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October 1, 2014
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Upcoming Events
Ethics for the Real Estate Manager - ETH800
10/9/2014 - San Antonio, TX

Investment Real Estate Financing and Valuation - Part 3 - ASM605
10/10/2014 - Portland, OR

IREM Executive Edge
10/16/2014-10/18/2014 - Orlando, FL

Ethics for the Real Estate Manager - ETH800
10/16/2014 - Orlando, FL

Managing the Physical Asset - MNT402
10/20/2014 - New Orleans, LA

Investment Real Estate: Financial Tools - FIN402
10/22/2014 - New Orleans, LA

Managing the Physical Asset - MNT402
10/22/2014 - Cherry Hill, NJ

Build Your Business: A Leadership Retreat
11/5/2014-11/7/2014 - Chicago


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LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT
The 5 IREM Executive Edge Sessions You Can’t Miss

IREM® HEADLINES
Maintaining Team Performance
Back to School Sale: Online Residential Courses
New Course on Presentation and Speaker Training Skills
Salt Lake City Area Economic and Real Estate Forecast Event

INDUSTRY HEADLINES
Big Data Cuts Buildings' Energy Use
De Blasio Orders a Greener City, Setting Goals for Energy Efficiency of Buildings
Malls of America: Death Rumors Greatly Exaggerated
Developers Build Luxury, Bike-Friendly Buildings
Owners Bracing for City's Empty Building Initiative
Healthy Buildings: The Next Chapter in Green Building
Signs of the Times: Digital Displays Light up Common Areas
Replace Strip Malls With "Lifestyle Centers?" City Councilman Says It’s Time
A Green Building Culture Is Emerging in Detroit
Some Business Owners Unwilling to Make Building Upgrades for Possible Quakes
Office Buildings are Key to Workers' Health, Wellbeing and Productivity
Look Out Below: Danger Lurks Underground From Aging Gas Pipes


 

Leadership Spotlight


The 5 IREM Executive Edge Sessions You Can’t Miss

Every leader needs an edge. Get yours October 16-18 in Orlando at IREM Executive Edge, the only industry event addressing the needs of both multi-family and commercial real estate managers.

You’ll experience three jam-packed days of networking events and opportunities, and killer education sessions. Here are five that will send you home buzzing:
  1. Medical Marijuana: It’s a Hazy Situation -- Since 1996, states have considered (and often rejected) bills to legalize marijuana, but public sentiment is changing rapidly and so are the state laws. Learn about the forces driving the evolution and explosive growth of this social trend and its impact on real estate management.
  2. Hoarding: When Collecting Crosses the Line - Did you know that hoarding is now classified as a disease? Learn more about hoarding and its relationship to fair housing laws.
  3. How the Best Get Better: Pursue Your Potential – In this keynote address, Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, will discuss how top performers go beyond simply “achieving goals” or “making their numbers.” What do you do when growth stalls, or when your team is working below its true potential?
  4. Risk Vs. Return: Mega Trends Affecting Real Estate Investment -- What continues to drive investment capital to real estate? How are real estate investments are identified and analyzed? When will the next “bubble” arrive? You’ll get the answers here and here only.
  5. Creating a Personal Brand: How You Too Can Become a Kardashian -- Uncover the vital elements needed to develop an impressive personal brand. Whether your goal is to gain broad recognition as an industry leader or simply augment your reputation in your company and with your clients, attend this session and you will discover strategies to enhance your personal image and complete a personal brand plan that you can implement immediately.
“Check out the complete list of sessions” and register now!
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IREM Headlines


Maintaining Team Performance

Excerpt from the CCL/IREM guidebook, “Maintaining Team Performance”

When problems emerge in teams, they can often be traced to a flaw in the team’s basic foundation. Perhaps the team doesn’t have a clear mission. Maybe it doesn’t have the support it needs from the top level of the organization. Members may not be clear about their roles and responsibilities. Maybe the team hasn’t been given the time, the training, or the authority it needs to carry out its task.

