Thomas Pienciak, AIA Architecture, Construction & Premises Safety Expert

Thomas Pienciak, Architecture, Construction & Premises Safety Expert

Tom is a Licensed Architect with over 40 years of experience in building design, document preparation, code compliance, and construction administration procedures.

He has a diversified background that includes all of the basic premises accident experience, but also includes some unique specialty areas.

Tom is a certified user of the English XL slip tester. He is also well versed in power-operated automatic pedestrian doors, issues for special users (including Barrier-Free standards and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines), as well as playground accidents.

Tom is a Registered Architect in New York and New Jersey and has six different licenses or certifications. He's a member of the American Institute of Architects and has undertaken a large volume of additional training, including from the National Playground Safety Institute.

His practice is evenly divided between work for plaintiff and defense representatives.

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc

Associate

2001 to present

Provide technical investigations, analysis, reports, and testimony for failure analysis, and towards the resolution of commercial and personal injury litigation involving slip, trip, and fall injuries; construction materials failures; code compliance issues; construction claims; and professional liability. Services include:

Slip Accidents: Measurement of coefficient of friction of wet and dry surfaces; slip accidents occurring on stairs, ramps, parking lots, sidewalks, dance floors, supermarkets; sidewalk slips on ice; analysis of site and building drainage issues contributing to the formation of ice as related to slip accidents.

Trip Accidents: Measurement and analysis of stair geometry and construction; single steps; misalignments of walking surfaces; gratings; sidewalks – obstructions and maintenance; unmarked sloped areas.

Human Factors: Body movements and forces imparted during walking, use of stairs, slipping, tripping, and falling.

Playground Accidents: Fall zone ground surface materials; playground equipment use area clearances; playground equipment protrusions, pinch points, clothing entanglement, head entrapment; playground equipment impact injuries; appropriateness for age groups; composite playground equipment.

Issues for Special Users: Barrier-Free standards, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, access for persons with disabilities, special requirements for the elderly and children of various age groups.

Building Safety: Codes, standards; lighting levels and uniformity; unprotected openings in floors and walls; guard rails; glass and glazing.

Power Doors: Power operated automatic pedestrian doors; revolving, swinging and sliding doors; design, layout, maintenance; sensors and safety features.

Security: Site planning and design; site and building exterior lighting; facility planning; door hardware.

Conspicuousness of Hazards: Placement, effectiveness, and illumination of warnings; signage; color and contrast of adjacent materials.

Building Failures: Foundation cracking, settling, or failures due to soil conditions, grading, and water intrusion; roof and wall collapses; construction means and methods.

Construction Materials Failures: Water intrusion related issues; brick, stone, and concrete spalling; gutter and flashing system failures; roofing system failures; expansion joint failures; sealant and caulk system failures, window system failures.

Building Design and Planning: Building codes and standards; means of egress; security; retrofitting requirements, access for persons with disabilities.

Site design and Planning: Site planning; zoning; grading and drainage; control of storm water; parking lots; access for persons with disabilities.

Nadaskay Kopelson Architects

Project Manager

2000 to 2001

Primary focus on construction contract administration, building code reviews, and feasibility studies. Managed construction detailing and document coordination on commercial and multi-family construction projects.

Insurance Services Office, Inc.

Project Manager, Natural Hazards Mitigation

1994 to 2000

Assisted in the development, implementation, and management of an insurance industry program which evaluates the quality of building departments countrywide and ties the evaluation into available property insurance discounts. Responsibilities included public speaking, training employees, and generation of technical manuals and documents to aid employee job performance. Involved with code compliance and structural integrity issues related to natural hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.

Nadaskay Kopelson Architects

Project Architect / Project Manager

1984 to 1994

Managed projects on a day-to-day basis, overseeing drafters and CAD operators, coordinating consultants, client meetings, construction administration, shop drawing review, construction detailing, acting in-house code specialist.

Alan Ballou-AIA-Architect

Draftsman

1981 to 1984

Responsibilities included drafting, design development, detailing, model building, shop drawing checking, measuring and drawing existing buildings, code research.

Ballou, Levy, Fellgraff Architects

Draftsman

1980 to 1981

Responsibilities included drafting, model making, measuring and drawing existing buildings.

