"My husband and 3,000 other innocent
victimspeople that want to work in what they thought
was a safe environmentwere slaughtered by the buildings,
not the planes
. The need for reform of not only the
codes, but also the code development groups that create the
codes, is paramount to the safety and security of all people
that live and work n high-rise buildings
. No more weighing
in favor of those that benefit from the codes, such as the
construction industry, developers and the financiers! No more
building of indefensible buildings. No more building motivated
by greed. This is the legacy we will leave for our loved ones
who were so horribly bruitally and needlessly crushed by 110
stories of ego."
and visions of towering infernos from the Skyscraper Safety
Campaign, born of grief on Sept. 11, 2001, needlessly alarm
an already jittery public. Hurled relentlessly, the charges
unjustly scapegoat those responsible for public safety in
buildings for the sins of the terrorists.
Leading the litany of indictments
is the statement that the World Trade Centers twin 110-story
towers, not the hijackers, "slaughtered" the victims
of 9/11. The New York City-based organization, formed by Monica
Gabrielle and her co-chair Sally Regenhard, who both lost
relatives in the attacks, concludes that because the towers
collapsed, there is a "need for reform" of not only
commercial building codes but code development groups. This
"is paramount to the security of all people that live
in high-rise buildings," says SSC.
In bold rebuttal, Richard C. Schulte,
a fire protection engineer and code consultant based in Evanston,
Ill., says: "The WTC attacks were kamikaze
attacks. Building codes dont address kamikaze
attacks, nor should they."
SSC, which blasts the buildings
establishment through the media, in public meetings, in Congress
and on www.SkyscraperSafety.org, has the sympathetic ears
of politicians and others. The group "has a very big
voice," says Robert E. Solomon, an assistant vice president
of the model codewriter, the National Fire Protection Association,
Quincy, Mass. SSCs example is changing the involvement
of the public in issues of building safety, he says.
by Michael Goodman for ENR)
Most people walk on egg shells
around the relatives of 9/11s victims. Not Schulte.
He says SSC has been misguided by at least two of its advisors,
fire protection engineer and University of Maryland professor
James Quintiere and retired fire chief Vincent Dunn, whose
theories on high-rise fire protection and building code development
are "far out in left field."
Schulte is just getting warmed
up. "The New York Times has done a disservice to the
City of New York, and to the country"by giving SSC "a
forum to spout some of their notions about the collapse of
the WTC towers," he says.
Though likely the most vocal, Schulte
is not alone is his criticism. Code reform will do nothing
to ensure the safety and security of people in high-rise buildings
under attack, say sources. Defensible buildings are an impossible
dream. Buildings cannot be foot soldiers in the war against
Though the terrorists successfully
turned the twin towers into weapons of mass destruction, the
buildings "did an amazing job of standing up under an
unimagined attack," says W. Gene Corley, team leader
for the American Society of Civil Engineers WTCBuilding
Performance Study, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management
Agency. "I do not advocate designing for attack from
missiles or airplanes," says Corley, a senior vice president
of Construction Technology Laboratories Group, Skokie, Ill.
It is not just SSC that drives
gadfly Schulte to speak, or shout, out in defense. Schulte
is perhaps most galled by "snake-oil salesmen" and
"carpetbaggers" using 9/11 as a smoke screen for
their own benefit. "Fear equals money," says Schulte.
"If we can scare you, we can make money on it."
Schulte also is infuriated by public
officials and building professionals who have been twisting
the truth, preying on post-911 anxiety, misleading the uninformed,
making false promises and offering false hope. Like "Peter,"
many have been crying wolf by trumping up building fire hazards,
An example of a disconnect is contained
in a "white paper" by Corley commissioned by the
Alliance for Fire Safety, Falls Church, Va., a group that
represents the interests of suppliers of passive fire protection.
"With the WTC disaster fresh in our...