This Week's Codes And Standards, May 8

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OSHA responds to building collapse disaster, Indiana cuts back on solar incentive, and Los Angeles updates small-lot ordinance

May 09, 2017

Photo: Whalen Jack/Creative Commons

OSHA increases penalties on South Dakota contractor after fatal building collapse

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued multiple citations for safety violations to a South Dakota contractor after a building collapse that killed a worker. The incident occurred in December 2016 when Hultgren Construction directed crews to remove two load-bearing walls. That action led to the collapse of the Copper Lounge building.

Hultgren did not instruct workers on how to set up appropriate temporary supports, OSHA alleges. The agency also says that Hultgren did not conduct an engineering survey prior to demolition.

Last month OSHA issued multiple violations and about $214,000 in fines to Hultgren and labor staffing company Command Center for failing to properly train workers in safety procedures and not providing adequate personal protective equipment. In early May, the agency added two more “willful” citations, and added $101,400 more in fines to the penalty.

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National Fenestration Rating Council’s new U-factor standard open for public comment

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) ANS Standards Committee has a new U-factor standard open for public comment. NFRC approved a plan to submit a previously unimplemented, member-approved ballot change to NFRC 100; Procedure for Determining Fenestration Product U-factors. The public review and comment period is scheduled to run from April 28 to May 28, 2017.

A change to Section 5.9.3.1.3.D open to public comment appeared in Standards Action on April 28, 2017. With the document section being available in fewer than five pages, the comment period will be 30 days, closing on May 28, 2017.

The document up for review (with changes from previous version shown in underline/strikethrough format), additional details, and applications for joining the Committee are available on the ANS Standards Committee group page, which is open to the public.

Questions may also be directed to Robin Merrifield at 240-821-9513.

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Indiana cuts back on solar incentive

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law that will sharply cut the rate at which utilities pay solar panel owners for surplus electricity. The roughly 1,000 people in Indiana who currently have an alternative power source, like solar panels or a wind turbine, would be grandfathered in for 30 years. So too, would anyone who makes a purchase before the end of 2017. Those who buy solar panels next year or in subsequent years would receive much smaller payments.

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Jersey Shore officials, residents grapple with cost and benefits of protecting coastline

Some local officials on the New Jersey Shore want to build expensive walls to hold back rising seas and fiercer storms, but environmentalists say that will just delay inevitable flooding. Better, they say, is to encourage people to move inland and let the most vulnerable areas be engulfed. A proposed berm project in Stafford Township, for example, would cost as much as $100 million to protect about 5,000 homes. Even if it is built, the homes would likely be underwater in a few decades, though.

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Los Angeles’s small lot design standards getting an update

Los Angeles’s small-lot ordinance that allows developers to build single-family neighborhoods on small, dense land sites is getting an update this summer. The city has not required a design review process on these projects, but does have design guidelines. New standards will be presented in a separate document so that the city can change them separate from the ordinance. The goal is to put design standards in front of the development community to follow as best practices.

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