Questions answered from Feb. 26 Housing town hall at Patch Chapel

A community member expresses his concerns at the Housing town hall, Feb. 26. Photos by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Public Affairs
USAG Stuttgart

The following answers are from questions taken at the Feb. 26 Housing Town Hall. The purpose of the town hall was to ask residents of garrison housing and barracks about the quality of their accommodations, their level of satisfaction with them, and what the garrison could do to improve services.

The town hall was live-streamed on AFN Stuttgart’s Facebook page. Questions asked online were answered during the event until it ended; the ones not answered during the town hall were responded to directly to participants who left contact information or posted the question as a Facebook personal message.

DFMWR

Q#1:  When will there be Wi-Fi at Robinson Barracks?

A: Our IT department is currently obtaining cost estimates for installing Wi-Fi at the RB Fitness Center.  The estimates will then be reviewed to determine if the costs can be absorbed by our current budget or if additional funding must be requested to support the Wi-Fi request.

Q#2:  Who owns the basketball gym at Robinson Barracks?

A:  DODEA owns the gym.  It is part of the RB elementary school, and serves the school.  Not the family housing population.

Maj. Gen. John Gronski, senior responsible officer for USAG Stuttgart, and garrison commander Col. Neal Corson, listen to a housing resident during the Feb. 26 town hall in Patch Chapel.

DES – FIRE DEPARTMENT – DPW

Q#3a:  Why is there no secondary exit for apartments on the 2nd floor and above?
How are people supposed to get out in fire?  Can’t there be at least a portable escape put in?

Q#3b:  I understand fire suppression but we should still have two exits. There need to be better fire safety measures on RB. It can take 45 minutes for a response.

A (Q#3a/b):  The on-base housing designs were developed based on US design requirements and German construction standards that were valid at that time the current USAG Stuttgart housing buildings were constructed as indicated in the IMCOM Europe Army Family Housing (AFH) Standard Design Guide.

Additionally, construction methods differ between the US and Germany which also influences the fire code requirements.  In the US, where houses are built of wood, fire protection is generally handled via by suppression (usually sprinklers).  In Germany, where houses are built of concrete, fires are handled by containment.  Fire rated doors (when closed) are used to prevent the fire from spreading between different compartments within a facility or dwelling.

Lastly, both German and US fire codes allow for a window to be used a secondary means of escape from a building when the window is directly accessible to fire department rescue apparatus as approved by the authority having jurisdiction.  Both the USAG Stuttgart and surrounding host nation fire departments have aerial ladder apparatus that are capable of reaching windows in on-base housing as a secondary means of escape.

Q#3c:  Address fire safety issues. Only one exit, no ladder, fire suppression and alarms not tested

A: In the U.S., where houses are built of wood, it is handled by suppression – immediate fire response.  In Germany, where houses are built of concrete, fires are handled by containment.  Doors are rated so it would take 30+ minutes to burn thru.  German response times are approximately 12 minutes, and the “secondary exits” are provided by ladder trucks from the fire department.

The apartment doors in Army Family Housing are fire rated smoke tight T-30 door assemblies (with label according to DIN 4102).  The purpose is to provide at least a 60-minute fire separation between the common stairwell space, and other adjacent enclosed spaces where a fire would likely occur (basements and housing units). (AFH Europe Standard Design Guide Vol. 1 – 2017)

Q#4a:  Fire extinguishers.  Why are there are no fire extinguishers?

Q#4b:  After realizing my stairwell didn’t have fire extinguishers and nearly two months of emailing and an ICE comment, we got them! I am still hearing other stairwells do not have them. Something should be done to ensure all stairwells have them.

A (Q#4a/b):  DPW will survey housing thru building coordinators to determine which stairwells are missing fire extinguishers and address the shortfall.

Information from USAG Stuttgart Fire Department: Fire extinguishers in housing are not required when facility is sprinklered. For buildings that are not sprinklered it is recommended that each stairwell be equipped with one extinguisher.

Regarding checks, the first in line is the building coordinator. DES-Fire offers building coordinator/fire warden training monthly, including what to look for when inspecting fire extinguishers. DES-Fire is no longer responsible for technical check/maintenance/recharging of fire extinguishers. Contact DPW IC’s or the service order desk (M-F 0730-1600) at DSN: 421-6200 or civ. 0711-7228-6200 to report missing or old extinguishers.

See below different codes and regulations for reference:

UFC 3-600-01, 8 August 2016 Change 2, 25 March 2018

Col. Neal Corson, commander, USAG Stuttgart, answers questions posed during the Feb. 26 town hall.

