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Newsletter 99

July 29, 2009

From the "Clerks of the Works"

Change Orders

It has come to our attention that the costs attributing to the Change in Contract Price some sometimes incorrect, for example: the wording will state Net Decrease to Change order, but the numbering is a positive amount. This will cause our office to call and verify.

From the Project Managers

Change of scope in project submissions

Frequently final project submissions will come in with a revised set of CSI codes than were originally identified on the letter of intent. In those situations where this is the case, please make sure the correct CSI codes are listed on the checklist, from FP-CL. We encourage you to use existing project numbers, even if the scope has changed. It serves to keep our database tighter and will typically make the district's life a bit easier owing to the confusion that occurs frequently when there are many open project numbers. 
We occasionally hear comments that lead us to believe that folks believe an open project number is specifically tied to a bond authorization. From our perspective, this isn't the case. A project number is a project number and can be used for any scope of work with appropriate modifications, as cited above, and for any referendum. The final submission documents identify a bond referendum to us, whereas an open project number does not. We enter that relevant information only upon receipt of the final submission. (also see below).

Open Projects

We see many hundreds - if not thousands - of project files sitting in our files cabinet. A large number of these files were opened years ago for projects that never came to completion. Before we bust at the seams, we would appreciate it if districts would go through their records to see which of their projects can be canceled. A simple note or e-mail from the superintendent of schools, with a listing of project numbers, is all that's needed. Your efforts would be much appreciated. (also see above)

NEW - Question and Answer section

To add a little breadth to our newsletter, we invite you to send us your questions, anything from finance and submission documents to code questions. Please send these questions to

From the Architects

Coated Foam (SPF) Roofs and SED Roof Funding

The funding of all roofing systems remains the same, SED has a 15-year funding cycle policy for all school roofs. The installation and the renewal, of SPF roof systems is certainly acceptable to SED. SPF roofs do offer the ability to be restored or renewed, with a recoat project. We have seen evidence that SPF roofs are performing and lasting beyond their stated, warranted life. For SED funding, the original warranty period shall have passed before a warranted renewal system will be funded on that same roof area. SED requires a minimum 10-year warranty on an SPF recoat project. 

SPF roofs had often been specified with a 10-year warranty. Some of these roofs which received little or no maintenance, occasionally need to be renewed/recoated after the warranty period has expired. Instead of recoating, maintenance can often be performed to extend the life of the roof until funding is available. The renewal process shall include removal and replacement of any damaged or wet foam, cracks, and other deficiencies.

We would like to make note that all roofing warranties require routine maintenance and inspection and school district facility managers need to be aware of their responsibilities.

Press Boxes

Public school districts often construct a Press Box to provide shelter and a vantage point for scorekeepers, videography, and broadcast equipment. These facilities, like all other district facilities, may only be used if they have a current Certificate of Occupancy. The facility must be listed on the New York State Education Department Fire/Safety building inventory and pass annual Fire/Safety Inspections. If your building is not listed on the Annual Fire Inspection biography, please submit our "Approval of Use" form to apply for the Commissioner's Approval of an existing building. If you are constructing a new one, follow our normal procedures by submitting a letter of intent so that we may issue a project number. Approval is based on the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Code) and Education Department requirements.

Press Boxes are considered a U, utility/miscellaneous occupancy. Buildings that also include other occupancies such as storage or concession stands must comply with the Code and Department requirements for each occupancy. Fire-rated separations between occupancies must meet Code requirements and proper exiting based on Code and Regulations must be provided.

The "Construction Classification" depends on what materials are used in the construction of the building. The materials and fire protection of building components, as well as the height and fire area of the building, are governed by the Code. In addition, Press Boxes must meet the following requirements:

  1. Buildings having three usable floor levels, i.e., three enclosed floors with no access to, or use of the roof; or two enclosed floors and use of the roof level, must be at a minimum Construction Type I, II-A, III-A, or IV. These are noncombustible, fire-rated, and heavy timber construction types. Three usable floors mean that there is a storage room or concession stand on the grade level and the first level of the press box is at the top level, accessible from, the bleachers and only one usable level above the bleacher level.
  2. Buildings limited to two usable floor levels, i.e., two enclosed floors with no access to or use of the roof; or one enclosed floor and use of the roof level, must be at a minimum Construction Type II-B, III-B or V-A. These construction types are Non-combustible, Ordinary, and Protected Wood Frame. All have Code requirements for fire ratings.
  3. Buildings limited to one usable floor level, with no access to or use of the roof level may be constructed of Type V-B Construction. This construction type is Wood Frame and requires less fire-resistance rating than the types noted above.
  4. The maximum occupancy on each floor level shall be determined based on 15 square feet per person. Appropriate signs limiting occupancy must be posted.
  5. Safe remote means of egress shall be provided from each floor level. The primary exit shall be a conventional stair, a 60-degree ship ladder, or a four-foot minimum diameter spiral stair. Vertical ladders are not acceptable as the primary exit. The second means of egress may be through a window or panel with a minimum clear opening area of six square feet and a minimum dimension of 24 inches which opens onto the bleachers. Vertical ladders or access directly to bleachers or grandstands may be used as the second means of egress. Noncombustible bleachers or grandstands may be used for primary exiting. Exit stairs need not be enclosed, however, consideration should be given to local concerns for the prevention of vandalism
  6. Guards per code are required at the perimeter of usable roofs, on three sides of all floor and roof openings, and at open sides of stairs. Handrails are required on one side of the stairs and both sides of the ship's ladders.
  7. Hardware on exit doors shall be at least classroom function. Note: no deadbolts or padlock hasps are allowed on any public school-owned or occupied building or space.
  8. Building systems, electrical, plumbing, heating, and ventilation systems shall meet all applicable Code provisions.
  9. Accessibility by disabled persons is not required for Press Boxes with an aggregate area of 500 square feet or less. However, an outlet or wireless controls for the operation of the scoreboard and public address systems are required at an accessible location.

From the Engineers

Pool Drains

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act was signed into Law on December 19, 2007. Among other items, the act contained retroactive requirements for existing, public pool and spa drains. Pools owned by public schools must comply with the law.

As of December 19, 2008, all operating public pools and spas must have drain covers that meet the ANSI/ASME A112.19.8-2007 (with addendum 8a-2008) standard on every drain/grate. There are no exceptions to this requirement. A list of drain cover manufacturers can be found on the Pool Safety Website.

In addition, if the pool has a single main drain (other than an unblockable drain), the operator must either disable the drain or install a second anti-entrapment device or system. This can take the form of an automatic shut-off system, gravity drainage system, Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS), or suction-limiting vent system. A pool may have more than one single main drain. Pools with dual or multiple main drains, located more than 3 feet apart which feed a single drain system (one pump), may be exempt from this second requirement. Pools and spas with single main drains that are unblockable are exempt from this second requirement.

A list of SVRS manufacturers can be found on the Pool Safety Website.

On June 18, 2008, CPSC staff issued technical and legal interpretations of Section 1404 of the Act, which applies to public pools and spas. To download this document, please log on to the Pool Safety Website

Additional information on the Pool Safety Act, including the development of the definition of the term unblockable drain, may be found at the following Consumer Product Safety Commission websites