CORAL GABLES, FL-In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Spillis Candela DMJM has started a series of forums with building industry vendors to discuss security design issues.

“We envision our joint initiative with building industry vendors will allow safety solutions to be implemented in the workplace as well as residences,” Hilario Candela, president, Spillis Candela DMJM, says in a prepared statement. “Many of the recommendations that we are reviewing can be made right now at extremely modest costs when factoring in the benefit of preserving lives.”

In the first session, representatives from York International Corp. of York, PA joined Spillis Candela DMJM for a discussion on the technology and know-how to make buildings safer in an environment potentially threatened by chemical and biological hazards. Both companies contend this technology already exists.

“We decided to start with heating and ventilation systems because they’re the lungs of the building, and the easiest target for biological or chemical terrorists,” Richard Gibbs, corporate communications director for Spillis Candela tells Gibbs says dates and topics for future forums have yet to be determined.

Topics reviewed during the first session included self-contained mailrooms with ventilation systems that prevent mailroom airborne agents from being circulated throughout the building, and “vertical submarine” influenced structures that effectively seal off building sections from each other.

Also discussed were recommendations that can be adapted or applied to existing structures, such as installing alarms or motion-detection sensors around outside air intake systems and mechanical room doors.

“In the post-Sept. 11 world, our recommendations can be seen as part of the cost of conducting business,” Candela says. “After Hurricane Andrew, Miami-Dade County implemented several changes to building codes to make structures safer. Self-imposed industry responses today can effectively impact the political will of officials who have the foresight to legislate changes tomorrow.”

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