9-17 PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS.

9-17.1 General.

General purpose portable fire extinguishers are not required when the Facility is provided with complete automatic sprinkler protection and a fire alarm system in accordance with this UFC.

NFPA 101, 2018 Edition

Ch.30 New Apartment / Ch. 31 Existing Apartment

30.3.5.13 Portable fire extinguishers in accordance with Section 9.9 shall be provided in hazardous areas addressed by 30.3.2.1, unless the building is protected throughout with an approved, supervised automatic sprinkler system in accordance with 30.3.5.2. / 31.3.5.2.

IMCOME_AFHSDG_Vol-1_23AUG17

1.10.5 COMPARISON CHART

General purpose fire extinguishers are not required when the Facility is provided with complete automatic sprinkler protection and a fire alarm system in accordance with UFC 3-600-01 Section 9-17.

Q#5:  What is the expected response time for the fire department to respond on each installation? We pull the fire alarm and wait.

A:  The average response times for USAG Stuttgart installations based upon historical data are listed below.  Of note, fire alarms in housing do NOT automatically report to the fire control dispatcher – the alarms are merely notify building occupants of a possible fire emergency in the building.  Once evacuated from a building where a fire alarm has been activated, building residents/occupants must call 112 to notify the fire department in order to generate a response – failure to call 112 will delay the fire department’s response.

Panzer Kaserne: 19 minutes; Patch Barracks: 16 minutes; Kelley Barracks: 10 minutes; Robinson Barracks: 11 minutes; Stuttgart Army Airfield: 5 minutes

Read more about emergency response in USAG Stuttgart.

DES/Law Enforcement/Civilian Misconduct – HOUSING – DPW

Q#6a:  Dog policy- there are aggressive dogs on post, what actions have been taken? I have witnessed multiple incidents. Also people do not pick up after their dogs.

A (Q#6a/d):  Aggressive dogs on post are not a crime, nor is failing to pick up animal feces – these are quality of life concerns and/or violations of the installation housing policy.  DES forwards reports of these quality of life concerns and/or violations to the DPW Housing Office for action as well as submits a monthly report via email to the Garrison leadership for situational awareness and additional action as needed.  Further question regarding action should be directed to the USAG Stuttgart, Chief, Housing Division at DSN: 431-2218 or civ: 07031-15-2218.

Residents can consider using the “Report to MP” button on the USAG Stuttgart app to submit these reports to the Military Police – submissions using this button on the app can be submitted anonymously and can include pictures of the suspected violation/offense.

A resident describes an issue affecting her housing unit as Staff Sgt. Griffith, AFN Stuttgart, live-streams her comments on Facebook. By live-streaming the town hall, residents unable to attend in person were able to participate and ask questions online.

Also reference the Housing Handbook for information.

Q#6b:  I have called the MP’s multiple times about dogs being left and howling at night. Nothing seems to happen. Why can this neighbor not be held accountable.

Q#6c:  There is no oversight in our building so when neighbors blare music or leave dogs barking all night what is the recourse? There doesn’t seem to be any consequences when reporting to MP’s.

A (Q#6b/c): Howling dogs at night, loud music, and other offensive noise are violations of USAG Stuttgart Command Policy Letter #41 (Quiet Hours Policy).  When reported to the Military Police, the responding MP patrol will attempt to identify the offending resident and remind the occupants (if available) of the Quiet Hours Policy.  These reports are then reported to DPW Housing for action and included in a monthly email report to the Garrison leadership for situational awareness and additional action as needed.  Further question regarding action should be directed to the USAG Stuttgart, Chief, Housing Division at DSN: 431-2218 or civilian: 07031-15-2218.

Residents can also consider using the “Report to MP” button on the USAG Stuttgart app to submit these reports to the Military Police – submissions using this button on the app can be submitted anonymously and can include pictures of the suspected violation/offense.

Q#6d:  Dog waste throughout Patch Barracks: more specifically Kansas Loop. Daily occurrence of neglectful dog owners who don’t clean up after them. Can smell the waste from home and parking lot.

A:  Report to the MP desk – MP will document and forward to Housing to address/remedy housing policy violation (monthly report sent to command group). Consider using “Report to me” button on USAG Stuttgart app.  Additionally, IAW the Resident Handbook, Residents of Army Family housing (AFH) are responsible for maintaining and controlling their pets.  The privilege to have an animal is granted to residents based on their ability to meet responsibilities.  This privilege may be withdrawn if either of the following is true:

  1. The pet is a threat to the health or safety of personnel or becomes a nuisance.
  2. The pet owner fails to meet his or her responsibilities.

