Get Help When It Comes To Residential Property Development

Submitted by: Sean Horton

If you are looking to build residential property or if you wish to renovate an existing property then you should look into getting help when it comes to residential property development. The internet holds a vast amount of information on the subject and some give better advice than others. There are specialist websites that are able to give you free information and help you to find the best deal.

When looking into residential property development the first decision you should make is the type of financing you are actually looking for. The majority of those starting out get development finance and refurbishment loans confused and assume they are the same thing, they are not. Development finance is taken out by those who have an extensive project to work on or when they wish to make extensive changes to a property they already own. A refurbishment loan is taken when there are slight changes to be made or small improvements.

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As a very rough guide anything that requires an individual to require a loan of 150,000 or more would need to look into taking out a residential property development loan. Anything below this then a refurbishment loan might be better considered.

It is essential to take an experts advice because some lenders will allow an individual to borrow based on the properties value after the changes have been made. This of course is in your favour as you will be able to borrow a lot more. Of course before a lender will give you a loan you will have to show them the proposal for the renovations you will be making and again a specialist can help you to put this together.

Unlike a residential mortgage the interest rate that comes with a property development loan will not be fixed but based on the project the individual is proposing. What you intend to do with the property or project and how much the total value of the property is will all go towards determining the rate of interest you will pay. The property type and the experience of the individual interested in residential property development will all be taken into account as well. However as a general rule of thumb you can expect the rate of interest to be around 1.5% to 2.5% plus the Bank of England base rate.

Unless you are a very experienced individual then residential property development finance without full planning consent would be very hard to secure. Newcomers should make sure that they have the full consent and all the relevant paperwork and documentation before approaching a lender or allowing a broker to approach one on their behalf. When it comes to the amount you are able to borrow then this of course will be based individually. However usually this will be around 70% and 75% of the actual purchase price of the property in question and the costs of building. However if the individual has a strong proven track record when it comes to property development then the broker may be able to find them 100% funding.

About the Author: Sean Horton is a Director of Enhanced Wealth, a whole of market mortgage broker and IFA specialising in mortgage advice and the associated areas of income protection, mortgage protection, mortgage life cover and

Residential property development



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Nottingham Express Transit extensions get Government approval

Monday, March 28, 2011

Phase two of Nottingham, England’s Express Transit system (NET) received a boost last Thursday, when it was announced that the Government had approved both of the proposed additional lines to extend the network further into the Nottinghamshire area. Construction of the two lines, which will take the system to Chilwell and Clifton, could begin before the end of the year.

The plans were originally turned down on cost grounds, but following successful negotiations between Nottingham City Council and the two companies bidding to construct the line enough savings have been found to allow the scheme to receive the green light. Around 20% is now believed to have been saved from the cost of the project, though no exact figures of either the original cost or savings made have been announced by the council, and according to a transport boss the project has had no changes made to it to accommodate these.

The routes, the vehicles or the infrastructure will not be affected by the reduced budget. Quality, reliability and safety is paramount to the success of the existing route and this ethos will be replicated on lines two and three.

Under the private finance initiative (PFI) deal, which is how the funding for phase 2 will be secured, private firms bid to win the contract to build and run the tram network, before then later leasing it back to the council who pay for its use on an ongoing basis. The two consortia bidding to build and operate the network are Tramlink Nottingham and Arrow Connect, the preferred bidder of which will appointed in the near future.

However, despite the news of the approval for the lines by the Government, the final hurdle has not yet been jumped, and they could still never make it off the drawing board. The announcement only means that Nottingham City Council — who are the sole promoters of the scheme following the withdrawal of the Tory-led County Council — can continue the process and, if the final business case is given full approval, will then be able to award the concessionaire contract to the successful bidder.

The NET system was opened in March 2004, and the original line, Line One, runs for a distance of 14km between Hucknall and Nottingham City Centre, with a short spur also serving Phoenix Park — near to the M1 motorway. Once completed, Lines Two and Three, operating to Clifton via Wilford and Chilwell via the Queen’s Medical Centre and Beeston, will continue on from the current terminus at Station Street, over a new bridge across Nottingham railway station, and diverge to their separate termini shortly afterwards. The lines will add a further 17.4km to the network.

After making the announcement on Thursday, Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “Line One of the Nottingham tram has proved to be a great success in encouraging people on to public transport. These proposed extensions provide the opportunity to continue this success, and give people in the south of Nottingham quicker, more convenient access to the city centre, as well as helping to regenerate sections of the city.

