Architecture task force hopes to improve building safety

A new architecture task force hopes to improve building safety codes.

A new architecture task force hopes to improve building safety codes. (3/31/15)

HACKETTSTOWN - A group of New Jersey architects have created a task force they say could help save buildings and lives in the event of a fire. The task force is exploring possible improvements to design practices and buildings codes.

The massive fire at the Edgewater Avalon Bay apartment complex in January has led to many questions about the construction of that building and others like it, made from “lightweight construction” materials.

However, Justin Mihalik of the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects, says wood currently being used in construction is safe, if it is in accordance to building codes. He explains it's often the glues in the lightweight wood that allows them to burn faster than standard wood.

He says new types of paints could be applied to building materials that would protect it from fire for longer periods of time. 

Mihalik says the task force is also looking into upgraded sprinkler systems for multi-family construction.

They hope to create a report of recommendations in a few months and present it to legislators and the building code industry.

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