Dogs and cats must not be allowed to relieve themselves on balconies, playgrounds, or within 50 feet of Family housing buildings.  Pet owners will clean up excrement from their pets.  Building Coordinators may designate pet-walk areas that building residents who are pet owners will be responsible for maintaining.

Also reference the Housing Handbook for information.

DPW – Work Orders

Q#7:  We have called the emergency work order line twice and both times, we have been told to call back later. Once we had a pipe burst and it was running down the walls. They told us to turn off the water-we had to convince them to come!

A:  Emergency work orders after hours (1600hrs M-F) are reported by the Fire Department and forwarded to DPW for action. If a work is determined to not be an emergency, their SOP asks the resident to call the work in for the next work day. Garrison has reviewed standards for emergency work, and will ensure work receptionists are informed of the changes.

Q#8:  How does the priority for work orders get determined? Why are we asked for our rank?

A:  Work receptionist determines the priority based on contract standard procedural questions. Rank was included on the web submission form to allow the contractor to properly address the requester. This will be change to standard civilian titles (Mr. Ms. Mrs.). Rank has now been removed from the form.

DPW – Army Family Housing

Q#9a:   I ordered fans in July 2018 but they have still not been installed.

Q#9b:  We submitted a request last June 2018 and we still don’t have any. They went to our house twice to check on how many fans we need, then never heard from them.

A (Q#9a/b):  We are under a new contract since 1 Oct 2018.  Unfortunately, submission of a new work cannot be approved on a Demand Maintenance Order. AR 420-1 requires new work to be approved as an individual project in order to use AFH sustainment funding. If the project cost goes above $3K, AFH funding requires IMCOM HQ FH support.

Q#9b Follow Up: A fan install/replacement can’t be over 3k – does this mean individual residents cannot have fans installed or replaced if they need one?

A: No, this does not mean that ceiling fans cannot be installed.  On an average, installation of ceiling fans per apartment is between 2,100 – 2650 Euros depending on the number of bedrooms. Another factor that plays into cost is whether the apartment has existing connections; meaning all prep work is complete, and only requires installation.  In such cases, submission of a Demand Maintenance Order may be accepted and approved for the installation of ceiling fans in all bedrooms, living/dining room as applicable.  However, if prep work has not been completed the cost may exceed $3K therefore requiring submission as an individual project as stated above.

Q#10a:  Can we get deadbolt/locking-chain on the main doors? If my toddlers pull on the handle it auto-unlocks the door from the outside and stays that way until you put the key in turn. This is also unsafe because if my child wakes up before me they can walk right out of the front door.

Q#10b:  No deadbolts on doors. DPW can open our locked doors with a screwdriver and credit card.

Q#10c:  The doorknobs and locks are also not secure.

A (Q#10a/b/c):  The installation of a deadbolt lock on an Army Family Housing apartment door is unfortunately not possible.  The apartment doors in Army Family Housing are fire rated smoke tight T-30 door assemblies (with label according to DIN 4102).  The purpose is to provide at least a 60-minute fire separation between the common stairwell space, and other adjacent enclosed spaces where a fire would likely occur (basements and housing units). (AFH Europe Standard Design Guide Vol. 1 – 2017)

In order to receive this fire separation rating the manufacturer submits to complete door assembly (door, frame and hardware) to an authorized testing agency to receive certification that the door will withstand a fire for 60 minutes. When the fire rate doors are modified, its certification is invalid and the manufacture no longer stand behind his product. All hardware for these doors must be cross-listed and tested with that specific door.  Modification of the door cannot be performed without the manufacturer’s authorization and testing. This is a very expensive process.

Q#11a:  Enforcement on fire hazards by storing things in stairwells.

Q#11b:  Storing items in stairwells is a safety issue every day!

A (Q#11a/b):  During the next building coordinator/area coordinators meeting, the above-mentioned issues will be discussed.  The meeting will scheduled in March 2019.

Q#12:  Our building has yet to have balconies installed. Everyone else has them.

A:  All buildings do not currently have balconies, however, USAG Stuttgart has a vigorous balcony installation program and as funding becomes available, all buildings without balconies will be addressed.

Q#13:  Replacement appliances, stove and refrigerator are over 10 years old. When should appliances be replaced?