“Following the spending review last year, we challenged Nottingham City Council to look again at the cost of the Nottingham light rail extension, to be funded through the private finance initiative, to ensure we get maximum value for every pound we spend.

“The Department has been working closely with the local authority involved to ensure this project is affordable. I am delighted that the Council has risen to the challenge and has identified savings from its original estimated costs.

“By finding savings, I can confirm that we are today allowing this project to move another step forward within our funding approval process.”

Nottingham City Council’s Chief Executive Jane Todd also commented: “This is a very positive development. We have worked hard with government to ensure that NET phase two is delivered as cost effectively as possible. A preferred bidder will now be appointed in the very near future who will work with the council to finalise contracts which will hopefully be signed later in the summer. NET Phase Two is crucial for the future of Nottingham’s economy and to attract new jobs to the City”.

If final approval is given for the lines, construction work will begin before the end of the year, with a view to the extended system opening in 2014.

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Effective Ways To Clean The Crystal Chandeliers

Effective Ways To Clean The Crystal Chandeliers


Crystal Clique

With crystal chandeliers we give a touch of magnificence to our house, especially the living room. Generally, chandeliers are intended to create a majestic ambiance within the living space; however, since last couple of decades, these chandeliers are efficiently illuminating the luxurious and gorgeous places at special venues. Thus, if you really want your house to be a centre of attraction for everyone then crystal chandelier is an item to be considered. Although, cleaning up this beautiful decorative piece is a vexing task.

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Despite of this fact, consumers are falling for chandeliers and other enchanting crystal items. Certainly, cleaning up the crystal chandeliers is a tad critical but not at all impractical, provided, you know the correct procedure of doing it. According to the connoisseurs, one needs to retain patience, caution and time when washing the chandeliers or a crystal vase. Basically there are two prolific methods of cleaning it- Non-dismantle and dismantle method. In the non-dismantle method, you clean up the entire chandeliers in one go. However, before you take the requisite steps to clean it, just ensure that you have the other lighting options in the backend as you won’t be able to use your chandeliers immediately after the wash. Now, simply switch off the button and put the readymade cleaning chemical available in the market in a spray bottle. After then, carefully spray the chemical all over and on every part of the fixture, leaving the wires and electric joints. Once this process is done, let the chemical dry. Later, dip a cloth in the cleanser and wipe the parts cautiously. Subsequently, just let it dry for the entire night before using it the next day. Now, in the dismantle method, you ought to dismantle the crystal chandelier to clean ever single part separately. As it’s a thorough method, you need time and patience while dismantling and cleaning up the mess. However, it’s a more satisfactory process of cleaning the chandeliers. Similarly, one can clean up the crystal vase with a non-dismantle method, using the readymade chemicals. Out in the marketplace, special chemical are available to clean the Daum crystal at a reasonable discount. Therefore, if you have chandeliers, vase or any other Daum crystal item then simply grab the special chemicals to make your crystal items dirt-free. And yes, don’t forget to enjoy the discount available.

At Crystal Clique we pride ourselves on offering our customers the most competitive prices in the market for Lalique, Daum, Herend, Moser and Robbe & Berking. We offer

Crystal Chandeliers

, Daum Crystals,

Moser Glass

these strong bonds at such attractive prices.

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City to sue owner of partially collapsed 19th century livery in Buffalo, New York

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Buffalo, New York —Two weeks after a 19th century stable and livery on Jersey Street partially collapsed and caused 15 homes to be evacuated in Buffalo, New York, residents still do not have answers from the city despite a court order to work with them and come to an agreement on a way to save some or all of the building, Wikinews has learned. Despite the frustration from residents, the city is planning on suing the building’s owner. A rally was held at the stable’s site where residents are hoping to bring more awareness to the situation and gain more support to save the building.

On June 11, a significant portion of the stable’s right side wall collapsed into the yard of a resident’s home. Authorities, including the Buffalo Fire Department were called to the scene to evaluate the collapse and evacuate 15 homes of residents surrounding the stable as a precautionary measure. The following day, the city ordered an emergency demolition on the building, which was stopped by a restraining order residents with Save The Livery ( won on June 14. Two weeks later, five homes are still evacuated and residents don’t know when they will be able to return.

