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Issues seen from over the pond

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Letters

A kind British friend just sent me the superb 20 November issue. Congratulations! It contains everything - news of colleagues and favourite buildings, useful technical information, and glorious photographs of the amazing Midland Grand Hotel.

Here are some comments from 'the colonies':

Disability Dicrimination Act: The grass always looks greener on the other side. The dda has created unbelievable problems because it is not a law with specific rules, but a nebulous creation that is interpreted differently by each entity. There are no detailed advisory codes and, while the idea is excellent, it has been a bonanza for litigation lawyers. Coupled with the failure to communicate with the various groups representing all forms of disability, and the lack of education in how to deal with pre-1940 structures, some dreadful treatments are given to helpless buildings.

Location of buildings - the South Bank: Prior to the Second World War, smart developers sited their construction to its best advantage vis-a- vis nature, not just where the cheapest plot could be found. In these times, where energy conservation is becoming more and more important, perhaps that wise procedure should be followed again. Which brings us to:

Retrofitting to save energy: It is amazing that, in the country where the best glass fibre-optics systems for functional architectural lighting are made, little attention is paid to employing this revolutionary technology to its fullest. It is not just for discos and aquariums. It is also for task/display/architectural contours. The statement, 'With little control of artificial lighting, there is limited chance of energy savings,' is simply not true. Using the new metal halide lamps made specifically for glass fibre optics, such illumination consumes 60 per cent less electricity than low-voltage lighting. As with early television, the more widespread the use of the equipment, the lower the cost.

I'm looking forward to receiving another 'bundle from Britain' in the form of your excellent magazine.

GERSIL N KAY

Building Conservation International, Philadelphia, usa

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