Office of Facilities Planning
Newsletter #50 – April 2004

Engineer Position Available:

Facilities Planning has received approval for hiring another Engineer. Please visit our website announcement at'sNewItems/engineer_search_031804.html.

Applicants must be currently licensed in New York State. If this is of interest to anyone, please e-mail your resume to Barbara Castracani ASAP at Applicants will be contacted for interviews.

Public School Fire Safety Report:

The Manual for Fire and Building Safety Inspections in Public and Nonpublic Schools and (2004 Revised) Public School Fire Safety Report(s) have been revised and updated to reflect the adoption of the new code. The Manual is only available on the Facilities Planning website at:

The Public School Fire Safety Report is now included in the appendices of the Manual. A short form Fire Safety Report is also included within the Manual. Effective May 1, 2004, we are eliminating the short form. With the long form already shortened, the old short form really is no longer needed and seems to be causing some confusion.

When submitting your Fire Safety Reports please make sure you staple the pages together in the same order they are found in the Manual. Many are coming in paper clipped together, they come apart, and are separated. In a few instances a couple of pages may have been lost or become part of someone else’s report. Stapling the forms will also help us to not modify them and make them more complicated. The building name is only on the first sheet. When they become mixed it is impossible for us to separate and place them back in order for each building. Without your cooperation we would have to add the building name on every page for you to fill in.

Certificates of Substantial Completion & Public School Fire Safety Report:

For projects involving new buildings or additions, a completed Certification of Substantial Completion (CSC) form must be submitted to Facilities Planning before the new building space may be partially or fully occupied and before Building Aid may be paid on that project. This form should be submitted to Facilities Planning as soon as the new building or addition, or part of a new building, is "substantially complete" and occupancy is desired. The CSC form must be submitted with a completed Public School Fire Safety Report having no non-conformities before a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued by the Department.

The old version of the Public School Fire Safety Report will no longer be acceptable for submission to SED with the CSC. Beginning May 1, 2004 the old versions of the Public School Fire Safety Report will be returned to all districts submitting them. The (2004 Revised) Public School Fire Safety Report must be utilized for every fire safety inspection concerning building permits and the CSC.

For more information about the Certification of Substantial Completion and Final Building Project Reports please see the article we included in Newsletter #27 from May 2002. The Certification of Substantial Completion form is available in a printable PDF format on our web site at:

Use of Shipping Containers As Storage Facilities:

We have noticed an increase in the use of shipping containers as storage facilities by school districts. While these containers may appear to be quick inexpensive solutions to a district's storage problems, they must comply with all applicable provisions of the Manual of Planning Standards and the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as a storage building. This requirement applies to all containers. The temporary or permanent use does not change the application of these safety requirements.

Two areas of concern regarding the use of this type facility are the exiting and ventilation requirements. The Building Code of NYS, Section 1003.3.1.8, requires that exit doors "shall be readily openable from the egress side of the door without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort." The large cam locks typically used on these containers do not meet this requirement. Additionally, these containers seal up very airtight. We want every container to have a louver added into one side. The louver size should be enough to aid ventilation according to what you are storing inside. If you have flammable liquids or anything else that may produce a noxious odor inside your container this louver may save a life.

This type of facility generally does not require a building permit but does require a fire safety inspection and a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). To obtain a CO, the district must send a letter to the Office of Facilities Planning, Room 1060, Education Building Annex, Albany, New York, 12234. A project manager will be assigned to assist the district through the process. The photos below show one method of retrofitting the containers to meet NYS Code requirements:

Face-to-Face Review Appointments:

A number of A/E firms have yet to take advantage of Face-to-Face reviews. This process is easier and quicker. 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 will be moving the limiting review number every few weeks. It is presently set at review number 03-1000.

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.

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

An Index of our Newsletters is available on our web site at

If you would like to have this Newsletter sent directly to you by e-mail, please send your e-mail address to Joe Levy at

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.