On June 19, Judge Justice Christopher Burns of the New York State Supreme Court ordered a halt to the emergency demolition and ordered the city and residents to come to an agreement to save the building, or at least a significant portion of it. Despite a court date today, no agreement has yet been reached between the two parties.

“It is in the interest of the city to have a safe environment–but also important to maintain a sense of historical preservation,” stated Burns in his June 19th ruling. The court ruled that a limited demolition could take place and that the city was only allowed to remove material in immediate danger to residents and pedestrians, but stated that the demolition could only be performed with “hand tools.” The court also ordered that any rubble which had fallen into neighboring yards when the building collapsed, to be removed. Since then, most of not all the significantly damaged portions of the building or portions in immediate danger of falling have been demolished. The roof has also been removed to put less stress on the stable’s walls.

“Its been over three years since we have been having problems with part of the livery falling down. There was an implosion two weeks ago and suddenly the city wanted to have an emergency demolition,” said Catherine Herrick who lives on Summer Street immediately behind the stable and is the main plaintiff in the lawsuit against the city. Many homes on Summer are small cottages which were used as servants quarters when the stable was in operation, many of which were built in the 1820’s. At least seven homes on Summer border the stable’s back walls. Residents in those homes have significant gardens which have been planted against the building and growing for decades.

“Both parties are to continue to work together to see how we can meet everybody’s needs. This is the third time we have been in that courtroom, and that is what we were basically told to do,” added Herrick who said the rally was held today because this “is Buffalo’s history. Buffalo is a wonderful place to live because of its history and this is a historical, beautiful building and we need to keep those beautiful buildings.”

Herrick states that the city is working with residents, but also believes that its “slow moving” and they are allowing the owner to get away with neglect on the property.

“I believe right now that they are letting the owner get off. The owner was negligent for 20 years, and hasn’t done anything to it despite what he has claimed to say. Now that this is an emergency situation, the city has a lot to say about it,” added Herrick.

Currently the building is owned by Bob Freudenheim who has several building violations against him because its poor condition. He has received at least five violations in three months and residents who live near the building state that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions.

Freudenheim gave the city permission to demolish the building on June 12 during an emergency Preservation Board meeting, because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim, along with his wife Nina, were part-owners of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and were advocates to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel from being built on the Southeast corner of Forest and Elmwood Avenues. They also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built. Residents say that he has been the owner for at least 22 years. Attorneys for Freudenheim confirm that the city is starting proceedings against him for his violations beginning as early as Wednesday June 25. Freudenheim has not released a statement and could not be reached for comment.

Many residents want the building preserved and Herrick states that their engineer can have it stable in “four days” as opposed to the 14-30 days it would take to demolish the building and “at a lesser cost than what it costs to demolish it.”

It will cost the city nearly US$300,000 to demolish the building which is paid for with tax money collected from residents in the city. The Buffalo News reports that fees are approaching $700,000. Though reports say there is a potential buyer of the stable, Wikinews cannot independently confirm those reports.

Residents say the stable was designed by Richard A. Waite, a 19th century architect, and was first owned by a company called White Bros., used as a stable and housed at least 30 horses at any given time. It also stored “coaches, coupes, broughams, Victorias and everything in the line of light livery,” stated an article from the West Side Topics dated 1906. According to the article, The company first opened in 1881 on Thirteenth Street, now Normal Avenue, and later moved into the Jersey building in 1892. The Buffalo Fire Department believes the building was built around 1814, while the city property database states it was built in 1870. It is believed to be only one of three stables of this kind still standing in the country.

At about 1950, the stable was converted into an automobile body shop and gasoline station.A property record search showed that in 1950 at least four fuel storage tanks were installed on the property. Two are listed as 550 square feet while the other two are 2,000 square feet. All of the tanks are designated as a TK4, which New York State says is used for “below ground horizontal bulk fuel storage.” The cost of installing a tank of that nature according to the state, at that time, included the tank itself, “excavation and backfill,” but did not include “the piping, ballast, or hold-down slab orring.” It is not known if the tanks are still on the property, but residents are concerned the city was not taking the precautions to find out.

Wikinews has called the city along with the Mayor’s office several times, but both have yet to return our calls. There are conflicting reports as to the date of the next hearing. According to Herrick, the next hearing is July 1, 2008 though the Buffalo News states the next hearing is July 8. The News also states that Burns will make a final ruling on the stable at this time.

