Richmond Apartment Building Evacuated Due to Safety Concerns

Moriel E. Kaplan, PE, Hunter Young, PE, David Wilmot, PE

The recent evacuation of a 10-story apartment building reminds us of the importance of critical life safety features

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The recent evacuation of a 10-story apartment building ordered by Richmond, VA building officials is a stark reminder of the importance of critical life safety features in the structures we occupy. Building owners and property managers have an obligation to their tenants to be aware of the condition of all critical building systems at all times.

The inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) provisions of governing codes and standards, such as NFPA 72 for fire alarm and NFPA 25 for water-based fire protection, as well as other regularly timed inspections for structural integrity are a primary means to stay informed of system changes and develop plans for action. Identifying challenges early and taking action when issues are relatively small will help to avoid costly fixes, including repairs, business interruption, reputation erosion, and, as in this case, the relocation of occupants.

Our code and specialty engineering experts are uniquely qualified to support you in all aspects of risk reduction. Jensen Hughes alleviates the burden of navigating complex code requirements, will organize and officiate your ITM program and work with you to create a risk register that can be used to prioritize costly technical challenges of fire safety and structural integrity throughout a building’s life.

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