Office of Facilities Planning
Newsletter #49 – March 2004


Executive Summary of Five-Year Capital Facilities Plan:

In September of 2003 Facilities Planning published the format for the five-year Capital Facilities Plan. These regulatory requirements are based on Commissioner’s Regulations 155.1. This document notified all districts that "An executive summary of the Plan shall be included with each capital construction project submitted to the Office of Facilities Planning for approval".

Beginning July 1, 2004, every capital construction project submitted for approval will be required to provide a copy of the executive summary of their five-year Capital Facilities Plan.

Renovation Review Process:

As stated in Newsletter #45 of November 2003, we are attempting to review Renovation projects in approximately 3 weeks from receipt. We have found this is presently difficult to do. The documentation for 70% of these projects arrives here at Facilities Planning incomplete. We cannot approve those projects. In many instances it takes 5 to 8 weeks for the complete information to arrive.

Both the school district administration and the A/E firms must look closely at the projects they are preparing to send. Make sure they are complete. Use the Checklist FP-CL (for final project submission, version dated Newred1.gif (731 bytes)6/5/03). DO NOT just fill in the form. Be sure everything is included in your submission as you fill the form in. If everything is not included we cannot approve your project.

Inclined Wheelchair Lifts and Evacuation Devices:

We have recently reexamined the issue of using inclined wheelchair lifts in schools and decided that there may be some instances where they are acceptable. This office has traditionally turned down approval for inclined wheelchair lifts with the exception of some installations in wide (12 feet or more) corridors. We always felt that they introduce a restriction in the exit width of the stair. It is understood that if the minimum stair width of 44 inches can be maintained while the lift is in the operating position it is no more of a restriction than people passing through a door. As a result we believe that there are many instances where inclined wheelchair lifts can provide much needed accessibility and we will now consider installations that meet the following minimum standards:

Installations will have to be reviewed by the Office of Facilities Planning for approval.

Another device that we have resisted is the evacuation chair. Advances in the design of these items have also raised our awareness of the positive benefits of these devices. These devices must have automatic brakes, and be able to be wheeled away from the bottom of the stair. They should also not be located in close proximity to the stair. The transfer from the wheel chair to the evacuation device should take place a safe distance away to allow other occupants to use the stair during the transfer.

Face-to-Face Review Appointments:

Please check the Face-to-Face review announcement on our website at Scroll down and make your appointment if your project is qualified. Continue to check the announcement. We are presently limiting review to those projects with review number 03-0750 or less. We have not moved the limit to allow our engineering reviews time to catch up.

It is imperative that the A/E firms assure that the documents submitted for face-to-face reviews are 100% bid ready. This process was intended to make the process quicker. Incomplete documents cause a double review and waste everyone’s time. We are discussing punitive action on the occasions when incomplete documents are provided for Face-to-Face reviews.

Please remember to e-mail a copy of your Code Compliance Checklist to Barbara at the time you are submitting your request.

Clarification for Boiler Room Vestibules:

Due to the number of questions posed to us by professional A/Es and the resulting discussions here at SED, we compared the requirements of the new building code with the Manual of Planning Standards (MPS) and hopefully resolved this question. The MPS, section 104-8a, states fire-rated vestibules are required between boiler rooms and exit ways per code. The new building code no longer requires the vestibule as the old code had. Therefore, for new construction the vestibule will no longer be required. Alterations removing vestibules from existing buildings will only be considered if the altered boiler rooms are fully compliant with the latest code requirements. This statement will be removed when the MPS is updated. The remaining interior corridor door and other interior boiler room doors will swing into the boiler room. The Department of Labor allows this door swing direction for schools. Please see Newsletter #17 and the third page of our DOL Variance,

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