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Construction Project Design Considerations

Advanced planning and quality site preparations are important for a safe, environmentally conscious, well-organized construction site.

The information below is derived from past review and commentary on campus projects. We believe this information will be helpful to those conducting initial design and site preparation for demolition/renovation/construction projects at UWM.

This information is intended only to reflect best practice and the Department of Univeresity Safety and Assurances' preference, this is not intended to override or conflict with DFD design standards. If there is any question about compatibility with DOA-DFD standards, please bring them to the attention of the UWM Campus Facilities Planning project representative.

Design Issues:

HVAC, Laboratory and Industrial Ventilation Design:

  • The Department of University Safety & Assurances has focused on specific process ventilation and chemical fume hoods. While we want to have a good ventilation system, the hoods have been the focus of our department, and Physical Plant Services is usually more concerned about the rest of the system (ducts, fans, motors and stack).

  • Laboratories should have 10-12 air changes per hour (minimum).

  • Darkroom ventilation shall have 12 air changes per hour (minimum). Please see the Darkroom Ventilation information page for additional information.

  • Ventilation calculations related to hoods should be shown on or accompany the plans.

  • Avoid daisy chaining the hoods together below the penthouse.

  • Ventilation shall be designed and meet appropriate acoustical criteria.

  • A re-entrainment calculation of all exhausts should be shown for the worst case scenario of calm winds, temperature inversion.

  • As-built design plans shall be provided to UWM Physical Plant Services.

  • Training on ventilaton system design, maintenance and testing shall be provided to UWM Physical Plant Services and University Safety & Assurances personnel.

  • Process and laboratory ventilation must meet design, specifications and standards noted in:
  • ACGIH, Industrial Ventilation-A Manual of Recommended Practice

      • ANSI/AIHA, Z-9.1 thru 7 Standards on Industrial Ventilation
      • ANSI F3.1, Welding Fume Control with Mechanical Ventilation
      • ANSI/ASHRAE 62, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
      • ANSI/ASHRAE 55, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy
      • ASHRAE 110, Method of Testing Performance of Laboratory Fume Hoods
      • ASHRAE Handbook: Fundamentals
      • DFD fume hood specification
      • NFPA 45, Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals
      • NFPA 91, Exhaust Systems for Air Conveying of Vapors, Gases, Mists, and Noncombustible Particulate Solids
      • OSHA 29 CFR 1910, Section 94, Ventilation
      • OSHA 29 CFR 1910, Subpart Z, Toxic and Hazardous Substances
      • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1450, Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories
    • All new and modified ventilation must be approved by The Wisconsin Department of Commerce.
    • The Department of Commerce now requires a complete list of all types and quantities of chemicals that will be used in individual laboratories for all laboratory projects.
  • Electrical:
    • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) should be placed in all laboratories, lavatories, darkrooms, exterior or wet areas, or as specifed by the NEC or OSHA.

  • Fire / Life Safety:
    • Emergency evacuation routes shall be determined and posted in UWM approved signage prior to occupancy by UWM.

    • Adequate area must be considered in site plans for easy building access by Milwaukee Fire Department emergency response equipment.
    • An adequate number and sized flammable and corrosive storage cabinets should be provided, including enough for Physical Plant Services needs.
    • Training on fire protection system design, maintenance and testing shall be provided to UWM Physical Plant Services, University Safety & Assurances and Police personnel.
    • ADA-compliant Areas of Rescue Assistance must be included on each floor of major remodelling and new construction projects.
    • ADA-compliant fire door closure devices should be specified for rated doors intersecting traffic corridors.
    • Life Safety must meet design, specifications and standards noted in NFPA 101 or other applicable regulations.
  • Occupational Safety:
    • The Department of University Safety & Assurances would like to review all safety equipment specified (eyewash stations, emergency showers, fire extinguishers, etc.).

    • Fall protection systems must be engineered for all fall exposures.

Environmental Considerations:

  • Asbestos:
    • UWM prefers areas be rendered asbestos-free during renovation or construction projects (i.e., we recommend complete abatement of ACM during renovation/construction projects...don't leave any asbestos behind for the campus to deal with). Any ACM remaining must be labeled and identified in the as-built plans.

    • All new building materials shall be certified asbestos-free.
    • See the UWM Asbestos Management Program for more information.
    • Please contact Tim Stratton or Dan Day, DFD Hazardous Materials Abatement Managers, for DFD asbestos management practices.

  • Lead:
    • All paints and coatings shall be certified lead-free.