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) has identified six key aspects, or dimensions, that are consistent across all teams. If all of these dimensions are strong within a team, the team has the means to conduct its work and perform effectively. Those dimensions are: 1) a clear purpose; 2) an empowering team structure; 3) strong organizational support; 4) positive internal relationships; 5) harmonious external relationships; and 6) efficient information management.

In addition, CCL marks four indicators of team effectiveness that signal when a problem exists along one of those six dimensions. By assessing their team’s: 1) effort; 2) knowledge and skills; 3) tactics; and 4) group dynamics – leaders can diagnose problems and make corrections to bring the team back on track.

Team success isn’t inevitable. Even the best-formed teams can run into trouble when people leave, the market shifts, or the organization realigns for strategic reasons. Leaders who monitor and maintain their team so that it operates at peak efficiency can ensure that it successfully achieves its goal.

To learn more, check out the “Maintaining Team Performance” guidebook (available from IREM in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership)

Or better yet, also check out IREM’s new Build Your Business: A Leadership Retreat coming to Chicago this November 5-7. It is a new, unique conference and experience for high-level real estate management executives.

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Back to School Sale: Online Residential Courses

For a limited time only, these four courses are on sale for just $69 for IREM Members, or $89 regular price. If you or a colleague or teammate are looking to improve a core skill but don’t have a lot of time to devote to training, these affordable convenient courses are the perfect solution.

Attracting and Retaining Residents
  • Attract residents to the building, increase signed leases, reduce turnover, and maximize income for the owner.
  • Understand key legal issues to protect your property.
  • Become a whiz at analyzing the market and establishing rents.
Residential Budgeting and Accounting
  • Impress owners and clients by ensuring the financial health of the property.
  • Are budgets your bugaboo? Understand budgets and forecasting intimately.
  • Have a direct impact on cash flow.
Residential Maintenance Operations
  • Select and oversee the work of contractors – don’t be at the mercy of the market.
  • Minimize risk with a sound maintenance plan and an effective purchasing and inventory system.
  • Improve sustainability and efficiency.
Staffing a Residential Management Team
  • Learn the secrets to success of recruiting, orientation, and minimizing turnover.
  • Create and maintain a motivational workplace to encourage employees to do their best work
  • Don’t just manage...lead your team to improved efficiency and effectiveness.
Take one, or as many as you need to get where you need to go in your career. Fill in knowledge gaps and make your resume more complete.
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New Course on Presentation and Speaker Training Skills

Industry professionals interested in advancing their presentation and speaker training skills have the opportunity to participate in a special four-day course from IREM titled “Train the Trainer: Outstanding Facilitation.” Drawn from the rigorous training program required of all those seeking to become IREM instructors, the first-of-its-kind offering will be held from Dec. 6-9 in downtown Chicago, and directed by two award-winning IREM Members with extensive industry training experience

Participants will engage in live preparation, facilitation and critique sessions in order to maximize presentation effectiveness and increase knowledge transfer. They will learn how to engage adult audiences and refine key presentation techniques such as effective openings and closings, questioning techniques, and maximizing interactivity and technology tools. Participants also will obtain guidelines, checklists and forms for the planning, presentation, and evaluation of training programs.

The event registration fee is $2,000 and includes breakfast and lunch for each of the four days. To register and/or learn more, visit www.irem.org/events/train-the-trainer-outstanding-facilitation.
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Salt Lake City Area Economic and Real Estate Forecast Event

News about the nation’s economy and real estate markets in general, and those of Salt Lake City and the State of Utah, in particular, generally are upbeat, but with some downsides. Delivering this news in person was NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, the keynote speaker at a recent Fall Economic Forecast event in the Salt Lake area sponsored jointly by IREM’s Utah Chapter 33, and the Utah Apartment Association.

Yun reported that household net worth is at an all-time high. Nonetheless, wealth is concentrated among the top 10% of the population, who invest in and have been benefiting from stock market appreciation. Commercial investment sales of large properties (valued at $2.5 million and up) have been increasing over the last several years, rising from $67 billion in 2009 to a projected $355 billion in 2014.

