mike@standardsmichigan.com | Standards Michigan

Author Archives: mike@standardsmichigan.com


College & University Chapels

“The Parthenon” | Frederic Edwin Church (1871)


“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” 
― Aristotle


The founding of many educational institutions throughout the world was inspired by faith communities.   In many of them the place of worship was the very first building.   College and university chapels are central places of worship for students, staff and faculty, and provide a space for solitude and reflection.

There are several hundred technical standards, or parts of standards,  that govern how churches and chapels are made safe and sustainable.  Owing to innovations in construction, operation and management methods, those standards move, ever so slightly, on a near-daily basis and they are highly networked.  That movement tracked here as best we can within the limit of our resources.  (We manage a comprehensive catalog of school, college and university design guidelines and construction contracts for this facility class and all others.)

They are beautiful places.

The image criteria of our WordPress theme does not permit many images of college and university chapels to be shown fully-dimensioned on sliders or widget galleries.  We reproduce a few of the outsized images here and leave the complexities of financing, designing, building and maintaining of them in a safe and sustainable manner for another day.  There is a link at the bottom of this page — if you can find the bottom of it – that may prove enlightening to our colleagues interested in technical and management specifics.

Click on any image for author attribution, photo credit or other information.

University of the Incarnate Word / San Antonio, Texas

U.S. Coast Guard Memorial Chapel | New London, Connecticut

Georgetown University Chapel | Washington, D.C.

Kings College Chapel | Auckland, New Zealand

Brigham Young University / Idaho


Newman University Church | Dublin, Ireland

Southern Methodist University | Dallas, Texas

Southern Methodist University | Dallas, Texas

St. John’s College Oxford


United States Naval Academy Chapel

Wellington College Chapel


Fitzwilliam College Chapel Cambridge


Sorbonne Université

West Point | US Army Cadet Chapel

Hebrew Union College

Tuskegee University Chapel


The Spring Hill College Chapel | Mobile, Alabama


Boston University

University of Tennessee at Chattangooga

Wake Forest University

Auburn University Chapel


Davis & Elkins College


University of Tulsa

Randolph College Chapel


Sewanee | The University of the South


King’s College Chapel | University of Cambridge

Hope College | Holland, Michigan

Duke University | Durham, North Carolina

Christ’s Chapel | Hillsdale College, Michigan

Basilica of the Sacred Heart | University of Notre Dame | South Bend, Indiana

Three Faith Chapels | Brandeis University

University of Wroclaw | Jesuit College | Wrocław, Poland

Alma College Chapel | Alma, Michigan

Stanford Memorial Church | Palo Alto, California

Universidad Adventista Templo | Buenos Aires, Argentina

St. Thomas of Villanova University Chapel | Villanova, Pennsylvania

St. Paul’s Chapel | Columbia University | New York City

Scotch College Chapel | Melbourne, Australia

Princeton University Chapel

United States Air Force Cadet Chapel | Colorado Springs

Chapelle Sainte-Ursule de la Sorbonne | Paris

Memorial Chapel | Glasgow University | Glasgow, Scotland

Alice Millar Chapel | Northwestern University

Bowdoin College Chapel | Brunswick, Maine

Loyola University Chapel | Madonna della Strada Chicago

Heinz Memorial Chapel | University of Pittsburgh


Madonna University Chapel | Livonia, Michigan

Vassar College Chapel | Poughkeepsie, New York

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Student Chapel | Cambridge, Massachusetts


St. Ignatius Church | University of San Francisco

Church of the Resurrection | Valparaiso University | Valparaiso, Indiana

Baughman Center | University of Florida

Exeter College Chapel | Oxford University


More coming.

LEARN MORE: (CLICK HERE to access bibliography)




Cultural Resource Properties

“A Visit to the Munich Pinakothek” – Charles Friedrich Alfred Vetter

A significant part of the education industry builds and maintains cultural resource properties that are covered by local adaptations of regulatory products developed by the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that need to be considered as moving in tandem even though their revision cycles are not synchronized.  Sometimes this out-of-step condition permits subject matter experts on technical committees to make the best possible decisions regarding the safety and sustainability agenda of the interest group they represent; but not always.

In the ICC suite we find code requirements for places of worship tracking in the following sections of the International Building Code (IBC):

Section 303 Assembly Group A

Section 305 Educational Group E

Section 308 Institutional Group I

Note that Sections 305 and 308 recognize the accessory and multi-functional nature of occupancy types in the education industry – i.e child care and adult care function can marge and be an accessory to a place of worship.  The general rule in the IBC is that accessory religious educational rooms and religious auditoriums with occupant loads of less than 100 per room or space are not considered separate occupancies.    Other standards developers are guided by this rule.