    • Other lead-containing material shall not be specified without significant scrutiny of potential environmental contamination and liability.
    • See the UWM Lead Management Program for more information.
    • Please contact Tim Stratton or Dan Day, DFD Hazardous Materials Abatement Managers, for DFD lead management practices.

  • Lamps: All Lamps (i.e., light bulbs), from removal or replacement of light fixtures, especially fluorescent lamps, must be collected and shipped for recycling using the mandatory statewide contract for lamp recycling (Currently: State Procurement Operational Bulletin 15-99170-601).

  • Mercury: All mercury-containing apparatus must be identified, abated and recycled before demolition and renovation. Common mercury containing articles include: fluorescent lamps; bulb thermometers; and, mercury switches, often found on HVAC controls, pressure sensing devices or floats. Disposal and handling of mercury from laboratory drain traps and waste lines using the mandatory statewide contract for hazardous waste management (currently: State Procurement Operational Bulletin 15-99145-501).
  • PCB / PCB Ballasts: PCB ballast disposal from removal or replacement of fluorescent light fixtures. While UWM has undergone a major campus relamping project where 90% of all fluorescent fixtures were replaced with units PCB-free, at least some old PCB containing ballasts remain in each building. All ballasts not labelled "No PCBs" must be collected and shipped for proper disposal using the mandatory statewide contract for ballast disposal, (currently: State Procurement Operational Bulletin 15-99170-602)
  • Refrigerants and Ozone-Depleting Chemicals: Disposal of equipment which contains refrigerants or ozone depleting chemicals (e.g., freon, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, etc.) must be handled using the mandatory statewide contract for hazardous waste management (currently: State Procurement Operational Bulletin 15-99145-501). Normally, UWM will identify and inventory freon containing equipment (equipment location, item description, freon type, freon amount, etc.).
  • Other::
    • Disposal of old equipment which contains hazardous components (such as freon, hazardous refrigerants, mercury, oils) must be handled using the mandatory statewide contract for hazardous waste management (currently: State Procurement Operational Bulletin 15-99145-501).

      A common example of this type of equipment is exit signs, which contain batteries, lamps and circuit boards.

    • All other hazardous chemical disposal issues should be identified during the design phase and disposed or recycled properly. Some types of hazardous wastes must be shipped using the mandatory statewide contract for hazardous waste management (currently: State Procurement Operational Bulletin 15-99145-501) [examples: ethylene glycol, paint and related materials, batteries, lead, etc.]
    • Chemical inventory relocation [examples: reagents, specimen collection, gas cylinders, etc. ].

Safety Considerations:

  • Access: How many points of access to the site are needed and available? Can access to the site be controlled or does access need to be controlled? What access actions or controls will be needed?
  • Campus Community and Neighbors: How will the construction operations affect the UWM campus community and the adjacent neighbors? Other safety, health and nuisance impacts [examples: dust, exhaust gases, noise, vibration, etc.] which may effect UWM employees, students and campus activities must be anticipated, identified and minimized to acceptable levels.
    • The City of Milwaukee ordinance on nuisances, Section 80-60, establishes limits on the amount of noise, which may be transmitted from one property to another. The limits vary depending on the nature of the receiving property and the time of day at which the noise occurs. The strictest limit is Noise Rating Number 45 which applies at night between the hours of 9PM and 7AM.

  • Identification of Utilities: Be sure to locate all utilities (e.g., electrical, gas, steam, etc.) prior to coring, demolition, or excavation activities. Please see the Excavation Safety Page for additional background information.
  • Control of Hazardous Energy (LOTO): All contractors must submit a copy of their written Lockout/Tagout plan or agree to follow the UWM Lockout/Tagout Plan.
  • Parking: Parking issues at UWM shall be addressed to the Department of Parking and Transit, in the Student Union.
  • Site Security: Will it be necessary to provide a security fence around the site? What other security precautions must be taken?
  • Storage of Equipment: Where will equipment, accessories, and parts be stored? Where and how will equipment be fueled and serviced? The following factors should be taken into account when material storage areas are identified: type and quantity of materials, type and quantity of generated waste, and requirements to meet fire and safety needs and regulations and restrictions by UWM.
  • Signage: Is the site properly identified? Is the project manager's and DFD/PPS supervisor's name and phone number prominently displayed?
  • Safety and Health Program Inspections: Is there an established and written safety and health program ready for site use? Have arrangements been made for available competent personnel to conduct frequent and regular site safety inspections of areas and operations? (OSHA/DCOM 29 CFR 1926.20(b)(1,2))
  • Training: Have construction employees received proper safety/health training? Are they aware of DFD/UWM policies and procedures?

Additional Resources:












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Last updated:
October 22, 2007