Letters to the editor

It is quite unsettling to read the theme implicit in "Where There's Fire, There's Smoke," (January, 2001). That "Health-care facilities aren't typically evacuated in the event of a fire ..." might be true (evidence would be welcomed), [but] mechanical smoke control is not the prime means of reducing the level of risk of death or injury as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

03/01/2001


Evacuate First, Control Smoke Second

It is quite unsettling to read the theme implicit in "Where There's Fire, There's Smoke," (January, 2001). That "Health-care facilities aren't typically evacuated in the event of a fire ..." might be true (evidence would be welcomed), [but] mechanical smoke control is not the prime means of reducing the level of risk of death or injury as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

When it is suspected that there may be a fire, the first action should be the transmission of the alarm of fire to the fire department without any delay. This is especially vital in venues where evacuation management is more-than-typically complex, such as in a health-care facility.

The second action should be the initiation of the evacuation procedures-which, of course, should be preplanned and practiced as a part of the site's disaster plan.

Third, the site's contingency manager (CM)-or a member of the contingency-management team (CMT)-should then attempt to determine the nature and location of the fire. [If there is no fire], then the evacuation can be halted. If there is no CM or CMT, the fire department alone should determine if the evacuation need not proceed.

Properly designated, maintained and tested mechanical smoke control is, of course, vital and critical ... but should not be taken as the only element in attempting to achieve an ALARP level.

ALAN M. LEVITT

Levitt, Conford & Associates

Fresh Meadows, N.Y.

Revisiting Value Engineering

The editorial, "Value(-free) Engineering" (Editor's Viewpoint, December, 2000), prompts this reply. At the very beginning let me say that I believe the value-engineering (VE) profession owes you an apology. We are negligent in not telling more people about our profession effectively enough.

A quick review of the touchiest aspects:

  • "The VE term and concept are roots of most evil in building design," [This is] not true.

 

  • "VE is a misnomer." We don't use "engineer" because we respect the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) position that to use "engineer" you should be a P.E.

 

  • "Rarely undertaken by a licensed engineer." A Society of American Value Engineers-certified VE study often uses a P.E., but it is not a requirement.

 

  • "May be no engineering going on at all." Please study a VE job plan and see if you will still say that.

 

  • "VE almost always means systems and components being substituted." [This is] very possible if original design is of poor value.

A firm understanding of VE principals [and] its code of ethics will answer your [other] erroneous points. Your colleague, now retired, Jim Morgan, editor of Cahners' Purchasing , knows VE well. His magazine ran a series of 100 columns by the VE inventor, Lawrence D. Miles.

HAL TUFTY, CVS, FSAVE

Editor and Publisher

Value Engineering & Management Digest

Washington, D.C.

Battling Time and Budget Constraints

I just read "The Evolving Engineer" (January, 2001) and I have to say that it hits the nail on the head. I am a young engineer and engineering hasn't exactly been what I thought it would be. Time and budget constraints are so demanding that you have to sacrifice performance and cut back on the scope of many projects. This type of atmosphere is not very conducive to learning and it is impossible to be on the cutting edge of technology. In the long run, I think that this will hurt the owners.

SHANE H. NAULT, EIT

HC Yu and Associates

Richmond, Va.

BAS Bias

I was amazed that you would allow such a biased opinion to be published in your magazine. Your article "Keeping Up With the Protocols" (February, 2001) was written by an individual that is making a living selling Lon systems. Surely your editorial staff could have checked the credentials of the individual more thoroughly or at least realized the information provided was slanted entirely toward one side.

TERRY SETTERLUND

Entec Services, Inc.

Peoria, Ill.





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