Yun cited highlights from the NAR Member Commercial Activity Survey for the second quarter of this year, all of which showed increases. Specifically, sales volume was up 11% compared with the previous year; sales prices were up 1%, leasing activity was up 5%, rental rates compared with the previous quarter were up 2%, and the direction of business opportunities compared with the previous quarter were up 6%. On the other hand, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate still is not robust, performing below 3% for nine straight years.

Focusing his remarks on state and local economic and real estate dynamics, Yun reported that Utah has experienced 2.9% job growth recently, making it the fifth healthiest state in the nation in terms of increasing employment opportunities. Salt Lake City alone has seen some 40,000 new jobs created in the last couple of years, with a continuing healthy growth rate in the offing.

Apartment vacancy rates in Salt Lake hover around 4%, with rents on the rise. And, Yun reported, the area is second only to Austin, TX, as a destination for migrating millennials. On the downside, area office vacancy rates still are high, in the 13% to 15% range.

Check out the Lawrence Yun PowerPoint Presentation.
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Industry Headlines


Big Data Cuts Buildings' Energy Use
Wall Street Journal (09/29/14) Fitzgerald, Michael; Dwoskin, Elizabeth

For years, there was little information about how energy was being used in the approximately 5.6 million commercial buildings in the U.S. That's starting to change, thanks largely to an expansion of cheap sensors that collect real-time data on how energy is being consumed. Navigant Consulting Inc. estimates the market for such energy-management systems in North America will grow to $1.6 billion by 2020 from about $775 million this year. Regulation is helping to fuel the trend, as pressure mounts from local governments across the U.S. for building owners to find ways to reduce their energy use. Large retailers are getting into the act. Kohl's Corp. pledged seven years ago to use roughly a third less energy than the national average for retailers of its size by 2015. Achieving the goal required much more data about energy use than the company had, says Tari Emerson, Kohl's director of sustainability. Every Kohl's store has different energy needs and use patterns. They're different sizes, in different regions, in different types of buildings of different ages, and the schedules for when they are restocked at night differ. Kohl's invested in software from SkyFoundry LLC and Environmental Systems Inc. that helps Emerson analyze how all those factors affect energy use and design a plan for each store to reduce energy consumption. The software also takes readings of every store's energy use every 15 minutes, allowing her to quickly spot and deal with any anomalies. Analytics tools helped the General Services Administration, the federal government's landlord, meet federal mandates for evaluating energy usage in its largest buildings. Brian Wright, a senior mechanical engineer at the GSA, says that sending an engineer through a building like Washington's Ronald Reagan Building—a 4.1 million-square-foot facility—and preparing a report on it took vast amounts of time, and the 150-page reports were overwhelming for building managers. The GSA adopted analytics software from a startup called FirstFuel Software Inc., and has since saved about $13 million annually, roughly 90 percent, just in evaluation costs, Wright says. The software flags where energy usage varies from a pre-established baseline. The analysis helped the GSA discover, for instance, that in the Reagan Building, two large exhaust fans in the garage were coming on full strength unnecessarily twice a day and the settings on a part of the air-conditioning system were set too high. Resetting the fans to 50 percent power and lowering the air-conditioning settings saved $800,000 in energy costs in one year.
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De Blasio Orders a Greener City, Setting Goals for Energy Efficiency of Buildings
New York Times (09/22/14) P. A1 Flegenheimer, Matt

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced new energy efficiency standards for all of its public buildings. The effort is part of a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 from levels seen in 2005. New York City plans to pressure private apartment owners to ensure reductions as well, a move that could upset some residential and commercial building owners. However, officials are framing the move as part of the city's focus on income inequality, noting that, overall, lower-income residents pay a larger proportion of their rent for energy than more wealthy residents, and they often live in buildings that are less efficient. City officials say the long-term savings will have both environmental effects and financial benefits for lower-income residents. In the near-term, however, New York City will devote at least $1 billion of its capital funding to enhancing city-owned buildings over the next 10 years, and the funds will be included in the city's 10-year capital plan, set to be released in early 2015. Among the possible upgrades to be made are boiler improvements, solar-power installations, and the introduction of an "air conditioner exchange program" in public housing, where the cooling units are often older and less efficient. A draft report on the proposals notes that the steps will help the city take a big step toward a "complete transition away from fossil fuels," and it expects building-based green house gas emissions to drop an additional 10 percent by 2025.
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Malls of America: Death Rumors Greatly Exaggerated
Forbes (09/16/14) Kusek, Kathleen

