Vertical Access News
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Kelly Streeter Presents at Philadelphia Facade Symposium presented by Delaware Valley PA Chapter of ICRI
February 11, 2011
Vertical Access partner, Kelly Streeter, along with collaborators Michael Luciani of Hill International and Carl Dress of Historic Design Collaboration are participating on a panel
to inform attendees of legal requirements of the mandatory facade inspection ordinance of the City of Philadelphia.
For more details and registration information, click here.
Vertical Access approved as an AIA CES provider
July 12, 2010
Vertical Access has been approved as an AIA Continuing Education System provider. VA partners Kent Diebolt,
Kelly Streeter and Evan Kopelson are available to present courses such as "Using Technology to Document Historic
Buildings," "Using Industrial Rope Access for Facade Ordinance Inspections." and other topics designed to
meet the needs and interests of course participants. AIA member participants will receive one CE learning unit
for each course.
See our list of courses
Infrared Thermography for Buildings
March 12, 2010
In February, Vertical Access technicians Keith Luscinski and Evan Kopelson completed a 34-hour "Infrared
Thermography Level 1 for Building Applications" course provided by Snell Infrared. The course covered
the operation of thermal imagers, theory of heat transfer and application of thermal imaging to the
investigation of building, electrical and mechanical systems.
Vertical Access owns a FLIR b40 thermal imager, which it has used in building investigations to assist
in the location of embedded structural steel, analysis of moisture infiltration and documentation of
other facade conditions. Infrared thermography is one of several NDT capabilities that VA incorporates
into its investigations where appropriate.
City of New York Special Rigger License
March 4, 2010
Vertical Access Partner Evan Kopelson received a special rigger's license from the City of New York
Department of Buildings in February, 2010. In New York City, a valid rigger's license (special
rigger or master rigger) and CD-5 permit is required to perform industrial rope access inspection work.
The licensed rigger is responsible for the preparation of the CD-5 permit application, which includes
documentation of required insurance, rigging plans and information on public and site safety at street level.
Kent Diebolt has held a special rigger's license since 2000, and will continue to maintain his license
for Vertical Access LLC, along with Evan.
Vertical Access Becomes a Voting Member of ANSI
December 2, 2009
On November 12th, Vertical Access was officially accepted as a voting member of
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
Accredited Z359 Standards Committee (ASC) for Fall Arrest/Protection. The committee meets twice a
year at the American Society of Safety Engineers
headquarters near Chicago to further a group of standards on fall arrest and protection.
VA is active on the following subcommittees:
- Z359.2: Managed Approach to Fall Protection
- Z359.5: Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS)
- Z359.8: Industrial Rope Access and Descending Devices
- Z359.9: Descending Devices
Vertical Access has been participating in ANSI Z359 committee meetings since 2007. We are looking
forward to participating in the important work of creating and refining this incredibly important
group of standards.
5th Annual New York City Bridge Conference
The 5th Annual New York City Bridge Conference was held on August 17th and
18th. The Bridge Engineering Association (BEA) was the primary sponsor and
organizer of the meeting. The packed two-day program included conference
tracks on Cable-Supported & Long Span Bridges, Bridge Analysis & Design,
Bridge Security & Management and Bridge Inspection, Evaluation & Management.
The conference attracted attendees from 15 different countries and from
disciplines ranging from academia, product manufacturing, engineering and
project management. Several presentations concentrated on analysis of
recent bridge failures including extensive coverage of the I-35W Bridge in
Minnesota on August 1, 2007. That bridge failure has been attributed to the
undersizing and failure of two gusset plate connections combined with
non-standard construction loading present at the time of the collapse.
Guidance was offered and discussed on the newly-recommended inspections of
all truss bridges with gusseted connections. This focus represents an
entirely new area of research and study as gusset plates were not previously
considered inspection-critical components.
Other seminar tracks concentrated on security monitoring of bridges
including a comprehensive talk on the fixed monitoring of scour-critical
bridges. Bridge scour defines the process by which river sediment is washed
away from the area around and beneath bridge piers and is the cause of
approximately 60% of bridge failures in the United States. Monitoring is
installed to give bridge operators a warning when scour conditions are
present and is recognized by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as an
appropriate security measure for scour-critical bridges.
The Bridge Inspection, Evaluation and Management track concentrated on the
different database programs that regional departments use to complete their
asset management inspections. The slow pace at which the bridge industry is
turning paper records into electronic records was a common theme of several
presentations. Once they do commit to going digital, there is no standard
database system used. This individual regional approach to bridge
inspection inhibits the ability for bridge engineers to learn from the large
amounts of bridge inspection data that are taken each year.
More information on the Bridge Engineering Association can be found on their
More information about Vertical Access's bridge information can be found on the
bridge and truss
page of our site.
Please contact Kelly
for more information.
