New guidelines aim to protect Calgarians from falling debris

CALGARY- New safety measures have been put into place, to protect Calgarians from the threat of falling debris.

In August 2009, toddler Michelle Krsek died after being hit by debris that fell from an unsecured construction site downtown. That tragedy sparked the city to try and make streets safer.

On Thursday, the city and BOMA announced that they are launching a Building Envelope Guide, that provides tools and best practices for the building industry. The program is unique to North America.

“You are not going to prevent everything, but if you have people trained to do the right things in the right way in the right order, you are going to mitigate a lot of the risks,” says Bill Partridge, president of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).

Officials have since cracked down on unsafe sites by conducting yearly inspections of signage, handing out tougher fines, and encouraging builders to sign on to a weather warning system.

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“Existing buildings currently don’t require it, but you are going to need it when you are doing work five storeys and above,” says Cliff de Jong, from city building regulations. “That does have the potential to impact the public realm, and as part of the public protection site safety plan the advance weather forecasting is a major part of that.”

The City of Calgary is now looking to bring in new guidelines for industrial areas and smaller construction sites.

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