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Office of Facilities Planning
Newsletter #26 – April 2002


Get to Know Us Better:

Introducing Mr. Mike Kinal. Mike has been a mechanical reviewer with our office for the past 17 years. With his daughter Andrea entering college this fall, he expects to enjoy many more exciting years to come at Facilities Planning.

Mike said, "that’s my story and I'm stickin’ to it."

Electrically Operated Partitions:

On August 29, 2001, amendments to section 409-f of the Education Law were signed into law. This law requires all electrically operated partitions or room dividers in schools to be equipped with safety devices to stop the motion upon the presence of a body in front of the partition/divider, and in the stacking area. It requires training for school personnel for the proper operation of the partition/divider and record keeping of the training. It makes building aid available to school districts for the costs of purchasing safety devices for electrically operated partitions and room dividers. One major item often overlooked by many that know about the passage of this law is that it requires the Commissioner of Education to write rules and regulations to specify standards.

The process of writing this regulation began in September and the proposed regulation is still being edited. Many people are aware that the modifications of the partition/dividers were supposed to be completed within one year of the law being signed. There is discussion about amending the effective date to be one year from the final approval of the regulation.

At this time it is expected that the regulation will be presented to the Board of Regents in June for discussion and for action in July.

Change Order Submissions:

In February 2002 we began entering Change Orders into our computer system and we notified everyone that only one copy of each change order is required. As of March 21, 2002, you can look up the status of your change orders on our web site. You will find them under the title Proj. Status & Reports, then Capital Construction Project Change Order Status. From there you select your county and district to review the status of your change orders. This process is similar to checking the status of your project utilizing the Capital Construction Project Review and Approval Status web page.

We have been using this process for change orders that have been received within the last six months. Therefore, you will no longer receive a copy of the approved change order. If you have submitted change orders and no approval has been received, please look them up. If they remain unapproved, it is because we are still behind in processing them, but we are working hard to catch up.

Note: Please submit only one copy of each change order.

Ventilation Air Intakes:

In Newsletter #16 for June 2001 we included an article entitled Air Intake Bulletin in which information regarding ground level air intakes was provided. Classroom floor-mounted unit ventilators can be prone to various contaminants entering the building. In addition to bugs, these include the smell of and actual residue from pesticides, fertilizer, organic matter, dead animals, and animal feces. Also, feathers, floating seedpods, pollen, soot, water vapor, water, mold, leaves, chewing gum wrappers, and other manufactured materials, may become trapped in bird screens.

In addition to the preventive measures we provided in that article, we have recently seen the use of ceiling-mounted ventilation units that are vented through the top of the wall or roof. Even though each roof penetration could be a potential leak as the years pass, other advantages have been brought to our attention in addition to the elimination of many contaminants.

(These two items may be easier to provide, possibly less extensive and, therefore, less expensive when considering alteration or reconstruction work.)

As for the potential roof leak, the leak can be detected immediately instead of causing a potential mold problem as a result of non-detection. Those districts that have had to deal with mold know that it is potentially a very difficult problem.

Please carefully consider the location of all ventilation air (makeup air) intakes. The ventilation rate procedure of ASHRAE 62 is dependent upon acceptable outdoor air quality being available for ventilation purposes. In accordance with ASHRAE 62, "Ventilation systems should be designed to prevent re-entrainment of exhaust contaminants, condensation or freeze-ups (or both) and growth of microorganisms. Makeup air inlets and exhaust air outlets shall be located to avoid contamination of the makeup air." In addition, "Where soils contain high concentrations of radon, ventilation practices that place crawlspaces, basements, or underground ductwork below atmospheric pressure will tend to increase radon concentrations in buildings and should be avoided…"

If you would like to have this Update sent directly to you by e-mail, please send your e-mail address to Joe Levy at jlevy@mail.nysed.gov

Please continue to send in your comments and requests. If you have a subject you would like addressed, feedback on the material you read, input or general comments we are happy to hear from you.