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GSA opposing new skyscraper safety codes

Sept. 8, 2008 at 3:37 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. General Services Administration says it opposes adopting some parts of a costly new set of safety design standards for future skyscrapers.

The GSA's fire safety engineer has asked a national council of engineers to scale back some of their ideas for new skyscraper requirements developed in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, The New York Times reported Monday.

The International Code Council, a non-profit association created in 1994 to try to develop a single national standard for building safety, is set next week to adopt safety codes recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the newspaper said. Among them are proposals to add more robust fireproofing and extra emergency stairwells.

But the Times said David Frable of the GSA wrote the council opposing the provisions, saying that while it's obvious improvements need to be made, "the bigger question that needs to be answered is at what economic cost to society?"

"It is unbelievable to me that our tax dollars are being spent to fight safety improvements," Glenn Corbett of John Jay College in New York City told the newspaper. "They are trying to subvert necessary change."

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