News Briefs - March 2002

March 01, 2002 |

CNA settles Chicago death suit for $18 million. A lawsuit by the family of a woman killed by glass falling from a Chicago office building in 1999 has been settled for $18 million. The incident occurred when glass fell from a cracked window on the 29th floor of the 45-story CNA Insurance headquarters tower, striking a 37-year-old woman walking on the sidewalk with her young daughter. Investigation disclosed that in the five years preceding the incident, more than 40 of the building’s windows had cracked. Replacement of its 4,900 windows, which is expected to cost about $5 million, is now more than half completed. CNA paid a total of $487,000 to the City of Chicago in fines and for reimbursement for the cost of erecting safety barriers. Northbrook, Ill., engineer Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, which was hired by CNA, determined that the building’s original glazing was subject to thermal stress resulting from a temperature difference between glass areas that receive sunlight and those at the edges that were shaded by the building’s deeply recessed windows. The out-of-court settlement resolves a suit scheduled for trial this fall.

Major New York project under way. Ground has been broken in New York City for the first major commercial real estate project to begin there since September 11. The 300,000-sq.-ft. NYCyberCenter is billed as the first high-availability telecom/data center to incorporate an on-site, privately owned cogeneration facility. Heat from the power operations will produce chilled water to cool the building. The Durst Organization is the developer. Other members of the project team include New York-based architect Fox & Fowle and Albany, N.Y.- based A/E Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, which is designing the mechanical/electrical infrastructure. Tishman Construction Co. is the construction manager. The facility, to be located on West 57th Street on Manhattan’s West Side, is expected to be ready for occupancy in the summer of 2003.

NFPA, ASHRAE to develop energy code. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will jointly develop an energy code that incorporates ASHRAE Standard 90.1 and Standard 90.2. It will become part of the set of comprehensive codes developed by NFPA. “An energy code based on the widely used ASHRAE standards will be an important element of this full set of codes,” says NFPA President George Miller. The new code is expected to be submitted to NFPA’s members for approval in the fall of 2003. NFPA’s forthcoming Building Code, NFPA 5000, will reference the ASHRAE standards, and the energy code will also serve as a stand-alone document. NFPA 5000, to be submitted to NFPA members for approval in May, is expected to become available in August.

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