Send in the engineering troops: Codes and standards

Military facilities present an army of challenges—exacting codes and regulations, stepped-up security issues, and budgetary concerns. Codes compliance is a key area of focus.

07/24/2013


Kevin D. Bomboy, PE, LEED AP, Chief mechanical engineer, STV Group, Douglassville, Pa. Courtesy: STV GroupDavid Callan, PE, CEM, LEED AP, HBDP, Vice president, McGuire Engineers Inc., Chicago. Courtesy: McGuire EngineersRobert L. Crance, Mechanical engineer, Black and Veatch, Overland Park, Kansas. Courtesy: Black and VeatchJoseph H. Talbert, PE, ARM, Project manager, Aon Fire Protection Engineering, Lincolnshire, Ill. Courtesy: Aon Fire Protection EngineeringWilliam Valdez, Northwest justice and civic sector leader/principal, DLR Group, Seattle. Courtesy: DLR Group

Participants:

  • Kevin D. Bomboy, PE, LEED AP, Chief mechanical engineer, STV Group, Douglassville, Pa.
  • David Callan, PE, CEM, LEED AP, HBDP, Vice president, McGuire Engineers Inc., Chicago
  • Robert L. Crance, Mechanical engineer, Black & Veatch, Overland Park, Kansas
  • Joseph H. Talbert, PE, ARM, Project manager, Aon Fire Protection Engineering, Lincolnshire, Ill.
  • William Valdez, Northwest justice and civic sector leader/principal, DLR Group, Seattle

CSE: How have changing HVAC, fire protection, life safety, and/or electrical codes and standards affected your work on such structures?

Talbert: Fire protection codes and standards have become more stringent over the past 50 years. This has required the practicing engineer to maintain his/her proficiency in all areas of fire protection, including fire detection and alarm, fire suppression systems, building construction, and exiting facilities.

Crance: Codes and industry standards are updated and revised more frequently, especially those under continuous maintenance. The proponents of the military facility standards are not able to maintain the documents under their direction at this same pace. The result is that code-compliant materials, products, and processes that gain acceptance in the contractor community can be disallowed for use on military facility projects. This has the potential to create an artificial restriction on innovative solutions that can have a positive impact on first cost and lifecycle cost for the project.

Bomboy: Energy codes and compliance with federal regulations for energy savings have affected the MEP system design basis and equipment selection.            

CSE: Which codes and standards prove to be most challenging in military facility work?

Bomboy: All Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC), I3A requirements, and the applicable security standards have to be carefully considered in the design of military facilities. I do not believe a specific group of codes and standards create challenges in providing design services for military facility work. I believe the significant challenge lies in developing the experience and depth of understanding of the UFC and the Unified Facilities Guide Specifications necessary to provide guidance to the design team and to the client's project team to facilitate timely and productive discussion, interpretation, and resolution of criteria conflict or relevance that will at some point have an impact on the ability to support mission or on the first or lifecycle cost of the facility. 

Talbert: The most challenging codes are probably NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code and NFPA 101: Life Safety Code. Both of these codes have increased in size and complexity by orders of magnitude in the past 50 years. 

CSE: How does the Dept. of Defense’s (DOD) United Facilities Criteria (UFC) Program impact your work?

Callan: UFC and resources like the Whole Building Design Guide make the work of evaluating construction criteria much simpler. Just having everything in one place is a time saver. The DOD UFC Program often provides the initial compliance path for our projects. For many projects and facility types, the UFC provides specific criteria guidance which supplements requirements established by the usual codes and addresses the special needs of a facility required to support the intended mission. The UFC can require additional analysis or identify system requirements not normally encountered on many commercial projects. Not having a good working knowledge of these requirements can result in understating the level of effort necessary to provide compliant designs, or significant rework and schedule impact for your project.

Talbert: The use of the UFC helps to promote standardization of fire protection for DOD facilities worldwide. It gives a common basis for protection standards.

Bomboy: Engineering staff has to become knowledgeable on the numerous UFCs and accompanying standards, and other directives that are outside the normally used commercial standards. Also, these documents are not static, so staying current as new editions are released is essential. 

CSE: Have you had any experience dealing with such requirements from the General Services Administration (GSA)? If so, can you offer any advice?

Callan: I authored and edited the mechanical and electrical chapters of the 2005 edition of the PBS-P100 for the GSA. That experience taught me a great deal about the challenges facing federal agencies. They have the responsibility of getting it right the first time, and needing it to last 50 years. Add to that the various mandates, and needs to spur innovation, and these projects can be exciting and challenging.

CSE: How do standards issued by NFPA, ASHRAE, and other bodies come into play on such structures?

Talbert: The standards published by NFPA are widely used and have become the best guide for “good practice” in the U.S. and in many parts of the world for fire protection. Industry standards often establish a standard of care expected to be met by the design team. Oftentimes these standards are updated more frequently than the UFC, which leads to conflicts in requirements. A significant role we play on projects is to help our clients learn about the differences and the impact the new standards may have on their projects. Being able to provide an opinion based on a complete understanding of the issues as they relate to meeting project requirements and the ultimate mission of the facility is how we provide increased value through the design review process.

Bomboy: These commercial project standards are often applicable to military facility design by reference within the UFCs and cover topics not addressed in the UFCs. 

Callan: Both ASHRAE and NFPA maintain excellent relationships with federal agencies. Their representatives often serve on standards committees and participate in industry events. I believe it has been a valuable partnership. Any exchange of knowledge pertaining to best practices is useful.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.