A:  Unless a household appliance malfunctions during occupancy and repairs are unsuccessful, replacement will not occur until the appliance reaches the IMCOM-E directed life cycle time span of 10 years.  During the pre/termination, inspection appliances are checked to determine whether the appliance requires replacement during Change of Occupancy Maintenance.

Q#14:  Why/how are building managers assigned? They do nothing! We never get communication from anyone in the building.

A:  Building coordinators are selected based on the senior occupant of the building.

Q#15a:  Dryer Lint.  We almost had a house fire because of excess lint in the dryer hose, even though we have just moved in 5 month ago (this happened within the first 2 months). This is normal home maintenance that should have occurred after a member moves out before someone new moves in, NOT after a fire occurs.

Q#15b: Dryer vents not cleaned regularly.

A (Q#15a/b):  It’s important to note that dryer lint cleaning is required to be performed annually as part of the DPW preventive maintenance program as well as during change of occupancy maintenance (COOM) after an occupant moves out.  Additional lint cleaning of loaned machines is the resident’s responsibility. DPW will pull all records of preventive maintenance performed since 1 Oct 2018, to identify any deficiencies.  The contractor will be instructed to take immediate action on any deficiencies found.

Q#8:  In housing there are hard ledges that stick out under all the windows, my kids can seriously hurt themselves running into them, yet there are no safety measures offered to cover theses ledges. Can you please find a solution for these serious safety hazards waiting to happen?

A:  The Housing Division in coordination with the Garrison Safety Office will conduct an assessment of the window ledges to provide appropriate safety tips/measures.

DPW – Environmental Division

Q#16a:  How often is the water quality check? Since arriving here in Sept 2018, my husband and I both have started getting migraines that can last up to two days. Neither of us have ever had issues with anything more than a headache before coming here. I’m also 6 months pregnant and worried about the safety for my unborn child.

Q#16b:  Can you comment on status of legionaries in water? I was tested twice, and then the water got really hot for a while but no closure or follow up.

A (Q#16a/b):  Water quality is tested monthly by MEDCOM. MEDCOM also does environmental protection assessment (EPA) annual testing. German Water suppliers provide comprehensive annual testing and water quality testing certification. Legionella testing done last year has a few samples that show detection. Retesting cleared all those samples. Annual testing is ongoing and should be complete by mid-March.

DPW – Roads & Grounds

Q#17:  Ice on sidewalks.  The sidewalks need to be treated from the top of the 300’s. It gets slippery and the kids have to walk to the school because there is no bus.

A:  Will adjust the current Roads and Ground contract to ensure these sidewalks receive snow and ice control.

DPW – General

Q#18:  There is no stroller or wheelchair access to some Panzer buildings. (Housing 3103)

A:  Building 3103 is a ready barracks for rotational MPs.

Q#19a:  Playgrounds.  Panzer playground hazard.  What is the status on the monkey bars that were removed on the playground behind building 3109 on Panzer? It is only blocked by cones and tape. The metal rods sticking out and holes are hazards. It has been weeks, we haven’t been updated.

A:  Area is to be secured the first week of March.

Q#19b.  Is it possible to get a few lights outside of housing playgrounds? I don’t get out of work until 6 PM, sometimes, and after not seeing my kids all day, I want to take them out to play, but it’s already dark or almost there. For safety, can we get fences for the housing playgrounds that face main roads?

A: FH office will initiate a project order to develop initial scope and cost. Project will be requested at FY mid-year review.

Q#19c:  RB recreation/playground areas.  The basketball nets missing are missing and the Key Park is closed. When will these things be fixed?

A:  Two main playgrounds were closed based on an inspection from the Garrison Safety office. DPW has secured funds to replace the playgrounds. Contractor proposals are being evaluated for the equipment replacement.

Q#20:  Parking.  Parking for areas like Kansas loop. There are six visitor parking spots and only 1 designated spot per household.

A:  DPW will look to change visitor parking to a 2nd resident parking spot. Generally reserved parking reduces the overall availability of installation parking. Resident’s assigned two parking spots with one vehicle will reduce the overall area parking.

Q#21:  Cracks appearing in wells. I called about a foundation issue on first floor. They came and painted over the cracks!

A:  Most of our buildings are made of concrete and cement.  Painting over the cracks is normal practice as long as there is no structural damage to the building.

Q#22:  RB Road: Really, need a road from the front gate to the housing in the 300’s on RB. What is the status?

A:  The garrison has funded a road design to connect FH from the building 300 area to the traffic circle. Pre concept design was received in Jan 19. Estimated cost is over $2M and will require a minor military construction project.