Roundtable Discussion at the International Institute for Infrastructure Conference at Purdue University – Robert Cox, PhD, Assoc. Dean for Globalization & Engagement Bryan Hubbard, Building Construction Management Head Mark Shaurette, BCM Demolition Concentration Leader Randy Rapp, Department of BCM Pete Consigli, CR, WLS

Air Date: 5-23-2014 | Episode: 328

Natural disasters occur globally and with real time cell phone and media coverage seem to occur with greater and greater frequency. Structural resiliency, disaster preparation and response are studied and researched at institutes of higher learning around the world. ..

Full Description:

Natural disasters occur globally and with real time cell phone and media coverage seem to occur with greater and greater frequency. Structural resiliency, disaster preparation and response are studied and researched at institutes of higher learning around the world. This week Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana hosted I3R2 the 10th International Conference of the International Institute for Infrastructure Resilience and Reconstruction where conference delegates from North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia met to collaborate on better practices to prepare and execute effective disaster response.
Technical presentations were made by the CDC, Society of American Military Engineers, Army Corps of Engineers; and 31 technical presentations were reviewed. A first ever panel discussion between emergency responders and academia was also part of the program. Pete Consigli organized the panel and the Z-man was one of the panelists. This week on IAQ Radio we traveled to Purdue


Z-Man’s Blog:

Boiler Up


Radio Joe and I were invited to attend the 10th international conference of the International Institute for Infrastructure Resilience and Reconstruction at Purdue University. The focus of the meeting was global collaboration for effective disaster mitigation and response. The event was small and intimate with approximately 40 attendees from around the world, the majority of who are academics. Subject matter fell into two categories: Planning, Preparation and Mitigation and Response, Restoration and Reconstruction.


RIA consultant Pete Consigli, moderated a panel discussion with representatives from demolition, disaster restoration. The restoration industry was represented by: Monique Pilié, [All hands Volunteers-Field Coordinator on project Long island] Rusty Amarante, [Director of Operations for Belfor] and the Z-Man.


Radio Joe Hughes [IICRC Government Affairs Chairman], John Downey [Managing Editor at the IICRC Journal of Cleaning, Restoration & Inspection] and Ed Jones [VP Education, Research and Development, CodeBlue] who made a presentation on water damage mitigation filled out the IAQ, cleaning and restoration industry contingent.

Nuggets mined:

  • Large disaster response companies like Belfor when remotely deployed in disaster zones with hundreds to thousands of staff must think and plan for everything from largest to smallest details (caring for their staff includes providing everything from bottled drinking water and food to clean underwear).
  • During disasters it’s not uncommon for the government to commandeer equipment and supplies from private restoration and demolition contractors.
  • It’s mandatory for Purdue’s Building and Construction management professors to have industry field experience.
  • Randy Rapp and Mark Sharuette wrote their course textbooks in conjunction with industry.

Robert F. Cox, PhD

  • Purdue’s restoration program is the dream of Bob Bonwell, Advantage Marketing, Indianapolis, IN. Bob not only conceived the idea but also was a donor who formed an industry group which provide the initial seed money to fund the program.
  • Purdue can’t do it alone, serving as an incubator freely shares knowledge and information with other institutes of higher learning.
  • Suffered a water loss in his home when he was living in Florida which resulted in the replacement of hardwood floors, which he now knows through his interaction with restoration contractors would have been restorable.
  • Disasters get the world’s attention, pull on our heartstrings and get the attention of young people.
  • Purdue is uniquely positioned for leadership in comprehensive disaster response among its colleges of Technology, Engineering, Science, and Agriculture to provide expertise in such areas as environmental impacts, demolition, disaster mitigation and recovery,  engineering, homeland security, agricultural, food security, and water.
  • Civic minded Purdue undergrad students seek alternative spring breaks where they perform volunteer work in service learning programs in: disaster stricken areas, help build resilient schools in 3rd world countries, work with Habitat for Humanity. Students responding, react, and learn leadership, stewardship and goodwill.

Randy Rapp, D.Mgt

  • Some community colleges are teaching restoration courses.
  • Exciting news, the Building Construction Management Department’s Restoration Concentration will likely soon be widened to an Academic Minor status and as such accessible to all Purdue students.
  • Pete Consigli’s restoration demolition panel was well received and will be replicated in future I3R2 events.
  • More great things to come as his program maintains close links to industry.

Mark Shaurette, PhD

  • Historically, most demolition companies were small businesses in the US and frequently family owned. These businesses grew beyond the capacity of family members who learned by doing and needed middle management staff. To support this need, Purdue’s demolition program began 10 years ago just prior to the restoration program with the support of Mike Taylor and the National Demolition Association. Other schools are adding demolition curriculum.
  • Use of equipment mounted demolition tools takes a varying toll on the heavy equipment they are attached to. Several demo contractors went bankrupt following 9/11 because the Blue Book which provides rental rates doesn’t take into account the heavy toll demolition tools take on equipment during extended use.
  • Students would learn from the program and make a positive difference on the financial bottom line of the firms that hire them.
  • Dust suppression is most effectively done at the demo tool. Modified snow making equipment is used to produce ideal sized water droplets which coat and weigh down dust particles. Demo contractors also construct enclosures to help manage dust release.
  • Demo contractors are concerned with both Industrial Hygiene and Sanitary Hygiene. Demo workers are provided with safety training, HAZMAT recognition and safe HAZMAT removal and handling training. It’s not uncommon for demo workers to wash and change clothing on the worksite.
  • Demo contractors construct negative air enclosures to control dust and/or HAZMAT release.
  • Clients need to evaluate and select the right one, a demo contractor who has the experience and the resources to do the job. First responders should pre-qualify, preselect and prearrange with demo contractors.

Bryan Hubbard, PhD

  • Academia and industry are disconnected.
  • Academics do theoretical research.
  • Purdue’s BCM-College of Technology bucks the trend and focuses on industry related research.
  • Purdue students attend industry conventions and do industry internships.
  • OSHA has a new silica dust standard, which cuts the former allowable limit in half.
  • The earthquake and tsunami that damaged the Fukishima nuclear plant was a black swan event which will better help us plan for the next one. “A Black Swan event is an event in human history that was unprecedented and unexpected at the point in time it occurred. However, after evaluating the surrounding context, domain experts (and in some cases even laymen) can usually conclude: “it was bound to happen”. Even though some parameters may differ (such as the event’s time, location, or specific type), it is likely that similar incidences have had similar effects in the past.”
  • While college grads with bachelor degrees in soft sciences may struggle to find jobs, strong employment opportunities are immediately available in demolition and restoration.
  • Very impressed with All Hands Volunteers who: focus on serving the neediest of the needy, don’t compete with industry and would be a great partner with Purdue for service learning programs.

Dieter Weyel

  • The respirable sized dust particles you can’t see are the ones industry needs to be most concerned about.

Pete Consigli

  • Purdue is a unique research melting pot.
  • Surprised and pleased by the keen interest level in input from industry contractors his panel will be replicated ay future I3R2 events.
  • Academia was unaware of our industry training and certification programs.
  • The uniqueness of Purdue makes them the world leader in disaster mitigation and response.

Radio Joe and I want to thank Randy Rapp for the invite and agree that nobody networks like the Italian Dynamo, Pete Consigli.


If you didn’t already know, “Boiler Up” is a famous Purdue Boilermakers cheer.


Today’s music: “Boiler Up” by Mirror Men Music  YouTube


Z-Man signing off