Professional Credentials

  • Registered Architect – New Jersey, New York
  • Licensed HHS Building Inspector – New Jersey
  • Licensed Inspector of Hotels and Multiple Dwellings – New Jersey
  • Certified Playground Safety Inspector, National Playground Safety Institute
  • Certified Operator of the English XL Variable Incidence Tribometer (2002-2018)
  • Certified Inspector of Power-Operated Automatic Pedestrian Doors – American
    • Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (2004-2007)

Professional Memberships

  • American Institute of Architects
  • New Jersey Society of Architects

Education

Bachelor of Architecture, New Jersey Institute of Technology, School of Architecture, Newark, NJ, 1981

Representative Continuing Education

  • “Interior Fire-Rated Walls in Multi-Family, Light-Frame Wood Construction”, WoodWorks Wood Products Council, January 2024
  • “Floors to Exterior Walls and Other Detailing Challenges in Mid-Rise Wood Buildings”, WoodWorks Wood Products Council, January 2024
  • “Fall Protection for Authorized Persons”, Med-Tex Services, Inc., September 2023
  • “Barrier Free 2022”, Rutgers/NJDCA, January 2023
  • “Firestop Special Inspection – What You can’t Afford to Miss”, Rutgers/NJDCA, January 2023
  • “Common Firestop Issues”, Rutgers/NJDCA, November 2022
  • “Little Island: Designing and Engineering a Unique Public Space”, AIA Newark Suburban Architects, March 2022
  • “Crushing the Code NYS: Residential”, Urban Green Council, USGBC New York, March 2022
  • “Lab Live: Concrete – Applied Science in Action to Identify Field Performance Issues”, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, March 2022
  • “Six Lessons Learned on Detailing for Durability from Six Iconic Houses”, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, February 2022
  • “Designing Rough Openings for Proper Drainage and Drying”, VaproShield, February 2022
  • "Magnesium Oxide Floor and Wall Panels for Multifamily Buildings”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "SBS Modified Bitumen Roofing”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "Designing Efficient Multifamily Housing”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "Sealing the Envelope”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "Zero Energy Houses”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "Continuous Perimeter Foundation Vents”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "Concrete Waterproofing with Crystalline Technology”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "Expansion and Environmental Control Within the Exterior Envelope”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "Reaching the Roof: Specifying Fixed Access Aluminum Ladders for Safety and Efficiency”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "Integrated Water-Intrusion Management Solutions for Multifamily Properties”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "Advanced Threats Met with Advanced Technology”, BNP Media, November 2021
  • "Playground Safety Inspectors Certification Course”, National Recreation and Park Association, November 2021
  • "How to Avoid the Four Most Common Mistakes in Leak Detection", BNP Media, February 2021
  • "New Common Firestop Issues", Rutgers/NJDCA, January 2021
  • "Window Code Fundamentals", Andersen Windows and Doors, January 2021
  • "Metal Plate Connected Wood Truss Construction", Rutgers/NJDCA, October 2020
  • "Introduction to Fire Sprinkler Systems", Rutgers/NJDCA, October 2020
  • "The Hotel/Multiple Dwelling Code and Uniform Fire Code Retrofit Provisions”, Rutgers/NJDCA, December 2019
  • "The COTE Top Ten Tool Kit”, AIA New Jersey, September 2019
  • "Thinking Inside the Box: Modular Construction Demystified”, Woodworks Wood Products Council, Mid-Atlantic Wood Design Symposium, September 2019
  • "Shaft Wall Solutions for Wood-Frame Structures”, Woodworks Wood Products Council, Mid-Atlantic Wood Design Symposium, September 2019
  • "Enclosure Design for Mass Timber Buildings”, Woodworks Wood Products Council, Mid-Atlantic Wood Design Symposium, September 2019
  • "Using Timber for the Complex and Conventional”, Woodworks Wood Products Council, Mid-Atlantic Wood Design Symposium, September 2019
  • "Progressive Wood Construction: The Evolution from Low-Rise to Tall Wood”, Woodworks Wood Products Council, Mid-Atlantic Wood Design Symposium, September 2019
  • "Why Timber is Changing the Way We Design and Build”, Woodworks Wood Products Council, Mid-Atlantic Wood Design Symposium, September 2019
  • "Roofing & Waterproofing Forensics: On-Site Analysis & Material Testing”, BNP Media, February 2019
  • "Below-Grade Waterproofing Systems and Design”, BNP Media, November 2018
  • "Integrated Approaches to Control Moisture in Buildings”, BNP Media, November 2018