Vertical Access Expands Our NDT Capabilities
Vertical Access has recently expanded our NDT capabilities with the addition of infrared thermography.
We have purchased a FLIR b40 thermal imager which will enhance our building inspections and condition survey deliverables. Last
summer Dave Dayan passed the 40 hour Level I Thermography course with FLIR. This course gave him the
general understanding of thermal imagers to know how to properly utilize them and analyze the results.
This thermal imager will be a very useful tool for analyzing moisture infiltration, finding
structural steel, and documenting other facade conditions.
Shown to the right is a thermal image and a visible light image taken with the b40 and showing the
same section of a mosonry wall. Notice the darker area above the opening in the infrared image indicating a
cooler surface temperature, most likely due to moisture in the building. This condition is not noticeable
in the visible light image or using visual observation.
Industrial Rope Access Training and SPRAT Certification
Dave Dayan, Evan Kopelson Kelly Streeter and Kent Diebolt practicing rescue
�pick-offs� on rope during the training session.
Between May 31 and June 3, Vertical Access conducted an in-house training program in Ithaca, NY for
all Vertical Access staff. The training included review of general site safety procedures, practice of rope skills
applied to various rigging situations, rescue procedures to �pick-off� a casualty on rope and setting
up mechanical advantage systems for raising and lowering casualties or objects. Vertical Access used the Ithaca Fire
Department�s High Angle Rope Rescue and Aerial Operations facility, a wooden structure that allows
simulation of many rigging and rescue scenarios that Vertical Access might encounter in our work on buildings. The
training was organized and led by Mike Gilbert, Vertical Access'
Kent Diebolt and Donn Hewes practicing a rescue �pick-off� with Vicente Galvañ observing.
chief rigger and a SPRAT level 3 supervisor.
Following the training, an independent Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT)
evaluator was on site to evaluate three Vertical Access workers for re-certification. Part of the certification
process included a written and oral exam to test knowledge of safe practices for industrial rope access
and an understanding of the equipment and principles involved with rope access work. The main part of
the evaluation was a demonstration of the safe application of rope access skills practiced during the
training. Kent Diebolt re-certified as a level 2 lead technician, responsible for physically conducting
rope access operations and safety evaluations of rope access operations. Evan Kopelson also certified
as a level 2 lead technician. Kelly Streeter became a level 3 supervisor, responsible for the overall
rope access operations on site. SPRAT certifications are renewed every three years.
AIC Annual Meeting: Conservation 2.0 New Directions
The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works
(AIC) held its
annual meeting in Los Angeles, CA from May 19 to 22. AIC is the professional organization
representing conservators, educators, scientists and others dedicated to the preservation
of cultural heritage ranging from paper and electronic media to paintings and
Architecture Specialty Group
(ASG), one of 10 specialty groups that
comprise AIC, held its session of presentations and business meeting on May 22.
The number of people in attendance for the presentations was an indication of the interest
in the conservation topics and case studies discussed. For the most part, there was
standing room only during most of the day for the session organized by Program Chair
Charles Phillips. Several presentations focused on innovative and multidisciplinary
approaches to conservation, including the conservation and interpretation of Menokin, an
18th century building being interpreted using 21st century technology; the use of microbes
in the treatment of bronze sculpture; and the application of polyacrylic acid to conserve
the exterior paint coatings on the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.
Other papers presented in the ASG session described a study undertaken for the
conservation of an Islamic-style Spanish ceiling in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a
laboratory testing program to evaluate Arte Mundit cleaning paste on various natural
stones, the conservation treatment of the Carrara marble capitals at the Philadelphia
Merchant�s Exchange, treatment of a room in a Hollywood house painted in 1934 by Millard
Sheets and the concrete repairs performed in the recent conservation effort at Frank Lloyd
Wright�s Guggenheim Museum in New York.
At the ASG business meeting, ASG Chair Kevin Daly and Secretary/Treasurer Linnaea Dawson
reported on the activities of the group. The ASG is in sound financial position; most of
the discussion about the group�s finances were related to agreeing on appropriate ways to
spend down reserves. As usual, there are only a handful of people involved in the active
committees of the group and more participation among ASG members and others would be
welcome. Information on the ASG and its committees can be found on the ASG website:
APT Workshop: Nondestructive Evaluation Methods for Historic Structures
Rick Miles of Sparks Engineering demonstrating the use of a concrete rebar scanner
to locate reinforcing in a concrete floor slab, with Tom Vitanza of the NPS
Historic Preservation Training Center observing.
On May 6 and 7, APT held a workshop on Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Methods for Historic Structures. The
workshop was sponsored in part by the National Park Service National Center for
Preservation Technology and Training
, National Park Service Historic Preservation
and the Association for Preservation Technology Washington, DC
. Presentations by leading practitioners in the preservation field covered
planning an investigation, concrete evaluation, wood investigations, surface
penetrating radar, infrared thermography and in-situ masonry evaluation and
testing. The classroom work was supplemented by hands-on demonstrations of the
diagnostic methods at the Historic Preservation Training Center in Frederick, MD.