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Egypt protests: Army say they will not use force on demonstrators as Mubarak announces cabinet

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The president of Egypt has suffered a “devastating blow” after the country’s army announced they would not use force against their own people, who continue to protest against the government tonight. The news came hours after six journalists who reported on the protests were released from custody.

Hosni Mubarak yesterday announced a new cabinet, which does not include several figures who protesters largely do not approve of. Analysts have, however, suggested little had changed within the government; many positions, they say, are filled with military figures.

To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people … have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people.

In a statement broadcast on state media in Egypt, the army said: “To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people … have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people.” A BBC correspondent in Cairo said the announcement meant it “now seems increasingly likely that the 30-year rule of Mr Mubarak is drawing to a close.”

“The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people,” the statement added. “Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody.”

Earlier today, six journalists from the independent news network Al-Jazeera were released from custody after being detained by police. The U.S. State Department criticized the arrests; equipment was reportedly confiscated from the journalists.

Have you been affected in some way by this unrest? Tell us your thoughts.
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Egyptian officials yesterday ordered the satellite channel to stop broadcasting in the country. Al-Jazeera said they were “appalled” by the government’s decision to close its Egyptian offices, which they described as the “latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt.”

In a statement, the news agency added: “Al-Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people.”

On Friday, Wikinews reported the government had shut off practically all Internet traffic both out of and into the nation, as well as disrupting cellphone usage. A spokesperson for the social networking website Facebook said “limiting Internet access for millions of people is a matter of concern for the global community.”

A reported 50,000 campaigners, who are demanding the long-time leader step down and complaining of poverty, corruption, and oppression, filled Tahrir Square in Cairo today, chanting “We will stay until the coward leaves.” It is thought 100 people have so far died in the demonstrations. Today there have been protests in Suez, Mansoura, Damanhour, and Alexandria.

Speaking to news media in the area, many protesters said the new cabinet did little to quell their anger. “We want a complete change of government, with a civilian authority,” one said. Another added: “This is not a new government. This is the same regime—this is the same bluff. [Mubarak] has been bluffing us for 30 years.”

In Tahrir Square today, protesters played music as strings of barbed wire and army tanks stood nearby. Demonstrators scaled light poles, hanging Egyptian flags and calling for an end to Mubarak’s rule. “One poster featured Mubarak’s face plastered with a Hitler mustache, a sign of the deep resentment toward the 82-year-old leader they blame for widespread poverty, inflation and official indifference and brutality during his 30 years in power,” one journalist in the square reported this evening.

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Whether A Gps Tracking Device For Trucks Is Necessary

You may be wondering when you might benefit from a GPS tracking device for trucks if your company uses vehicles often. You should remember that this service costs money, so it is not necessarily the best move for every business since it is possible to end up not benefiting from it despite spending funds. This is why you should make sure it is beneficial for you.

The first thing to consider is how often your company uses vehicles. A GPS tracking device for trucks is usually utilized within businesses that solely rely on vehicles operated by employees. If you own a trucking business, for example, then you can probably benefit from this service because you would use it each day, likely within several vehicles. If your business heavily relies on making deliveries, then you may also benefit from this offering since you need to constantly know where employees are, and when they will get to their destination. On the other hand, if you only occasionally send an employee on an errand or delivery, then it might not be worth it for you to pay for this service when you would hardly use it.

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In addition, some companies that rely on drivers may not need this kind of service because they do not always need to know where their employees are. If you are in no hurry when it comes to your drivers arriving, and have no worries about them getting lost or purposely taking a detour, then you may not really benefit from a GPS tracking device for trucks. This is mostly meant to make sure drivers do not become lost, take random trips when they are supposed to be doing their job, or fail to arrive on time. Of course, having this system in place can also reduce their chances of speeding since they will know they are being monitored. If you have never had a complaint about a driver speeding or ending up anywhere other than the destination, you may be fine without this system.

This technology is often great for large companies with lots of employees since they can be hard to keep track of without some help. If you only have a few employees, and generally keep in touch with them over the phone or a pager system, you might be fine saving your money. If you have a medium amount of workers, or are still unsure if you could benefit from this type of assistance, consider asking a local provider for more information to help you choose. You may find out that you can even test out the system before buying it.

In the end, whether or not you get a GPS tracking device for trucks will depend on your budget. If you cannot afford it but think you could benefit, find out if there is a payment plan available. You should also rest assured that most companies that use this technology tend to save money over time, so keep this in mind.