  • "Mitigating Water Leaks around Windows in Wood Framed Walls”, BNP Media, November 2018
  • "Detailing Continuity in Building Enclosure Systems”, BNP Media, November 2018
  • "A New Era of Exterior Sealants”, BNP Media, November 2018
  • "Vapor Control: Considerations for Designers and Specifiers”, BNP Media, November 2018
  • "Composite Wood Products in Cladding and Architectural Trim”, BNP Media, November 2018
  • "Less is More with Lightweight Honeycomb Reinforced Stone and Porcelain Panels”, BNP Media, November 2018
  • "Building and Roofing Science Seminar”, GAF Corporation, November 2018
  • "How Do Building Codes Impact Security Entrance Design?” Boon Edam Code and Security Symposium, Boon Edam, Inc., March 2018
  • "How Does Access and Identity Tie to Compliance and Liability?” Boon Edam Code and Security Symposium, Boon Edam, Inc., March 2018
  • "Firestopping and Draftstopping”, Rutgers/NJDCA, November 2017
  • "Fireproofing Inspection”, Rutgers/NJDCA, November 2017
  • "Playground Safety Inspectors Certification Course”, National Recreation and Park Association, April 2017
  • "Introduction to Fire Sprinkler Systems”, Rutgers/NJDCA, April 2017
  • "Uniform Fire Code Subchapter 3 – What You Need to Know”, Rutgers/NJDCA, April 2017
  • "ASTM Workshop on the Multifactorial Analysis of Slip and Fall Events: Implications for Forensic and Safety Professionals”, January 2017
  • "2015 IBC Transition from 2009 IBC”, NJDCA/Rutgers/ICC, November 2016
  • "2015 IRC Transition from 2009 IRC”, NJDCA/Rutgers/ICC, October 2016
  • "Architectural Millwork: Molded vs Fabricated”, BNP Media/Architectural Record, August 2016
  • "Breaking Old Rules for Air-Barrier Installation”, BNP Media/Architectural Record, August 2016
  • "Residential Retrofits Achieve Net-Zero Energy”, BNP Media/Architectural Record, August 2016
  • "Designing Adhered Masonry Veneer”, BNP Media/Architectural Record, August 2016
  • "No Rain in the Plane: Detailing Manufactured Stone”, BNP Media/Architectural Record, August 2016
  • "Code Compliant Exterior Systems for Wood-Framed Building Envelopes”, BNP Media/Architectural Record, August 2016
  • "The Evolution of North American Playgrounds from 1900 to the Present”, BNP Media/Architectural Record, August 2016
  • "The Leading Edge on Safety is Engineered from the Ground Up”, BNP Media/Architectural Record, August 2016
  • "The Ins and Outs of Revolving Doors,” BNP Media/Boon Edam, January 2016
  • "Effective Concrete Waterproofing Technologies,” Hanley Wood University, January 2016
  • "Building Retrofits: Getting the Whole Picture on Window Replacement,” Hanley Wood University, January 2016
  • "Flood Proofing Non-Residential Buildings,” Hanley Wood University, January 2016
  • "Understanding Specifications for Clad Wood and Fiberglass Windows,” Hanley Wood University, October 2015
  • "Fiberglass Manufacturing and Window Performance Testing,” Hanley Wood University, October 2015
  • "PVC 101 – The Benefits and Uses of Cellular PVC Trim,” Hanley Wood University, September 2015
  • "Rethinking Wood as a Material of Choice – Costs Less, Delivers More,” Hanley Wood University, September 2015
  • "Moisture Mitigation with Rainscreen Technologies,” Hanley Wood University, September 2015
  • "High Performance Industrial Coatings for Industrial and Decorative Floors,” Hanley Wood University, September 2015
  • "Security Features in Revolving Doors – Moving Beyond Egress and Energy Efficiency,” Hanley Wood University, August 2015
  • "The Hotel/Multiple Dwelling Code and Uniform Fire Code Retrofit Provisions,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, June 2015
  • "General Relationships of the Enforcing Regulations,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, June 2015
  • "CXLT Certification Program,” Excel Tribometers, LLC, May 2015
  • "Overview of the New Jersey Rehabilitation Subcode,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, October 2014
  • "Certification Course for Playground Safety Inspectors,” National Playground Safety Institute, May 2014
  • "Construction Disasters and Failures,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, April 2014
  • "2012 International Building Code Mixed Occupancies,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, March 2014
  • "Post Disaster Reconstruction,” American Institute of Architects, Newark and Suburban Chapter, February 2014
  • "The Hotel/Multiple Dwelling Code and Uniform Fire Code Retrofit Provisions,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, May 2013
  • "Indoor Environmental Quality and Construction,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, March 2013
  • "Firefighters Emergency Operations - Elevator Safety Code Update,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, December 2012
  • "Passive Fire Protection for Code Enforcement Personnel,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, December 2012