Several U.S. shopping malls are re-emerging from a deep coma after some dramatic cosmetic surgery. A recent report by Green Street Advisors estimates that 15 percent of America's mall stock will close or be repurposed within the next ten years, with the greatest risk among low-end venues. Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor of architecture and urban design at Georgia Institute of Technology, says it is not surprising that malls would fail if the surrounding market can no longer support them. Increasing population in urban areas has increased the popularity of mixed-use real estate projects that combine retail, residential housing, and commercial businesses into a single, easy-to-navigate location. Even Target and Wal-Mart recently announced that they are opening "express" versions of their signature big-box offerings. Dunham-Jones says that despite the negative press, mega malls are not doomed. She said that to succeed, these properties must provide a combination of shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences that consumers cannot get elsewhere.
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Developers Build Luxury, Bike-Friendly Buildings
Wall Street Journal (09/26/14) P. M1 Jackson, Candace

Lifestyle developments are going up across the country to accommodate Americans' love affair with cycling. Developers and home builders are stacking up on amenities that promise to set them apart from the competition while attracting more bike riders: young, working adults who want to live closer to their jobs, as well as baby boomers seeking neighborhoods that can be easily walked and biked. These high-end developments are offering perks like small-scale bike-share programs, wash and repair areas, storage, and bike valets to maintain their two-wheelers. Many of the newest luxury apartment and condo buildings in Minneapolis are rising along the city's Midtown Greenway, a bike and pedestrian trail converted from an abandoned rail corridor. Soren Jensen, the executive director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition, says that historically, buildings in the area were constructed with main entrances facing vehicular roadways. But in the past few years, newer buildings are installing their main entrances off the trail, and some developers have secured even more direct access. The developers of a large commercial complex and Flux, a 216-unit luxury apartment building, partnered with the county to build a $400,000 ramp and pedestrian bridge that allows direct biking or walking access from the Greenway to the apartment building, offices and restaurant plaza, says Thatcher Imboden, who manages transit-oriented development for the county. With bicycle commuting up a whopping 62 percent across the United States between 2000 and 2013, other residential real estate projects are putting a marketing focus on their proximity to bike trails and even offering direct access to trails via pedestrian bridges.
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Owners Bracing for City's Empty Building Initiative
San Antonio Express-News (Texas) (09/27/14) Olivo, Benjamin

Buildings that sit idle in San Antonio will soon be the target of stricter city rules aimed at pressuring their owners to either develop the buildings or clean them up. Some building owners are concerned about how the impending pilot program, meant to save and revive historic buildings, might impact plans for their properties. "My response is: if you can't maintain it, then sell it," says Bill Dupont, director of the Center for Cultural Sustainability at the UTSA School of Architecture, Construction and Planning.
In June, the San Antonio City Council passed an ordinance that created the 18-month-long program, one that raises the city's standards for the maintenance of vacant buildings. After the 18 months are over, the city could tweak the program, continue it as is or scrap it if it proves ineffective.
Failure to comply with the higher standards, scheduled to kick in Jan. 1, would cost owners up to $500 per violation. However, structures that already comply with the new requirements could be exempt from the program. Under the new policy, owners will have to register their buildings with the city and present a plan within 90 days that shows how they are to improve them. Owners would be required to display “vacant building” placards, carry insurance, and sign a “no trespass affidavit” to allow law enforcement to remove trespassers. The pilot program would cover empty structures in the downtown and surrounding areas, historic districts, landmarks and buildings near military bases. To date, the city's office of historic preservation has identified roughly 450 properties the policy would apply to.
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Healthy Buildings: The Next Chapter in Green Building
Huffington Post (09/24/14) Henley, Jane