Dominican Old Library Chapel


We have an opportunity to revisit safety and sustainability concepts in the next revision of NFPA 909 Code for the Protection of Cultural Resource Properties – Museums, Libraries, and Places of WorshipFrom the document prospectus:

This code describes principles and practices of protection for cultural resource properties (including, but not limited to, museums, libraries, and places of worship), their contents, and collections, against conditions or physical situations with the potential to cause damage or loss.

• This code covers ongoing operations and rehabilitation and acknowledges the need to preserve culturally significant and character-defining building features and sensitive, often irreplaceable, collections and to provide continuity of operations.

• Principles and practices for life safety in cultural resource properties are outside the scope of this code. Where this code includes provisions for maintaining means of egress and controlling occupant load, it is to facilitate the evacuation of items of cultural significance, allow access for damage limitation teams in an emergency, and prevent damage to collections through overcrowding or as an unintended consequence of an emergency evacuation.

• Library and museum collections that are privately owned and not open to the public shall not be required to meet the requirements of this code.

A milestone was reached by the technical committee in October 2018 with the completion of the First Draft which was balloted and will be posted in September as the Second Draft Report.  Comments on the Second Report are due November 14th.

Department leadership and facility managers for enterprises of this type are encouraged to contribute obtain their own (free) NFPA public participation account in order to directly participate in the 2021 revision of NFPA 909 by logging in here: https://www.nfpa.org/login.   Alternatively, you may join the larger group of education facility managers for which we provide the platform.  We meet every day at 11 AM EST.  Use the login credentials at the upper right of our home page.

This document, like the entire span of the NFPA regulatory products, is a standing item on our monthly Fire Protection teleconference.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.

The Masters University

Issue: [15-258]

Category: Fire Safety, Public Safety

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Josh Elvove, Joe DeRosier

University of Wisconsin

Public Procurement & Private Certification

“View of Boston Harbor from Dorchester Height” | Thomas Doughty (1843) | Yale University Art Gallery

In formulating a response to the expansion of the scope of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2016 — Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings well beyond the building envelope onto entire building sites — such as entire campuses — we revisit recent, relevant research into the effect of market-making by accredited standards developers.  Our interest lies in the degree to which their action contributes to the safety and sustainability agenda of the $300 billion education facility industry in the United States.

One of the most enlightening discussions of sustainability-related certification programs is provided by Tim Simcoe at the Questrom School of Business.    From the research abstract:

“Governments increasingly use their purchasing power to promote environmental policy objectives. We study the relationship between public municipal green-building procurement policies and diffusion of the US Green Building Council’s LEED certification program. We find a strong link between public green building procurement plans and voluntary private adoption of the LEED standard. We also observe an increase in LEED professional accreditation in communities that adopt a green procurement policy. We suggest that public policy may spur private certification by resolving the coordination problem that arises among developers and local building professionals in the diffusion of a new certification program”





Canadian Parliament Debate on Incorporation by Reference

“The Jack Pine” | Tom Thomson (1916) | National Gallery of Canada

Originally posted January 2014


In these clips — selected from Canadian Parliamentary debate in 2013 — we observe three points of view about Incorporation by reference (IBR); a legislative drafting technique that is the act of including a second document within a main document by referencing the second document.

This technique makes an entire second (or referenced) document a part of the main document.  The consensus documents in which we advocate #TotalCostofOwnership concepts are incorporated by reference into legislation dealing with safety and sustainability at all levels of government.  This practice — which many consider a public-private partnership — is a more effective way of driving best practices for technology, and the management of technology, into regulated industries.

Parent legislation — such as the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy Act – almost always require intermediary bureaucracies to administer the specifics required to accomplish the broad goals of the legislation.  With the gathering pace of governments everywhere expanding their influence over larger parts of the technologies at the foundation of national economies; business and technology standards are needed to secure that influence.  These standards require competency in the application of political, technical and financial concepts; competencies that can only be afforded by incumbent interests who build the cost of their advocacy into the price of the product or service they sell to our industry.  Arguably, the expansion of government is a reflection of the success of incumbents in business and technical standards; particularly in the compliance and conformity industries.

About two years ago, the US debate on incorporation by reference has been taken to a new level with the recent statement released by the American Bar Association (ABA):


The American National Standards Institute responded to the ABA with a statement of its own.