  • "The Role of the Architect in Disaster Preparedness and Assistance,” (CalEMA Safety Assessment Program) NJ Society of Architects, December 2012
  • "Ensuring Pedestrian Safety in Work Zones,” American Traffic Safety Services Association, September, 2012
  • "Ensuring Compliance with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and Applicable Building Codes,” Institute for Design Professionals, November 2011
  • "Certification Course for Playground Safety Inspectors,” National Playground Safety Institute, October 2011
  • "CXLT Certification Program,” Excel Tribometers, LLC, June, 2011
  • "Workshop on Conducting Periodic Façade Inspections: A Discussion of the ‘How-To’,” ASTM International, April, 2011
  • "Residential Fire Suppression Systems,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, April, 2011
  • "Lead-Based Paint Safety for NJ DCA Bureau of Housing Inspectors,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, March, 2011
  • "The New Jersey Energy Conservation Subcode for Building Inspectors,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, October, 2010
  • "The Art and Science of Designing to Net Zero,” AIA Continuing Education, September, 2010
  • "Using LEED to Maximize Sustainability,” AIA Continuing Education, September, 2010
  • "Building with Balance,” AIA Continuing Education, September, 2010
  • "Green Building Envelope Design,” AIA Continuing Education, September, 2010
  • "Masonry for Building Inspectors,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, June 2010
  • "IRC / IBC Stucco Installation Requirements and Code Changes,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, April 2010
  • "Designing with BIM,” AIA Newark and Suburban, March 2010
  • "The Housing Inspection Process,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, March 2010
  • "2009 International Building Code Update,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, November 2009
  • "Tackling Construction Law Issues,” New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, July 2009
  • "Daubert Motions: Challenging Expert Opinions,” Lorman Education Services, March 2009
  • "Structural Problems and Concerns,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, November 2008
  • "Building Codes in New Jersey,” Lorman Education Services, November 2008
  • "Concepts and Construction Code Requirements for Means of Egress,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, September 2008
  • "English XL VIT Certification Program,” William English, Inc., June 2008
  • "Certification Course for Playground Safety Inspectors,” National Playground Safety Institute, May 2008
  • "Health and Safety Standards, Vacant Buildings, Hotel & Motel Areas,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, April 2008
  • "The 2006 International Building Code Update,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, December 2007
  • "The Vinyl Siding Institute Installer and Building Code Official Training Program,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, October 2007
  • "Fire Safety Retrofit Code,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, March 2007
  • "Managing Complex Construction Law Issues,” National Business Institute, January 2007
  • "Building Diagnostics: Moisture Problems and Mold Growth,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, March 2006
  • "The Role of Windows and Doors in Residential Construction,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, March 2006
  • "Overview of the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law and Regulations,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, March 2005
  • "Certification Course for Playground Safety Inspectors,” National Playground Safety Institute, October 2004
  • "Masonry Cavity Wall Detailing,” Architect’s Trade Show, May 2004
  • "AAADM Inspector Certification Program,” American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers, May 2004
  • "Engineered Lumber in Residential Construction,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, March 2004
  • "Commercial Roofing 2003 – System Options, Problems, Advancements,” GAF Materials Corporation, October 2003
  • "Framing Inspections Using a Checklist,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, October 2003
  • "Establishing Effective Contract Documents and the Pitfalls to Avoid,” AIA Newark and Suburban Architects, September 2003
  • "Exterior Walls in Construction – Stucco Systems,” Extech, July 2003
  • "Proper Inspection of Firestop Systems,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, June 2003
  • "Broken/Problem Buildings,” AIA Newark and Suburban Architects/NJCSI; March 2003
  • "AMTRAK Contractor/Lessee/Agency Employee Safety Course for Contractors Working on or about the Right-of-way,” Secaucus, NJ; November 2002
