Facilities Planning

Newsletter 96 – January 2009

To all:  In an effort to concentrate on the backlog, we made a decision to put all other things to the back burner, including this monthly newsletter, and tasks such as the revised Manual of Planning Standards.  We have received numerous requests for regular information and will begin the newsletter again with this edition.

Welcome to new Staff:
Rosanne Groff joined the Facilities Planning architectural staff this past August.  She brings significant experience and expertise to the Department from her more than 30 years in private practice as an architect, project manager, and partner.  Rosanne graduated from Alfred State College and has been a registered architect for over 24 years.  Rosanne planned and designed school projects exclusively during the last 23 years in private practice.

Rosanne is living in Niskayuna with her husband, Hollen.  Their son Matt graduated from Clarkson University last year and currently lives and works in Burlington, Vermont.  Rosanne enjoys downhill skiing, golfing, and gardening in her spare time. 

Rosanne is a welcome addition to our staff and she has brought a fresh perspective to our work from her years in private practice.  Welcome Rosanne.

Backlog Update
The 07-08 school year ending on June 30, 2008 was another heavy year for facilities planning and school districts across the state, with a total of 1,991 projects with a total value of $3.02B.  Thus far in the first 6 months of the 08-09 school year, we have already received 1052 projects, and have approved approximately $800M in projects.

The Architects are making steady progress with a current backlog of only 8 weeks, but unfortunately, the engineers still lag behind and are currently at a 16 week backlog.  We are looking at new ways to address this gap and will report back in future newsletters. 

Although we have requested and budgeted for two additional engineers for the coming year, the current fiscal situation may make this request difficult to fund.  In the meantime, please take advantage of our multiple processes including quick reviews, single trade, emergencies, site packages where appropriate, and expedited modular approvals for those with a space crunch.

Foam roofs and building aid
We see a fairly large number of foam roofs starting to fail in 10 years, and this is inappropriate from our perspective.  It indicates to us that a satisfactory roof system was not installed in the first instance.  State aid is paid over a minimum of 15 years, and it is inappropriate for the state to have to contribute to the replacement of a roof that wears out prior to the cost of the borrowing being paid off. 

While there were some foam roofs with an original warranty period of only 10 years, we expect to see a minimum of 15 year roofs, preferably 20 year roofs or longer, designed for all facilities.  If a foam roof is applied, we will expect it to be a 15 year roof minimum. 

A foam roof that lasted less than 10 years will not be eligible for aid for the recoating.  A roof that is between 10 and 15 years old must be certified that the original warrantee was only for 10 years.  We will consider the work as maintenance until the warranty period is reached.  At the warranty period, we will evaluate requests for aid for extending a foam roof warranty. 

For example, where the roof warranty can be extended, typically by cutting out all wet spots, application of new foam in those locations, and then re-siliconing the entire roof, we may agree that based on the sq ft cost, it might make sense to extend the life of the existing.  However, we will need to look closely at how long the original roof lasted before aid will be paid on the re-roofing project. 

Aid for projects that include work on items where the minimum 15 year amortization period from a previous project is not yet complete is inappropriate. 

NY-ALERT is a web-based alert and notification system that contains critical emergency-related information, including instructions and recommended protective actions developed in real-time by emergency service personnel. Simultaneous with the posting to the website, the identical information is disseminated through various communications systems (email, cell phones, media outlets) to those who sign up. 

The information posted on the NY-ALERT web site includes severe weather warnings, significant highway closures, hazardous materials spills, and other emergency conditions. By signing up for NY-ALERT, you can receive warnings and emergency information via the Internet, cell phone, and email.  Signing up for NY-ALERT is free.  Your information is protected and never shared with any one else.  You can revise the type of information you choose to receive and/or unsubscribe at any time.   Visit www.nyalert.gov External Link Image Iconfor more details.

Fire Alarm Strobes and Common (Use) Areas:
Please note the revision/clarification in the 2007 version of the “Building Code of New York State” for visible alarm notification appliances (fire alarm strobes).  Fire alarm strobe coverage is required in all public spaces, and in all spaces made available for the use of two or more people.

Section 907.9 of the “Building Code of NYS” (and Section 907.10 of the “Fire Code of NYS”) requires visible alarm notification appliances (fire alarm strobes) to be installed when existing fire alarm systems are upgraded or replaced, or a new fire alarm system is installed.  Strobes must be provided in all public areas and common areas (with the exception of exit enclosures).

Section 1102 of the “Building Code of NYS” defines “Common Use (area)” as:
“COMMON USE. Interior or exterior circulation paths, rooms, spaces or elements that are not for public use and are made available for the shared use of two or more people.”

With this definition, in addition to the areas requiring coverage under the 2002 version of the “Code”; fire alarm strobe coverage is required in all classrooms, offices, and other spaces that contain two or more occupants.  

Also, please note the addition of Section 907.9.1.2 of the “Building Code of NYS” (and Section 907.10.1.2 of the “Fire Code of NYS”), regarding employee work areas.  Where a fire alarm system is upgraded, replaced or new; provisions must be made to provide fire alarm strobe coverage in every space (including single occupant offices) that are occupied by someone who has a hearing impairment (unable to hear audible notification device at required, minimum, sound levels).  In addition, there must be sufficient capacity designed into the fire alarm system to expand the strobe coverage to additional employee work areas.   

The additional capacity allows the school district to add strobes in the future to meet their responsibility to provide strobe coverage in every space that is occupied by someone who has a hearing impairment.

An Index of our Newsletters is available on our website at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/facplan/NewsLetters.htm.

If you would like to have this Newsletter sent directly to you by e-mail, please send your e-mail address to Curt Miller at hmiller2@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.

Last Updated: May 23, 2014