While it seems obvious that a healthy, productive office can be achieved with fresh air, daylight, steady temperature, and noise kept to a minimum, many people spend their working week sitting in a sealed up, stuffy office with dim lighting. The World Green Building Council, in partnership with its Green Building Council network, recently published a new report, Health, well-being and productivity in offices: The next chapter for green building. The report points to a range of factors, including air quality, lighting, and layout, which can affect a worker's health, satisfaction, and job performance. Research finds that workers with access to natural light and views are more productive than their colleagues who are squeezed into dark cubicles. In many cases, sustainable design strategies trigger a "virtuous circle" that delivers both economic and environmental dividends. For example, designing a building to maximize daylight reduces the need for artificial daylight, and with it energy costs and carbon emissions, while also creating a more pleasant and productive workplace. Sponsored by Jones Lang LaSalle, the report provides a simple toolkit that businesses can use to measure the health, well-being, and productivity of their buildings.
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Signs of the Times: Digital Displays Light up Common Areas
Finance & Commerce (09/24/14) Jossi, Frank

Digital signage has taken off in the past few years as screens have become thinner and the quality of images has become richer. A great example of this is the Gaviidae Common I in downtown Minneapolis, which unveiled a digital signage installation earlier this year that features two 40-foot-long LED banners hanging from the top level of the atrium and an LED ring positioned between the first floor and the skyway. On the skyway, two kiosks offer an interactive display for visitors to find their way through the building. Behind the innovation is AlivePromo Inc, a company that brings together new technology to take existing commercial and government buildings into the digital age. "There's a lot more ambiance and vibe in the building with digital signage than before," said Gaviidae property manager Tim Kleiman. "This drew attention back to the building and got us up to speed with neighboring properties." Such installations, which may not always be as extensive as Gaviidae Common I's, may include kiosks with touch-screen technology, promotional videos, advertisements, and other content.
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Replace Strip Malls With "Lifestyle Centers?" City Councilman Says It’s Time
CBS 2 Los Angeles (09/23/14)

Los Angeles City Councilman Felipe Fuentes wants to eliminate strip malls that cover many of the city's street corners and replace them with multi-use "lifestyle centers" to lure developers to create places for shopping, leisure activities, and housing on one site. Fuentes introduced a motion earlier this summer calling for the city's Planning Department to report the number of mini shopping and commercial corner centers that have been developed across the city since the enactment of the Mini Shopping Center and Commercial Corner Ordinance in 2003. "[Mini malls] are outdated, they're not very friendly, [and] they don't make themselves easy for pedestrians," said Fuentes. He contends that due to the economic downturn, the city should explore every opportunity to boost sustainable economic development, increase property values, and enhance tax revenues. "We have to figure out a way for us to revitalize open, public, and retail space in a way that we limit people's needs to have to travel from, say, Northridge to Burbank or from the Westside to Central City." The Council recently voted in favor of further study of the proposal.
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A Green Building Culture Is Emerging in Detroit
Model D (09/23/14) Mondry, Aaron

The Green Garage, a renovated historic Model T showroom in Detroit, typifies a growing green building culture in that city, using as many sustainable design elements as possible. The building weathered one of Detroit's snowiest winters and rainiest summers with built-in stormwater management, high-resistance insulation, UV-light-blocking windows, solar panels, radiant heat, and other features that enabled the building to use just 15 percent of the energy of a comparable office building. Another historic Detroit building, 71 Garfield, was retrofitted with geothermal heating and cooling, foam insulation, and a rooftop solar array, among other improvements. It uses one-third of the energy it used before the renovation. Meanwhile, Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority president Gregory McDuffee renovated the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center with simple and inexpensive changes that are expected to save approximately $1.8 million a year. Some of the changes included cutting energy for lighting by having cleaning staff clean during the day rather than at night, using single-stream recycling to reduce waste, and retrofitting 4,000 cooling boxes to save energy. More efficient insulation and windows are "relatively simple changes that pay for themselves within a year," says EcoWorks' Jacob Corvidae. Making buildings more energy efficient enables businesses to use saved capital for business expansion. "It gets back to our competitiveness as a city and as a nation," says Green Garage owner Tom Brennan. "If we have high infrastructure costs that have to be born in our products and services, then we're setting our businesses up for failure."
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Some Business Owners Unwilling to Make Building Upgrades for Possible Quakes
Vallejo Times-Herald (CA) (09/27/14) Gafni, Matthias