One of the key points raised in the presentations is that judgment and experience
play an important role in the application of NDE techniques and in the
interpretation of the data generated by the equipment. Another common theme in the
presentations and discussions of the NDE methods is that there is usually not any
one technique that by itself will be sufficient to perform an investigation of a
historic structure. Often a combination of NDE methods are required, beginning
with visual observation.
Ron Anthony explaining resistance drilling as part of the investigation of
During the second half of each day of the workshop, instructors demonstrated the
use of NDE techniques at the shop building of the Historic Preservation Training
Center (HPTC) in Frederick, MD. The HPTC shops are housed in an early 20th century
industrial brick structure with timber framing, which was an ideal laboratory for
demonstrating techniques such as resistance drilling in wood, surface penetrating
radar on the concrete floor slab, flat jack testing in the brick walls and
infrared thermography. Other techniques such as rebar location and half-cell
potential in concrete were demonstrated using mock-ups prepared for the workshop.
Workshop participants had the opportunity to use the equipment as part of the
demonstrations, which was particularly useful to gain a better understanding of
the capabilities and limitations of each technique and the field application of
the NDE methods used for historic structures.
Biocolonization of Stone Workshop
On April 20 and 21, Kent Diebolt, Vicente Galvañ and Evan Kopelson of Vertical Access attended the
: Control and Preventive Measures Workshop organized by the
Museum Conservation Institute
of the Smithsonian Institution. Eight research papers and four case
studies were presented by microbiologists, chemists and conservation scientist from Europe and the United
States. Several research papers focused on the structure of microorganisms and methods used to identify
them. The case studies included presentations on in situ testing and analysis of zinc and bronze strips
for the control of biological growth, research on proprietary biocides to control algal growth on marble
grave markers, and the analysis of red staining in marble. Future directions for research of control and
preventive measures were discussed, including chemical treatments, microbe viruses, organic extracts and
One of the key points of several of the papers presented is that the mere presence of microbiological
growth may not be detrimental to the stone on which the microbes are found. It is important to understand
not just type of microbes present, but also whether they are metabolically active and whether their activity
leads to stone deterioration. Another key point common to many of the papers was that microbes are
everywhere and can never be completely eliminated. Thus, it becomes a question of controlling the effects
of the microorganisms, such as through changes to the local environment. However, one must be careful that
altering the environment does not have the opposite effect of what is intended and results in greater
deterioration from biocolonization.
ANSI Z359 Committee Meetings
From April 14th through 16th, Kelly Streeter was in Chicago to participate in the
meetings of the ANSI Z359 Committee on Fall Arrest/Protection Systems. ANSI, the
American National Standards Institute
, coordinates voluntary standardization systems
for many private sector industries. The Z359 Committee on Fall Arrest/Protection
Systems is co-administered by the American Society of Safety Engineers, ASSE
, and is
comprised of several subcommittees.
During the ANSI meetings, Kelly worked in the Z359.8 subcommittee on Safety
Requirements for Rope Access which is refining the portion of the standard which
will specifically address how the equipment and the methods of fall protection used
in Industrial Rope Access differ from traditional fall protection systems.
Kelly also participated in the Z359.17 subcommittee on Safety Requirements for
Horizontal Lifelines for Personal Fall Arrest Systems. Horizontal lifeline design is
a relevant topic for Vertical Access because of the Fall Protection consulting
projects that have kept Vertical Access busy over the last two years.
Kent Diebolt of Vertical Access has participated in two previous ANSI Z359 committee meetings,
which are held approximately every six months. Vertical Access plans to continue to
be involved in this effort to help define safe practices for fall protection and rope
access work in the United States.
Vertical Access Technicians Take NDT Course for Composite Materials
Vertical Access in class with John Register of R-CON NDT Inc.
From April 6-8th, John Register from R-CON NDT Inc. came to Vertical Access' Ithaca office to train
our technicians and staff in non-destructive techniques for evaluating composite materials. A composite material is
comprised of two or more materials that may be bonded together using an
adhesive, or multiple sheets of a woven material held together with a resin. Composite
materials can be much stronger and lighter than traditional building materials, making them ideal
for wind turbines.
Mike Gilbert getting hands-on experience with the bond tester.
During the three day course, we learned about the most widely used methods for non-destructively testing
composite materials such as: Visual, Borescopes, Tap Testing, Ultrasonics, Radiography, Eddy Current,
Laser Shearography, Infrared Thermography, and Bond Testing. There was a focus on ultrasonics
and bond testing with in-depth theory and hands-on testing with actual composite samples. The course was
concluded with a final test that everyone passed.