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A GPS tracking device for trucks keeps drivers and business on point. Take the first step towards a more efficient fleet by visiting Anders Abadie

BDSM as business: An interview with the owners of a dungeon

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Torture proliferates American headlines today: whether its use is defensible in certain contexts and the morality of the practice. Wikinews reporter David Shankbone was curious about torture in American popular culture. This is the first of a two part series examining the BDSM business. This interview focuses on the owners of a dungeon, what they charge, what the clients are like and how they handle their needs.

When Shankbone rings the bell of “HC & Co.” he has no idea what to expect. A BDSM (Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism) dungeon is a legal enterprise in New York City, and there are more than a few businesses that cater to a clientèle that wants an enema, a spanking, to be dressed like a baby or to wear women’s clothing. Shankbone went to find out what these businesses are like, who runs them, who works at them, and who frequents them. He spent three hours one night in what is considered one of the more upscale establishments in Manhattan, Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber, where according to The Village Voice, “you can take your girlfriend or wife, and have them treated with respect—unless they hope to be treated with something other than respect!”

When Shankbone arrived on the sixth floor of a midtown office building, the elevator opened up to a hallway where a smiling Rebecca greeted him. She is a beautiful forty-ish Long Island mother of three who is dressed in smart black pants and a black turtleneck that reaches up to her blond-streaked hair pulled back in a bushy ponytail. “Are you David Shankbone? We’re so excited to meet you!” she says, and leads him down the hall to a living room area with a sofa, a television playing an action-thriller, an open supply cabinet stocked with enema kits, and her husband Bill sitting at the computer trying to find where the re-release of Blade Runner is playing at the local theater. “I don’t like that movie,” says Rebecca.

Perhaps the most poignant moment came at the end of the night when Shankbone was waiting to be escorted out (to avoid running into a client). Rebecca came into the room and sat on the sofa. “You know, a lot of people out there would like to see me burn for what I do,” she says. Rebecca is a woman who has faced challenges in her life, and dealt with them the best she could given her circumstances. She sees herself as providing a service to people who have needs, no matter how debauched the outside world deems them. They sat talking mutual challenges they have faced and politics (she’s supporting Hillary); Rebecca reflected upon the irony that many of the people who supported the torture at Abu Ghraib would want her closed down. It was in this conversation that Shankbone saw that humanity can be found anywhere, including in places that appear on the surface to cater to the inhumanity some people in our society feel towards themselves, or others.

“The best way to describe it,” says Bill, “is if you had a kink, and you had a wife and you had two kids, and every time you had sex with your wife it just didn’t hit the nail on the head. What would you do about it? How would you handle it? You might go through life feeling unfulfilled. Or you might say, ‘No, my kink is I really need to dress in women’s clothing.’ We’re that outlet. We’re not the evil devil out here, plucking people off the street, keeping them chained up for days on end.”

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Bill & Rebecca, owners of Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber, a BDSM dungeon.


  • 1 Meet Bill & Rebecca, owners of a BDSM dungeon
    • 1.1 Their home life
  • 2 Operating the business
    • 2.1 The costs
    • 2.2 Hiring employees
    • 2.3 The prices
  • 3 The clients
    • 3.1 What happens when a client walks through the door
    • 3.2 Motivations of the clients
    • 3.3 Typical requests
    • 3.4 What is not typical
  • 4 The environment
    • 4.1 Is an S&M dungeon dangerous?
    • 4.2 On S&M burnout
  • 5 Criticism of BDSM
  • 6 Related news
  • 7 External links
  • 8 Sources
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Wikinews Shorts: December 4, 2008

A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, December 4, 2008.

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On December 2, the Toronto city council voted in favor of banning the sales and distribution of bottled water on city property. The council also agreed to provide public drinking fountains on their properties, as well as on a measure that would make shoppers pay at least five Canadian cents for plastic grocery bags and force business owners to offer reusable bags and carry-out containers.

“Toronto’s decision to ban the bottle and turn on the tap sends a clear message that bottled water’s 15 minutes are up,” said Polaris Institute’s campaign coordinator, Joe Cressy.

All of the city’s facilities should be following the water ban by 2011, while businesses will have to implement their bag fees by 2010. Toronto has become the largest city in the world to ban bottled water on government property.

