Building Construction


Construction Concerns: Temporary Structures

April 15, 2014

Gregory Havel examines the precautions firefighters must take and the knowledge they must have when responsing to temporary structures.

Construction Worker Talks Dramatic Rescue From Houston Fire

March 26, 2014

A construction worker who was rescued from a burning apartment building in Houston said he was so close to the flames that he could feel his skin burning.

FDIC 2014 Preview: Reading a Building

March 19, 2014

Retired city of Los Angeles (CA) Battalion Chief John Mittendorf will be joined by Dave Dodson to talk about building construction and size-up at FDIC 2014.

Construction Concerns: Plaster

March 6, 2014

Plaster is known to have been in use for more than 9,000 years. Greg Havel has more on how new uses of this construction material may affect firefighters responding to emergencies at buildings that use it.

Construction Concerns: Tall Buildings

January 21, 2014

Gregory Havel takes a quick look at the future of firefighting in increasingly tall high-rise buildings.

Motion Computing's New LINCWorks™ Portable Wireless Devices Make Instant Network Connectivity a Reality

December 11, 2013

Motion Computing® (, a global provider of rugged mobile technology built for business, today announces LINCWorks™ -- a family of portable, rugged, easily deployed wireless connectivity devices. 

GreenWorld Restoration Receives IDIQ Award from Texas General Land Office

December 9, 2013

On October 10, 2013, GreenWorld Restoration received a fully executed contract from the Texas General Land Office for Modular and Alternative Housing. 

Construction Concerns: Steel Truss Double Roof

October 21, 2013

The presence of a double or rain roof on any building should require a note on firefighters' preincident plan for the building, Greg Havel writes.

Construction Concerns: Bar Joist Roofs

October 7, 2013

Our preincident plans must include notes on the type of roof deck and roof supports if it is to be of real value to us during an incident response, writes Gregory Havel.

Natural Gas Meters and Regulators

September 9, 2013

Although firefighters do not service or install natural gas meters, piping, and regulators, they need an understanding of how these devices work so that they can work more safely, writes Gregory Havel.

Code Council Teams Up with National Association of Home Builders and National Kitchen and Bath Association

September 7, 2013

The substantial benefits of collaboration between the building safety and residential construction industries will be on display during the inaugural "Design and Construction Week" Feb. 4-6, 2014, in Las Vegas (NV).

Tazreen Fashions: Triangle Shirtwaist Revisited

August 19, 2013

The Tazreen Fashions fire is in many ways similar to the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City, which killed 146 workers on March 25, 1911, writes Gregory Havel.

Construction Concerns: Unpredictable Fire

August 5, 2013

One thing that most Fire Fighter I and II courses do not teach is the simple fact that fire behavior is not always predictable, writes Gregory Havel.

Construction Concerns: Cross Laminated Timber

July 15, 2013

Greg Havel reviews the development of cross laminated timber, its current and prospective uses in building construction, and how it may impact firefighting operations.

Construction Concerns: Autoexposure

July 5, 2013

Greg Havel looks at how autoexposure problems may affect modern buildings and impact firefighter and civilian safety.

Construction Concerns: Structural Collapse

June 24, 2013

Greg Havel discusses firefighter response to structural collapses that do not involve fire, such as the one that killed six people recently in Philadelphia.

Construction Concerns: The 20-Minute Rule

June 11, 2013

Is the "20-minute rule" still valid in the modern era of lightweight construction? Greg Havel says we should take a closer look at our firefighting operational guidelines in terms of time to structural instability and collapse.

Construction Concerns: Room Contents vs. Rated Assemblies

May 28, 2013

How long will a rated wall, floor-ceiling assembly or door and frame withstand exposure to one of today's fires? Greg Havel has suggestions for firefighters dealing with this issue on the fireground.

Construction Concerns: Construction Types and Fire Behavior

May 13, 2013

Greg Havel reviews fire behavior preplanning for the various construction types and describes a tactical approach for firefighters operating in buildings about which they have little preincident intelligence.

IAFC and IBHS Urge Congress to Enact Federal Building Code Measure

May 8, 2013

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) joined the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) in calling upon the House of Representatives and the Senate today to enact the Safe Building Code Incentive Act (SBCIA), which provides financial incentives for states to adopt and enforce strong building codes.


Gregory Havel

Gregory Havel is a member of the Town of Burlington (WI) Fire Department; retired deputy chief and training officer; and a 30-year veteran of the fire service. He is a Wisconsin-certified fire instructor II, fire officer II, and fire inspector; an adjunct instructor in fire service programs at Gateway Technical College; and safety director for Scherrer Construction Co., Inc. Havel has a bachelor's degree from St. Norbert College; has more than 30 years of experience in facilities management and building construction; and has presented classes at FDIC.

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