You build it. We help PROTECT it!
Recognizing the importance of disaster mitigation for the architect and engineering communities, Build & Protect , is a newsletter written specifically for A&E’s to provide unique content related to lightning protection system (LPS) design, specification, quality assurance, inspection and maintenance.
Find out how the inclusion of safety Standard-compliant lightning protection systems in your state-of-the-art designs can benefit the building environment.
Highlights from the LPI/ULPA Lightning Protection Conference
Over 100 industry experts from across the U.S. and Canada converged at the Woodlands Resort & Conference Center in Texas last month for educational enrichment, professional development, speaker programs and lightning protection brainstorming sessions.
In the spirit of learning from the past, and protecting for the future, LPI and ULPA members also participated in three separate panel-moderated forums to discuss:
* Job Site Safety for LPS Installations
* LPS for Miscellaneous (nonstandard) Structures
* LPS Installation Guidelines and Best Practices for Difficult Structures
Representatives from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes-FLASH and the Insurance Information Institute provided partnership updates and outlined strategies for continued networking in 2017. Mike Rimoldi, Senior Vice President of Education and Technical Programs with FLASH reviewed the building code process and delivered an update of the “HurricaneStrong Home” in Breezy Point, New York–a resilient rebuild project that LPI is helping to sponsor.
Jeanne Salvatore, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Chief Communications Officer for the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), provided a partnership overview along with a lightning data and damage statistics report. Information about lightning protection and insurance is available at iii.org and the LPI website.
“Being here with LPI is crucial to what FLASH does to advance lightning protection and safety,” said Rimoldi. “We are very pleased that LPI is committed to the #HurricaneStrong Home– their participation strengthens the connection between industry, LPI members, and promotion of lightning protection in commercial and residential construction.”
Inspection is Key Component to Safe & Effective LPS
It’s important to remember that safe and effective lightning protection begins with proper system design, continues with the implementation of quality materials and installation practices, and ends with inspection and certification.
The Lightning Protection Institute Inspection Program (LPI-IP) provides a lightning protection inspection and certification service more thorough and more complete than any previous inspection program from LPI or any other service currently on the market. By incorporating checkpoints, reviews and inspections, the LPI-IP certification program ensures safety and peace of mind to building owners about the U.S.
The LPI-IP program responds to the designer’s ultimate ‘Build & Protect’ lightning protection goal to provide safety, security of investment and elimination of potential system downtime. The program was created to provide the most comprehensive inspection service for LPS in terms of safety, quality control and professionalism. Checkout LPI’s recent blog to find out why LPI-IP is the industry’s fastest growing lightning protection inspection service, with a 300% growth rate since 2011.
Make sure your LPS project isn’t missing the important inspection component. Visit www.lpi-ip.com for more information about the LPI-IP Program.
“Closing the Loop” to Prevent Under-reporting of CSST and Lightning Fire Incidents
In recent years, LPI has petitioned the fire safety community to include relevant data about lightning and corrugated stainless steel (CSST) gas tubing in its NFIRS reports to prevent under-reporting of these associated fire incidents and increase public awareness about potential safety risks. Unlike traditional heavier walled gas pipe, the corrugated design and the thin walls of CSST have proved problematic and susceptible to lightning’s high intensity electric charge. Lightning energies can perforate holes in the CSST and allow gas leakage and fire. In worst case scenarios, such leaks have led to devastating home fires.
A report released by the National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation (NASFM Foundation), in 2014 concurred that “updating incident data reports when fire departments obtain new information could have the largest impact of any activity on reducing the high percentage of serious fires reported as having undetermined causal data.” The NASFM Foundation refers to this as “closing the loop” on a fire incident report.
In an effort to better protect homeowners from the possible loss of life and property, the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office is conducting a TEXFIRS/NFIRS Special Study to identify fire incidents where flexible gas piping (CSST) was present in a structure. The three-year study will detail fire department responding incidents from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019.
“Understanding a problem at the state or national level requires documentation to see what’s happening from jurisdiction to jurisdiction,” said Fire Marshal Garett Nelson of the Lubbock Fire Rescue in Texas. “With regard to Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST), documentation has been virtually non-existent, and we need the documentation to better understand this complex fire problem.”
“In our quest to gather facts about the safety issues connected with CSST, it has become apparent that a central database to collectively house and catalog this important information is an immediate necessity,” stressed Becky Teel, spokesperson for the Brennen Teel Foundation . Teel’s son, Brennen died in 2012 in a Lubbock home fire and explosion allegedly caused by the failure of yellow jacketed CSST. According to the fire marshal’s report, lightning struck the metal chimney cap and arced to the gas piping of the home where Brennen was visiting. Brennen, who was just 31 years old, died instantly when gas which had escaped tiny holes in the CSST piping (believed to be punctured by lightning), ignited an explosive fire.
LPI recently began a partnership with the NASFM to support its campaign to help improve safety measures connected with CSST and the product’s susceptibility to lightning-related fires. LPI, NASFM and the Brennen Teel Foundation believe that safety can be increased through the adoption of an improved performance criteria for flexible gas piping (ICC-ES PMG LC1027), which is presently available for installation in new homes.
There’s a saying that goes, “An architect’s dream is an engineer’s nightmare.” A&E’s seeking to keep pace with lightning protection trends to help fortify their building dreams and nightmares, won’t want to miss an issue of Build & Protect !