Related news

  • “Calls for bottled water bans grow in Canada” — Wikinews, August 23, 2008


  • “Toronto Bans Bottled Water” — CNW Group, December 3, 2008
  • “Toronto council approves plastic bag charge, bottle ban” — CBC News, December 3, 2008

On Tuesday, American actor, Patrick Swayze, who suffers from pancreatic cancer, denied reports that he was near death. American tabloid National Inquirer reported on November 28 that Swayze’s cancer had spread to his liver and that he was preparing for his death.

“The only thorn in my side being that many tabloids have been consistently reporting lies and false information about me and those close to me,” said Swayze in a statement to the press who also added that he knows he is in “the fight for his life,” but that it is a fight that he “is winning.”

“I’m one of the lucky few that responds well to treatment,” added Swayze.

Swayze has starred in over a dozen films, including the 1987 hit film Dirty Dancing.

Related news

  • “Wikinews Shorts: November 28, 2008” — Wikinews, November 28, 2008


  • “Swayze denies ‘deathbed’ rumours” — BBC News Online, December 3, 2008
  • “Patrick Swayze denies reports he is near death” — Reuters, December 2, 2008

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NTSB releases updates on status of 3 major US investigations

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the agency responsible for investigating transportation accidents in the United States, released updates on three major investigations on June 14.

The NTSB, well known publicly for its involvement in the investigation of aviation incidents which involve harm or loss of human life, is also an agency that oversees the transportation of refined petroleum and gas products, chemicals and minerals.

The agency determined the cause of a natural gas pipeline explosion that killed six. It also detailed the cause of an accidental release of 204,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia from a pipeline in an environmentally sensitive area, and released preliminary information involving two commercial aircraft coming within 30-50 feet of each other on a runway.

In the gas explosion disaster, the towing vessel Miss Megan, which was of specifications that did not require inspection by the United States Coast Guard, was being operated in the West Cote Blanche Bay oil field in Louisiana by Central Boat Rentals on behalf of Athena Construction on October 12, 2006. The Miss Megan was pushing barge IBR 234, which was tied along the starboard side of barge Athena 106, en route to a pile-driving location. Athena Construction did not require its crews to pin mooring spuds (vertical steel shafts extending through wells in the bottom of the boat and used for mooring) securely in place on its barges and consequently this had not been done. During the journey, the aft spud on the Athena 106 released from its fully raised position. The spud dropped into the water and struck a submerged, high-pressure natural gas pipeline. The resulting gas released ignited and created a fireball that engulfed the towing vessel and both barges. The master of the towing vessel and four barge workers were killed. The Miss Megan deckhand and one barge worker survived. One barge worker is officially listed as missing.

The NTSB blames Athena Construction for the disaster, citing in the final report that Athena Construction’s manual contained no procedures mandating the use of the safety devices on the spud winch except during electrical work. It was found that if the Athena 106 crew had used the steel pins to secure the retracted spuds during their transit, a pin would have prevented the aft spud from accidentally deploying. Furthermore, the spud would have remained locked in its lifted position regardless of whether the winch brake mechanism, the spud’s supporting cable, or a piece of connecting hardware had failed.

The NTSB also found that contributing to the accident was the failure of Central Boat Rentals to require, and the Miss Megan master to ensure, that the barge spuds were securely pinned before getting under way. The Board noted that investigators found no evidence that the Miss Megan master or deckhand checked whether the spuds had been properly secured before the tow began. While Central Boat Rentals had a health and safety manual and trained its crews, the written procedures did not specifically warn masters about the need to secure spuds or other barge equipment before navigating. The NTSB stated that the company’s crew should have been trained to identify potential safety hazards on vessels under their control.

NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said of the investigation’s results, “Having more rigorous requirements in place could have prevented this accident from occurring. Not only do these regulations need to be put in place but it is imperative that they are enforced and adhered to.”

The NTSB has made a number of safety recommendations as a result of this accident and the subsequent investigation. Recommendations were made to Athena Construction and Central Boat Rentals to develop procedures and train the employees of its barges to use the securing pins to hold spuds safely in place before transiting from one site to another.

The most major of the other recommendations are:

To the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

  • Direct the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health to issue the following documents document to the maritime industry: (1) a fact sheet regarding the accident, and (2) a guidance document regarding the need to secure the gear on barges, including spud pins, before the barges are moved, and detailing any changes to your memorandum of understanding with the Coast Guard.