16-164-ANSI-Response-to-ABA-IBR-06-16 (1)

The incorporation by reference policy dilemma has profound implications for how we safely and economically design, operate and maintain our “cities-within-cities” in a sustainable manner but, admittedly, the results are only visible in hindsight over a time horizon that often exceed the tenure of a typical college or university president.

A recent development — supporting the claims of ANSI and its accredited standards developers — is noteworthy:

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) manages a website — Standards.GOV — that is a single access point for consensus standards incorporated by reference into the Code of Federal Regulations: Standards Incorporated by Reference Database.   Note that this database does not include specific reference to safety and sustainability codes which are developed by standards setting organizations (such as NFPA, ICC, IEEE, ASHRAE and others) and usually incorporated by reference into individual state public safety and technology legislation.


2019 Student Paper Winner | Cybersecurity & Ukraine Power Grid Attack

Missouri State University

Cybersecurity Standards and the 2015 Ukraine Power Grid Attack: Mitigating Catastrophic Cyber Disruptions on Electrical Infrastructure

By Sam Cohen
Missouri State University DC Graduate Campus
Georgetown University

Abstract: The 2015 attack on Ukraine’s power grid represented the first publically documented cyber incident disrupting electrical utility and power distribution control systems. While the
incident was temporary, it impacted critical services supporting 225,000 customers—including businesses, industrial facilities, and government offices. The attack has been recognized as a
highly complex and persistent operation that could have escalated to a significantly larger power outage disaster, threatening long-term essential service disruptions at hospitals, government
facilities, telecommunication sites, and financial institutions. This paper examines how cybersecurity standards developed or approved by organizations such as the National Institute for
Standards and Technology (NIST), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the North American Electric Reliability
Corporation (NERC), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) could have either mitigated or entirely prevented this attack. Specifically, log collection and analysis (NERC CIP007-6 and NIST SP-800-92), external network and boundary protection (IEC 62443-3, adopted as ANSI/ISA 99.03.03), and incident response (NIST-7628 Rev.1 and ISO/IEC 27002:2013) standards are mapped against key cybersecurity gaps that enabled the attackers to compromise and exploit key assets throughout Ukraine. The paper then determines how controls listed in these standards could have assisted cybersecurity and IT staff with the defense of their control systems and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks, thereby reducing the destructive potential of the attack and possibly mitigating the disaster altogether. The standards analyzed in this paper are identified for their mitigation utility during the Ukraine attacks, and also for their applicability to any power grid owner or operator aiming to reduce cyber risk.

Issue: [12-78]

Category: Academics, Public Policy

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Christine Fischer, Paul Green, 



ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards. 

ANSI Committee on Education Student Paper Competition


Missouri State University Department of Defense and Strategic Studies


Theater Safety Standards

Set design model by Marcel Jambon for an 1895 Paris production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello.


“We have art in order not to perish from the truth”

— Friedrich Nietzsche


Significant resources of the education industry are devoted to the arts  The demand for live events in college towns — what is now called”entertainment content” — is gathering pace; owed somewhat to an older demographic that prefers expanded social interaction to the online entertainment offerings that the younger demographic prefers*.  We see an expansion of the market in the construction of architecturally astonishing buildings.

Our interest lies in the complex safety and sustainability characteristics of the physical infrastructure — with particular interest in the fire protection, environmental air and electrotechnologies required to make them safe and sustainable.   This facility class is far more complicated technologically and operates at significantly higher risk than, say, classrooms or office space.

The Entertainment Services and Technology Association is one of the first names in trade associations that supports the business of show business through networking, safe practices, education, and representation.  We follow the standards making activity of its technical committees and monitor public commenting opportunities.  ESTA releases markups of its consensus products for public comment at a fairly brisk pace on its standards development landing page:

ESTA Public Review Drafts

ESTA has released its standard E1.62 Minimum specifications for mass-produced portable platforms, ramps, stairs, and choral risers for live performance  for public review.  This standard covers serially manufactured portable platforms, stair units and ramps used with those platforms, and choral risers.   It would also cover railings provided as fall protection accessories for these units. It would not cover custom platforms or complete stage systems. It would give minimum payload and sideways force handling specifications.

These installations are very common in school, college and university arts programs.

Comments are due September 23rd.

You may obtain an electronic copy at the link above, along with a comment form.  Send your comments to Karl Ruling, (212) 244-1505, standards@esta.org with an optional copy to psa@ansi.org).

We will keep the ESTA suite on the standing agenda of monthly Arts & Entertainment technology standards teleconference; open to everyone.   See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting.

