BRIEF HISTORY OF JAKE PAULS’ WORK


Following an eclectic education in science, engineering and architecture, Jake Pauls researched building use and safety with the National Research Council of Canada from 1967 to 1987.  He directed field studies of people's movement behavior in office buildings and large facilities used for public assembly.  This work dealt with building evacuation, movement of people generally, crowd behavior, emergency behavior and management, safety needs of people with disabilities, stair design, plus safety standards.


From June 1987 through 1992, he extended this work as Life Safety Specialist with Hughes Associates, Inc., located in the Washington-Baltimore corridor.  In addition to consulting, his activities included research, networking, and technology transfer—especially through model building codes and safety standards in the U.S.A.


At the end of 1992, Jake initiated an independent consulting service while expanding not-for-profit, public-interest activity including research and advocacy, especially in relation to technical changes and policy issues in codes/standards development. These roles build, in part, on his long-term efforts to bridge among ergonomics (human factors) in building safety, public health, and the development of related requirements in standards, codes and regulations as well as personal-injury litigation (including expert services on over 200 cases).


Examples of this bridging activity include seminars, film production, videos and many published papers and articles, plus coverage in the mass media, on injury prevention in relation to building-related hazards such as falls on stairways as well as their usability plus usability and safety of baths, showers and toilets—especially in homes. Jake’s career output includes over 100 publications, many more presentations worldwide, and productions of several videos plus a documentary film, The Stair Event. The focus for his work ranges from pervasive hazards in homes to infrequent but catastrophic events such as crowd incidents in large facilities for public assembly. His expertise in the latter problem area, including national standard committee membership, is based on extensive experience advising on facility design and management affecting spectator safety at two Olympic Games, a World Exposition, and in many facilities in the United States, Canada and overseas.


In 2001, participation on ANSI standards committees of NFPA International was significantly expanded as Jake was named as the representative of the American Public Health Association (APHA) on several technical, correlating and advisory committees of NFPA.  He also represents APHA on the International Code Council (ICC) Industry Advisory Committee and serves as the longest-serving individual member of the Accredited Standards Committee A117 on Architectural Features and Site Design of Public Buildings and Residential Structures for Persons with Disabilities.


By 2011, committee memberships in the USA and Canada grew to 14 advisory, correlating, technical and other committees and requests to serve on additional committees responsible for national standards continued.  In order to serve a growing involvement in Canada, a new home-based office was set up, in High Park Village in Toronto.  After 2011, international involvement increased significantly, with continued standards/codes activity plus consulting in the USA, growing participation in revisions to the National Building Code of Canada, and more focus on the Pacific Rim. In 2015 he initiated a fund within the Canadian Public Health Association to support work expanding the evidence base, and its application, for built environment standards. To help recognize excellence in such work he also initiated a new CPHA award, the R. Stirling Ferguson Award.  In 2017, Jake celebrates 50 years of professional activity in building use and safety as part of over 53 years working on building and facility design, construction, use and safety issues that, increasingly, involves public health advocacy internationally as well as service to clients.

Graphics and Text Copyright, Jake Pauls, 2016

Contact Jake Pauls, Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE)
International Research, Independent Consulting, 
and Public Health Advocacy since 1967

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