a good thing, Mike Halligan, associate director of environmental health and safety, University of Utah, wants to remind us that fire safety can't be ignored. What do the two have to do with each other? "Vegetated roofs and roofs with photovoltaic cells, both popular with sustainable building, can pose a challenge to firefighters," he explains. Other "green" building practices also need examining. "Xeriscaping, or waterefficient landscaping, is also popular, but if you displace vegetation with wood chips or mulch you are creating a fire hazard around your buildings. Sure, you can add moisture to the material, but that is the op- posite of what xeriscaping is," he explains. The hazards don't stop there. "Permeable materials for parking lots that absorb moisture and allow it to percolate out are great for stormwater management, but can it support a fire truck?" Halligan asks. "And new types of window glazing may add to energy efficiency, but can firefighters communicate through it? If not, expensive networks or additional antennas must be added." Most schools had a full-time fire and life safety professional on staff to figure out these variables, but after the downturn of 2008, many of those positions have been eliminated. Now that work is starting up again, schools are feeling the pinch. "There just isn't enough staff to handle these questions in-house," says Halligan. "So now schools have to get comfortable working with consultants. That means choosing the right firm, writing the right RFPs, and dividing up the work." JANUARY 2013 / COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT 17

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