We encourage our colleagues in school districts and in colleges and universities large and small; with responsibilities for the safety and sustainability of cultural resource properties, media centers, performance venues to participate in the ESTA technical standards development program.  For the size of the market it serves, the ESTA consensus product development enterprise is one of the best in the land.

Glorya Kaufman School of Dance / University of Southern California

We keep the ESTA suite on the standing agenda of monthly Arts & Entertainment technology standards teleconference; open to everyone.   See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting.

Since the electrotechnologies are fairly complex we also collaborate with the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee which meets four times per month in European and American time zones.   Young people everywhere are finding career paths in the technologies for providing educational and entertainment content.


Issue: [Various]

Category: Electrical, Arts & Entertainment Facilities

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Christine Fischer, Mike Hiler, Nehad El-Sherif

ARCHIVE: Engagement and Advocacy Action with ESTA 2015 – 2019



State Capitals And College Towns: A Recipe For Success

Baby Boomers Are Retiring to College Towns

The original University of Michigan codes and standards advocacy enterprise interviewed an ESTA affiliate in 2015:


Lighting Theatre and Auditorium Spaces

“Le Chahut” / Georges Seurat (1889)

The Illumination Engineering Society — one of the first names in standards-setting in illumination technology, globally* — has posted notification of immanent standards action on three consensus document that should interest the education facilities industry — particularly those facility management units that support enterprises for instruction and entertainment.  From the announcement placed in ANSI Standards Action (Pages 22-26):

IES RP-xx- Recommended Practice: Lighting Theatre and Auditorium Spaces (new standard).  Apparently this recommended practice will be derived from the design guideline described below.  Project Need: Updates the IES standard to reflect changes in lighting for performance spaces.

IES DG-20 Stage Lighting – A Guide to Planning of Theatres and Auditoriums. Add content for stage lighting controls; interfacing with networks[ houselight design, control, and performance including emergency lighting, stage worklight and cue light systems; LED and automated stage lighting instruments; power distribution for stage and houselighting systems; and future proofing systems.

IES TM-BIM- Lighting Practice: Building Information Management (new standard).  Project Need: A standardization of embedded and/or included parameters for use with building information modeling/management (BIM) project software.  The proposed technical memorandum shall include a recommended minimum list of parameters to be used in the construction of parametric luminare content used in BIM software. Note that this document shall remain software agnostic. Furthermore, it shall be limited to parameters vital to luminaire schedules and load calculations.  Stakeholders: Lighting designers, architects, engineers, performance facility managers, lighting distributors, electrical contractors.

No comments are due at this time.  IES is signaling its conformity to an administrative formality required by ANSI’s Project Initiation Notification due process procedure.

We encourage user interests in the education facilities industry — facility managers, front-line operations and maintenance personnel, design engineers and sustainability specialists who have operations and maintenance data; and workpoint understanding of #TotalCostofOwnership concepts — to participate in the IES standards development process.  The complete consensus document library is linked below:

IES Lighting Library

The IES Standards Development home page is linked below:

IES Standards Open for Public Review

The electrotechnical complexity of instructional spaces is gathering pace.  Standards Michigan hosts a monthly review of standards action on education industry arts and entertainment facilities which is open to everyone.  See our CALENDAR for the next teleconference.  Additionally, because the emergent #SmartCampus is essentially an electrotechnical transformation, we collaborate with the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee which meets online 4 times monthly in European and American time zones.

University of Akron Media Production Facility

Issue: [Various}

Category: Electrical, Facility Asset Management

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jim Harvey

Because illumination technology was the original (“killer”) application for electrical power, and continues to be a major component of electrical load, many competitors in standards setting have emerged.  To name a few: International Commission on Illumination, International Electrotechnical Commission and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  In recent years the IES has partnered with the American Society of Heating and Refrigeration Engineers to set standards for energy conservation in lighting systems.


Places of Assembly, Lecture Halls & Theaters

Marcel Jambon for an 1895 Paris production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello.

The standard of care for electrical system safety in dramatic art facilities in the education, and other industries, is largely established in Articles 518 through Article 540 of the National Electrical Code (NEC).   Proposals for revisions to assembly-related installations in the for 2020 NEC are accessible in the link below:

NEC CMP-15 First Draft Report

NEC CMP-15 Second Draft Report

These sections of the NEC have been fairly “stable” in recent cycles.  We find changes to these articles in the NEC 2020 revision are incremental — i.e clarifications on grounding, wiring methods, cord wiring, illumination — and helpful for designers and inspectors.  Nothing budget busting.

The 2020 NEC has been released for public use.  There are thousands of organizations and experts that cover NEC changes so they will not be repeated here.

