You are the risk manager for AVPRO. Your organization specializes in staffing engineering and technical professionals in the aviation and aerospace industry. You are currently headquartered in Washington, D.C., but will be relocating to Houston, Texas. AVPRO’s president, George Jetson, is originally from the Houston area and has several plots of commercial land north of the city. The move will not happen for approximately 2 years, allowing for the organization to build a new facility in Houston, TX. As the risk manager, you have been asked to consult with the president prior to his meeting with the architecture group that will be designing the building. The new facility will house business operations for AVPRO and will include approximately 180 professional, office and clerical workers from AVPRO. Mr. Jetson wants to construct a 3-story joisted masonry building on the plot of land north of Houston to house the company’s personnel, to allow for some expansion, and to provide an opportunity to lease 1 floor of space to a company owned and operated by Mr. Jetson’s daughter, Judy. Judy’s company specializes in providing work opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities, hearing impairments and vision impairments. The plan is to lease the space on the first floor to Judy’s company. Judy’s work operations do not pose significant hazards, and are considered industrial, low hazard operations, since most of the work involves basic assembly of components and does not require the use of hazardous materials or any tools aside from basic hand tools.
Mr. Jetson is traveling to Houston to meet with the architecture group. Prior to meeting, Mr. Jetson wants you to answer the following questions:
Given our business operations at AVPRO and the operations of Judy’s company, are we permitted or allowed to build a 3-story, 17,000 ft², Type 3 Building with sprinkler protection? Can I propose this building to the architecture group? Does this meet the NFPA requirements for allowable building height and area? Be sure to explain your answer, and provide justification as to whether or not it is permitted in comparison to the applicable criteria for allowable height and area.
As many of Judy’s workers have vision impairments, hearing impairments, or have developmental disabilities, please provide a summary of the accommodations we should make to the building construction and life safety to ensure we are able to safely evacuate all workers in the event of a fire or emergency situation. Be sure to cite the regulatory source as well.
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