To the U. S. Coast Guard

  • Finalize and implement the new towing vessel inspection regulations and require the establishment of safety management systems appropriate for the characteristics, methods of operation, and nature of service of towing vessels.
  • Review and update your memorandum of understanding with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to specifically address your respective oversight roles on vessels that are not subject to Coast Guard inspection.

The NTSB also released the result of its investigation into an environmental disaster in Kansas on October 27, 2004 in which 204,000 gallons (4,858 barrels) of anhydrous ammonia was spilled from a ruptured pipeline in Kingman into an environmentally sensitive area. Chemicals from the pipeline entered a nearby stream and killed more than 25,000 fish, including some fish from threatened species.

The incident reached the scale that it did due to operator error after the initial rupture. The 8 5/8-inch diameter steel pipeline, which was operated by Enterprise Products Operating L.P., burst at 11:15 a.m. in an agricultural area about 6 miles east of Kingman, Kansas. A drop in pipeline pressure, indicating abnormal conditions or a possible compromise in pipeline integrity, set off alarms displayed on the computerized pipeline monitoring system. Shortly after the first alarm the pipeline controller, in an attempt to remedy the low pressure, increased the flow of anhydrous ammonia into the affected section of pipeline. A total of 33 minutes elapsed between the time when the first alarm indicated a problem with the pipeline and the initiation of a shutdown.

In its initial report to the National Response Center (NRC), the pipeline operator’s accident reporting contractor reported a release of at least 20 gallons of ammonia, telling the NRC that an updated estimate of material released would be reported at a later time. No such report was ever made. Because of the inaccurate report, the arrival of representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency was delayed by a full day, affecting the oversight of the environmental damage mitigation efforts.

The cause of the rupture itself was determined to be a pipe gouge created by heavy equipment damage to the pipeline during construction in 1973 or subsequent excavation activity at an unknown time that initiated metal fatigue cracking and led to the eventual rupture of the pipeline.

“We are very fortunate that such highly toxic chemicals of the size and scope involved in this accident were not released in a populated area,” commented Rosenker. “Had this same quantity of ammonia been released near a town or city, the results could have been catastrophic.”

As a result of this accident, the NTSB made the following safety recommendations:

To the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:

  • Require that a pipeline operator must have a procedure to calculate and provide a reasonable initial estimate of released product in the telephonic report to the National Response Center.
  • Require that a pipeline operator must provide an additional telephonic report to the National Response Center if significant new information becomes available during the emergency response.
  • Require an operator to revise its pipeline risk assessment plan whenever it has failed to consider one of more risk factors that can affect pipeline integrity.

To Enterprise Products Operating L.P.:

  • Provide initial and recurrent training for all controllers that includes simulator or noncomputerized simulations of abnormal operating conditions that indicate pipeline leaks.

“The severity of this release of dangerous chemicals into the community could have been prevented,” said Rosenker. “The safety recommendations that we have made, if acted upon, will reduce the likelihood of this type of accident happening again.”

As well as concluding their investigation of the above accidents, the NTSB also released preliminary information regarding a serious runway incursion at San Francisco International Airport between two commercial aircraft on May 26, 2007.

At about 1:30 p.m. the tower air traffic controller cleared SkyWest Airlines flight 5741, an Embraer 120 arriving from Modesto, California, to land on runway 28R. Forgetting about the arrival airplane, the same controller then cleared Republic Airlines flight 4912, an Embraer 170 departing for Los Angeles, to take off from runway 1L, which intersects runway 28R.

After the SkyWest airliner touched down, the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) alerted and the air traffic controller transmitted “Hold, Hold, Hold” to the SkyWest flight crew in an attempt to stop the aircraft short of runway 1L. The SkyWest crew applied maximum braking that resulted in the airplane stopping in the middle of runway 1L. As this was occurring, the captain of Republic Airlines flight 4912 took control of the aircraft from the first officer, realized the aircraft was traveling too fast to stop, and initiated an immediate takeoff. According to the crew of SkyWest 5741, the Republic Airlines aircraft overflew theirs by 30 to 50 feet. The Federal Aviation Administration has categorized the incident as an operational error.

The NTSB sent an investigator to San Francisco, who collected radar data, recorded air traffic control communications, and flight crew statements, and interviewed air traffic control personnel prior to the NTSB making the preliminary release.

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