Managers in the education industry who are responsible for this facility class are welcomed to click in any day at 11 AM for consultation on any electrical code issues.   We collaborate closely with the IEEE Standards Coordination Committee 18 which is charged, by IEEE, with harmonizing IEEE and NFPA electrical safety codes and standards.  We also collaborate with the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee which meets 4 times monthly in Europe and the Americas.   See our CALENDAR for the next online teleconferences; open to everyone.

Issue: [Various]

Category: Electrical, Telecommunications, Fire Protection, Arts & Entertainment Facilities, Lecture Halls

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Matt Dozier, Christel Hunter


BS 7827_2011 – Code of practice for designing, specifying, maintaining and operating emergency sound systems at sports venues

Archive / Places of Assembly, Lecture Halls & Theaters

Water Safety | Backflow Prevention

Harvard University Art Museum | In the Sierras, Lake Tahoe | Albert Bierstadt

The flooding conditions resulting from Hurricane Doria inspire a revisit of backflow prevention; an unseen technology that assures a safe drinking water supply by keeping water running in one direction by maintaining pressure differences.  Analogous to the way we want electrical current to run in one direction, failure of backflow prevention technology poses a near-instantaneous health risk for the contamination of potable water supplies with foul water.  In the most obvious case, a toilet flush cistern and its water supply must be isolated from the toilet bowl.  In a less obvious case, but at greater scale, a damaged backflow prevention technology at a university research building can contaminate an host-community potable water supply.

The American Water Works Association is one of the first names in accredited standards developers that administer leading practice discovery in backflow prevention consensus documents; usually referenced in local and state building codes; and also in education facility design guidelines and construction specifications.   There are other ANSI accredited standards developers in the backflow prevention technology space — the International Code Council, the IAPMO Group and ASSE International — for example.  A link to the AWWA Standards List is provided below.  Note that it is a downloadable spreadsheet that may be superceded at any time:

AWWA Standards List 7.12.19

Backflow Preventer

Two standards, which are referenced deep in state building codes, were given scrutiny by internal experts with a balanced view of the competing requirements of safety and economy:

AWWA C510-17 Double Check Valve Backflow Prevention Assembly.  This standard describes the double check-valve backflow prevention assembly for potable water applications. The purpose of this standard is to provide the minimum requirements for double check-valve backflow prevention assemblies for potable water applications,including materials, general and detailed design, workmanship, and shipping and delivery.

AWWA C511-07 Reduced-Pressure Principle Backflow Prevention Assembly.   This standard describes the reduced-pressure principle backflow prevention assembly.  A complete [RPZ] assembly consists of a mechanical, independently operating, hydraulically dependent relief valve located between two independently operating, internally loaded check valves that are located between two tightly closing resilient-seated shutoff valves with four properly placed resilient-seated test cocks

Its proposals sought performance specifications for, a) backflow lubricants (so that the units were less likely to break during maintenance operations) and and require replacement during maintenance, b) clarification about where reduced pressure zone (RPZ) valves are required.

Since the July 2016 organization (see ABOUT) AWWA has revised both standards; one of which — AWWA C511 — seems to have responded to our proposal for clarification about where RPZ’s are required.   We will continue following these documents specifically, and the AWWA, IAPMO and ASSE suite generally.   The AWWA standards landing page is linked below:

AWWA Standards Public Comment Home Page

University of Southern California Foundation for Cross-Connection Control and Hydraulic Research

As dangerous as the failure of backflow technology may seem;  its application, operations and maintenance can be overdone; notably by manufacturers, compliance and labor interests.  As we explain elsewhere on this blog,  safety in one technology can be so overdone, that it poses a risk to other elements in campus infrastructure.  Facility managers are effectively risk managers because they must continually triage their operations and maintenance obligations.

In 2013 the original University of Michigan codes and standards advocacy enterprise began advocating the user-interest at the local, state and national level because, like most large research universities it had a complicated interdependency with the host city water supply system within which its own was nested; made even more complicated by a large hospital and research enterprises where scientific materials presented elevated risk to the potable water users on the perimeter community.

We get down into the weeds regarding backflow prevention operation and maintenance programs during our monthly Plumbing & Water standards teleconferences.   See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.


Issue: [11-57]

Category: Water Safety, Plumbing, Mechanical

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Richard Robben, Steve Snyder, Larry Spielvogel


Link to Legacy Workspace

What is AWWA?

Layout mode
Predefined Skins
Custom Colors
Choose your skin color
Patterns Background
Images Background