Even as the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta quake looms next week, thousands of buildings in the northern California region have unreinforced masonry. The owners cannot afford or are unwilling to make upgrades, and municipalities grapple with decisions on how hard to push them. Some cities issue fines to those out of compliance; others threaten legal action. While some require property owners to post signs warning customers that a building isn't safe, others go as far as condemning the buildings and securing them from entry. As of 2006, the last time the California Seismic Safety Commission looked at statewide efforts, nearly half of the Bay Area's 6,580 unreinforced masonry buildings had not been retrofitted. Since that survey, officials say buildings statewide have received improvements at a slow 1 percent a year. In Napa, the city spent decades pushing for retrofits to its brittle downtown, steadily cajoling building owners to comply. By August 2011, Napa officials required owners of 10 unreinforced masonry buildings to post signs alerting pedestrians that they were entering structures that could crumble in an earthquake. In San Jose, six unreinforced masonry buildings are in need of a retrofit. The city has kept them vacant and secured to keep people out, but falling bricks from a powerful earthquake could endanger anyone walking by.
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Office Buildings are Key to Workers' Health, Wellbeing and Productivity
The Guardian (09/24/14) Alker, John

While salaries and benefits typically make up about 90 percent of an organization's operating costs, the productivity of staff -- or anything that affects their ability to be productive -- should be a major concern for any company. Because of this, the building they work in should be a key interest. Good indoor air quality, thermal comfort, high-quality views, daylight, good acoustics, location, and amenities play a crucial role in creating a healthy, productive workplace. For example, a meta-analysis in 2006 of 24 studies found that poor air quality lowered performance by up to 10 percent on measures such as typing speed and units output. Short-term sick leave was also found to be 35 percent lower in offices ventilated with greater supply rates of outdoor air. When it comes to thermal comfort, the research indicated a 10 percent reduction in performance at higher temperatures. Neuroscientists have also suggested that workers with offices that have windows receive 173 percent more white light (daylight) exposure during work hours and sleep an average of 46 minutes more each night. Many organizations are sitting on a treasure trove of information that, with a little digging, could yield important immediate improvement strategies for their relationship between the building and its occupants.
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Look Out Below: Danger Lurks Underground From Aging Gas Pipes
USA Today (09/24/14) Kelly, John

A USA Today investigation concludes that about every other day over the past decade, a gas leak in the United States has destroyed property, hurt someone or killed someone. A review of federal data shows there are tens of thousands of miles of cast-iron and bare-steel gas mains lurking beneath American cities and towns — despite these pipes being a longtime target of National Transportation Safety Board accident investigators, government regulators and safety advocates. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has been pushing gas utilities for more than a decade to replace aging pipes with more resilient materials like plastic, though it's not required by law. The industry has responded by replacing thousands of miles of pipe, but a daunting amount remains. Aging pipes are a high-risk example of the nation's struggle to replace its crumbling infrastructure, a danger hidden beneath the ground until a pipe fails or is struck by something and a spark ignites a monstrous blast. Natural gas is piped into 67 million homes and at least 5 million businesses, schools and other buildings across the country, with gas distribution and service lines snaking beneath most neighborhoods in American cities. The review of federal databases and thousands of pages of government and utility company records found at least 85,000 miles of aging cast-iron and bare-steel gas pipes still operating in U.S. communities, despite decades of warnings from the NTSB, other investigators and federal safety officials that they're prone to failure and need replacing.
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