Wednesday, October 12, 2016

P.O.S. Sliding Gate Operator Installer Violates all the rules installing a security gate and puts public in danger

Yes hard to believe it but when a customer of mine bought a run down Mini storage facility in the South Hills of Pittsburgh  he was left with an extremely dangerous and major case of Negligence when it came to the entry gate to the place.

Although the previous owner was nice and installed a new gate operator on the place it was totally and completely installed improperly and in a very dangerous manner .

All automatic moving gates require a minimum amount of safety controls to prevent a person or vehicle getting smashed.  this gate had no such control installed the POS individual who installed the gate made no effort to insure public safety to make matters worse he moved the exit lop further back almost 6 ft from the gate after the loop that was in ground broke this means some one leaving  thru the gate  and not being able to get out on the main street could have their vehicle crushed by the gate and if its a person they will be killed  with the power this 1 HP controller has .

At  bare Minimum a break the beam photo beam has to be installed across gate and for extra protection a millers edge which sense pressure on end of gate and reverses it .

This gate had neither safety control.

I Have Notified Nortek who makes this controller to the danger a company called   Control Products of Pa.  has cuased and which seems to be a made up company I can find no such listing ,and how they put the public  in danger  so they will suspend all further sales to them.

When you go into a Mini storage facility you do so expecting a safe situation this is not the case . I have ordered and shortly will be installing the required safety controls on this unit .

Sunday, October 9, 2016

When you have a town with lenient code enforcement it leads to problems like this which could lead to catastrophic results

Yes there is a town I have worked in the past 40 years and I have never ever meet one code official or fire dept member  .It is a well to do community in the North Hills of Pittsburgh near the border with Butler County.
In my 40 years of doing work there I have yet to see one building  in the town which properly meets building and fire  codes or ADA  .Requirements  and it will ultimately lead to the detriment of this community.

I recently was called on a last minute emergency or contractor friend when building he was working in Fire Alarm was not properly working . Seems one of the clients an Online School did a check of its office fire alarm and found pull stations which did not work and fire dept never responded .

I went out to the building and found several issues.

First the building was not being monitored by a24/7 central station.  Instead owner was self monitring with a voice dialer to his cell phone.
Fire panel with illegal voice dialer on top

While the code at time the building was built was fire and panic and not BOCA like other community's around  at time building was built it does not appear it needed monitored under fire and panic act . But if it did need monitored the building inspectors never checked to see that it did.

However the occupancy changed over the years and under modern code absolutely it has to be monitored again where are the code officials following up on this

Then I found non addressable pull stations on  a system which requires addressable pull stations
this was a very dangerous situation because the electrician or contractor who installed that non addressable device caused the whole fire system to be inoperable if you activated the non addressable
pull station and shorted the signaling loop.

The individual never bothered to look just hooked in the pull station and walked away and never tested it again some one required it to be there on plans  but no one from the township chose to come back and make sure it worked.

I had to add horns on to a system twice in a building in this town both times I installed them  and both times no one ever showed up they never even required a fire alarm completion certification the work was done and done so properly  so knowing this contractors regularly take advantage of the situation do what they feel like and could care less if its not done properly

Ultimately this neglect by inspectors of the town to do due diligence will cost the owners of these buildings in the end.

If ADA walks in finds the buildings not conforming to ADA  there are fines and then expensive repairs building owners will have  to do.

If there is a fire and systems are not in place or fail this can lead to major civil court actions for the building owners and denial of coverage.

 It can effect the community's ISO rating and cost more to have fire insurance in the community because property's do not conform to proper codes.

Ultimately some one is going to die in one of these buildings when a sprinkler or fire system malfunctions or otherwise fail to operate due to missing  monitoring etc .

But this is apparently what the community wants relaxed codes and higher insurance premiums This community is nothing more than a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

Improperly Wired Sprinkler Systems The Ticking Time Bomb in too many buildings due to those who should not be working on fire systems

I see it all to often both Wet and dry sprinklers wired improperly and failing to send a signal to a fire alarm system when they trip which can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage  if it happens over night in unocupied structures

I recently ran across two  such set up in a church in Penn hills  and a church in Ben Avon Pa. which had additions  built in the 90's before both towns had active Fire Marshals inspecting .

The wet and dry system switches along with the tamper switches all wired on 1 zone when it should have been 3 separate zones.  . The fire panel allowed for it but laziness on the part of the contractor  allowed it to happen.

Now back in early 70's before modern fire panels came on the market this was acceptable but as panels and codes evolved in 80's it was then required that tamper valves no longer be wired in same circuit as flow and pressure valves  and then  dry and wet systems had to be separately Annunciated .

So obviously these churches should have had 3 separate zones which was not done. In fact there are still so called fire alarm installers still installing wiring  the wrong way.

They get away with it because Pa. has no training or license standards and too many  inspectors who would not know to even check for it . How many of these bad systems are out there  in my estimates up to 60% have problems based on what I find in the field.

Whats being done about it nothing unless a tech like my self catches it and re wires it  or inspector catches it and has it corrected. 

This means a valve could be turned and no one knows and or when tamper valve is turned  or low pressure switch  activates it blocks signal from a flow switch.

This is why NFPA changed the code no misinterpreting signals and no wondering what has activated

You know its the dry system  pressure  switch the wet system flow switch the low pressure trouble switch or the valve tamper switch. .

In the case of these churches they have been rewired properly but thats 2 out of how many are bad and how many each day are being installed improperly all over this state and if the wiring is being installed improperly you know the piping is as well and I see plenty of horror story's there as well.. with building codes so dependent on sprinklers coming on and activating to protect lives you think people would be more cautious how they do thing but they do not care and are putting yours and my life on the line should a catastrophic condition  occurs . 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

When a fire Official Rags and Tags Fire Extinguishers we have a real problem on our hands and possible ethical Questions

I was working in a Customers Plant when I noticed a Guy coming around and inspecting the Fire Extinguishers .

normally I see the technician  hold the extinguisher and tap it to loosen the powder and keepit fluffed and then you see them take off the hose and either blow thru it with air duster or look thru or run a thin piece of wire thru to make sure there not obstructed but thats not what I saw in this plant.

He simply tilted it looked in end of hose dusted off and tagged it inspected what we call in the Industry a RAG and TAGGER.

When I question his technique he says what he is ding is perfectly fine and  then I find out he is the Fire Marshal for several community's. He even rides around in what looks like an official Fire dept looking vehicle which says Fire Prevention on it.

The whole situation is Bad you have some one who is suppose to be protecting people and he is not doing his job. I have consulted with several industry experts including  Master degree Safety Personnel and they all agree in an environment like a fabricating shop with temperature extremes and dust everywhere  . He should have done a more complete job at what he was doing  . He should have done a better job to make sure powder was loose and hose was not obstructed. He said he was worried rust on units when he hit them to loosen powder would effect them then he should have replaced them if they are showing rust. Its right in OSHA Regulations they are to be replaced if rusted and in a fabricating shop not only NFPA applies but OSHA rules over everything.

Of course the next question should a person like a Fire Marshal even be doing this kind of work and that even includes installing fire alarms, selling smoke  detectors, first aid kits etc.
OK well he is not doing so in community's he protects but it still leaves the door open to ethics and power  the fire Marshal has

 If your not going to do a job properly you should not be doing it period.

If I am questioning what he is doing I am sure others are as well.