  • "Advanced Barrier-free Subcode,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; November 2002
  • "Mold Litigation, Strategy and Investigation,” Lorman Education Services; July 2002
  • "English XL VIT Certification Program,” International Safety Academy; June 2002
  • "Stucco and E.I.F.S. Wall Systems,” Architects Trade Show; April 2002
  • "Air, Water and Moisture Management in Commercial Building Envelopes,” Architects Trade Show; April 2002
  • "Introduction to the International Building Code,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; October 2001
  • "Uniform Construction Code Law,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; October 2001
  • "Playground Safety Inspector Certification Course and Exam,” National Playground Safety Institute; October 2001
  • "Fire Walls, Separations, and Partitions,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; May 2001
  • "The Wood Truss Industry – an Overview,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; April 2001
  • "Acoustics and Noise Reduction,” Armstrong Industries; February 2001
  • "1996 BOCA Code Update with NJ Changes,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; November 2000
  • "Residential Roofing Systems Overview,” GAF Materials Corporation; November 2000
  • "Sprinkler Protection Tradeoffs,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; May 2000
  • "Dynamic Daylighting Made Easy With Composite Fenestration Systems,” Kalwall Corporation; May 2000
  • "Barrier Free Subcode,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; April 2000
  • "Understanding Fire Rated Glazing,” Technical Glass Products; April 2000
  • "The Future of Construction Contract Documents,” New Jersey Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute with Newark and Suburban Architects Chapter of American Institute of Architects; March 2000
  • "Innovative Seismic Strengthening,” Institute for Business and Home Safety, Annual Congress; October 1999
  • "Tornadoes 101,” Institute for Business and Home Safety, Annual Congress; October 1999
  • "Strengthening Unreinforced Masonry Buildings,” Institute for Business and Home Safety, Annual Congress; October 1999
  • "The Residential Code for the 21st Century and Beyond,” BOCA International, Annual Conference; September 1999
  • "Inspecting Metal Building Systems,” BOCA International, Annual Conference; September 1999
  • "The 2000 International Building Code Structural Provisions Overview,” BOCA International, Annual Conference; September 1999
  • "Opportunities for Enhancing the Wind Resistance of Buildings,” BOCA International, Annual Conference; September 1999
  • "Seismic Considerations for Building Components,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; April 1999
  • "Rehabilitation Subcode Briefing,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; December 1998
  • "Earthquakes 201,” Institute for Business and Home Safety, Annual Congress; November 1998
  • "Wildfire 101,” Institute for Business and Home Safety, Annual Congress; November 1998
  • "Assessing Risk at the Wildland/Urban Interface,” Institute for Business and Home Safety, Annual Congress; November 1998
  • "Current Issues and Initiatives in Commercial Roofing: Keeping the Lid On,” Institute for Business and Home Safety, Annual Congress; November 1998
  • "Steel Buildings: Special Inspection,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; May 1998
  • "Design of Wood Frame Buildings for High Wind Loading,” Southern Building Code Congress International / American Forest and Paper Association; October 1997
  • "Seismic Construction Prescriptive Standard,” Southern Building Code Congress International; October 1997
  • "Basic Code Enforcement,” BOCA International; November 1996
  • "BOCA International Annual Codes Conference,” BOCA International; September 1996
  • "Seismic Design Requirements,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; June 1996
  • "Building Inspection,” Southern Building Code Congress International; July 1995
  • "Wind and Flood Resistant Construction,” NJ Dept. of Community Affairs; June 1995
  • "1995 National Hurricane Conference,” National Hurricane Conference; April 1995
  • "Hurricane Resistant Residential Construction,” Southern Building Code Congress International; December 1994

Presentations

  • "Liability of Retail Stores,” New Jersey Association for Justice, Meadowlands Seminar 2017, November 2017
  • "Overview of Life Safety” – segment of “Building Codes in New Jersey,” Lorman Education Services, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, January 2009
  • "Overview of Life Safety” – segment of “Building Codes in New Jersey,” Lorman Education Services, Atlantic City, New Jersey, November 2008

v. 02/22/24

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