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To develop and deploy advances in measurement science to enhance the resilience of buildings and infrastructure to natural and manmade hazards.
This program addresses the gap between basic research and building codes, standards, and practice through measurement science research to: (1) predict structural performance up to failure under extreme loading conditions: (2) assess and evaluate the ability of existing structures to withstand extreme loads; (3) design new buildings and retrofit existing buildings using cost-effective, performance-based methods; and (4) derive lessons learned from disasters and failures involving structures. The program enhances the resilience and robustness of structures by focusing primarily on cross-cutting research topics including prevention of disproportionate collapse and disaster and failure studies, along with the specific hazards of extreme winds and coastal inundation. This program also carries out statutory activities required for the implementation of the NIST National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Act (2002); the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act (2004); and the Fire Prevention and Control Act (1974).
What is the problem?
Natural and manmade disasters cause an estimated $57 billion in average annual costs (and growing), with catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina and future "Kobe" earthquakes causing mega-losses exceeding $100B. Existing extreme load-related prescriptive requirements of building codes, standards, and practices stifle design and construction innovation and increase construction costs. The risk in large disaster-prone regions of the Nation is substantially greater now than ever before due to the combined effects of development and population growth.
Currently, the link between basic research and building codes, standards, and practices is weak. Further, the measurement science is lacking to: (1) predict structural performance up to failure under extreme loading conditions; (2) assess and evaluate the ability of existing structures to withstand extreme loads; (3) design new buildings and retrofit existing buildings using cost-effective, performance-based methods; and (4) address lessons learned that are derived from disasters and failures involving structures.
What is the technical idea?
The fundamental new idea is that disaster resilience can be enhanced significantly by developing a robust capability to predict the effects of hazards on the performance of complex building and infrastructure systems and on community-wide response. This will be achieved by developing: (1) validated data to characterize the hazard environment; (2) validated physics-based models to predict performance of structures to failure; (3) metrics for measuring performance; (4) acceptance criteria for differing levels of performance objectives; and (5) mitigation strategies based on evaluated performance.
While other programs within the Disaster Resilient Buildings, Infrastructure, and Communities strategic goal deal with specific hazards such as fires in communities, fires in buildings, and earthquakes, the scope of this program is primarily cross-cutting research topics including disproportionate collapse and disaster and failure studies, along with the specific hazards of extreme winds and coastal inundation. This program provides an overarching framework for providing critical science-based metrics, tools, standards, and other innovations essential to achieve national infrastructure resilience.
What is the research plan?
The program consists of four research thrusts:
(1) Develop validated tools that predict structural performance to failure under extreme loading conditions. This research thrust consists of three elements:
(2) Develop validated tools to assess and evaluate the capabilities of existing structures to withstand extreme loads. This research thrust consists of three elements:
(3) Develop performance-based guidelines for cost-effective design of new buildings and, where warranted, rehabilitation of existing buildings. This research thrust consists of four elements:
(4) Derive lessons learned from disasters and failures involving structures. This research thrust consists of three elements:
Some recent accomplishments in the area of Disaster and Failure Studies include:
A recent accomplishment in the area of Implementation of Joplin Tornado Recommendations:
Worker looks over the disaster site at New York City’s World Trade Center complex a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Photo credit: FEMA
Start Date:October 1, 2011
Lead Organizational Unit:el
Program Manager: Joseph Main
Related Programs and Projects:
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