NIST is designated by Congress as the Lead Agency for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). This NIST project supports coordination of the NEHRP research and implementation activities for the four NEHRP agencies – the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NIST, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the US Geological Survey (USGS). The project also supports management of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) Earthquake Risk Reduction in Buildings and Infrastructure R&D Program.
Objective: This project supports the Congressionally-mandated NIST Engineering Laboratory (EL) National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Lead Agency role of coordinating NEHRP activities and provides leadership for the EL Earthquake Risk Reduction in Buildings and Infrastructure Program.
What is the new technical idea? Since 1977, the US Congress has required the coordinated multi-agency NEHRP to address needed earthquake–related research and implementation activities. This statutory coordination of earthquake-related activities at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NIST, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the US Geological Survey is the focus of NEHRP.
NIST was directed in the 2004 reauthorization of NEHRP (Public Law, PL, 108-360) to assume the role of Lead Agency for the Program. To support this statutory responsibility and provide leadership for its NEHRP-related research, NIST established the NEHRP Secretariat in 2006. In 2013, the Secretariat will be merged into the EL Materials and Structures Division, as a group within the Division. Specific statutory EL NEHRP responsibilities include supporting the NEHRP Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC), the senior leadership body for NEHRP; supporting the Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR), which provides the ICC with expert assessments on earthquake engineering trends and developments, and on NEHRP effectiveness, management, and coordination; developing and updating NEHRP strategic and management plans; developing annual coordinated interagency budgets; maintaining the NEHRP web site, and submitting annual reports on NEHRP activities, subject to the approval of the ICC. A small in-house staff consisting of a Director, a Deputy Director, a Management/Program Analyst, and an Administrative Assistant performs these functions. The Management/Program Analyst and Administrative Assistant also support other NIST EL statutory programs (Disaster and Failure Studies/National Construction Safety Team, National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program). In addition to the in-house staff, contractor administrative assistance is provided.
What is the research plan? NEHRP is a research and implementation (knowledge transfer) partnership. The NEHRP Strategic Plan sets the global NEHRP agenda through 2013. The Plan has three Strategic Goals – (A) improve understanding of earthquake processes and impacts; (B) develop cost-effective measures to reduce earthquake impacts in individuals, the built environment, and society-at-large; and, (C) improve the earthquake resilience of communities nationwide. Each of these goals has four or five major objectives, most of which require significant interactions among the NEHRP agencies.
The Strategic Plan outlines nine strategic priorities that deserve increased emphasis if resources are available to support them:
- Fully implement the USGS Advanced National Seismic System.
- Improve techniques for evaluating and rehabilitating existing buildings.
- Further develop performance-based seismic design.
- Increase consideration of socioeconomic issues related to hazard mitigation implementation.
- Develop a national post-earthquake information management system.
- Develop advanced earthquake risk mitigation technologies and practices.
- Develop guidelines for earthquake-resilient lifeline components and systems.
- Develop and conduct earthquake scenarios for effective earthquake risk reduction and response and recovery planning.
- Facilitate improved earthquake mitigation at State and local levels.
In March 2011, NEHRP received from the National Research Council (NRC) the long-range NEHRP roadmap that NIST commissioned in 2009 (see Major Accomplishments, below). The NRC roadmap fully endorsed the NEHRP Strategic Plan, and the NEHRP agencies are reviewing its recommendations for research and implementation activities, with particular attention to the current budget environment. Both the Plan and the NRC roadmap emphasize national earthquake resilience.
Major EL activities that are planned for 2013 include:
- EL will support ICC deliberations on the need to assess and revise the NEHRP Strategic Plan. The current Plan addressed NEHRP activities through 2013. The ICC has requested that the working-level Program Coordination Working Group (PCWG), which is chaired by NIST, provide it with a Strategic Plan progress assessment in 2012.
- EL will work with Congress and the other NEHRP agencies on any issues that arise concerning pending NEHRP reauthorization legislation (HR 3479 and S 646, both known as the Natural Hazards Risk Reduction Act of 2011, are the latest known versions of such pending legislation). PL 108-360 expired on September 30, 2009.
- EL will stay abreast of Administration efforts to support the Presidential Policy Directive, National Preparedness (PPD-8) and coordinate NEHRP activities in support of those efforts.
- EL will work with the other NEHRP agencies to conduct a research and implementation needs determination workshop for improved lifeline resilience. NIST has processed a 2012 task order with the NEHRP Consultants Joint Venture (NCJV) for the purpose of conducting this workshop, which is anticipated to be conducted in FY 2013.
- EL will work with FEMA, NSF, and USGS to initiate the study of revisions needed to USGS Circular 1242 to assess general revisions that are needed for NEHRP coordination and conduct of post-earthquake investigations. This study is needed to provide appropriate updates to the Circular that was released in 2003, and to begin exploring issues associated with the possible transfer of post-earthquake investigation leadership to NIST that has been discussed in some of the pending reauthorization legislation. As a part of the Earthquake Risk Reduction in Buildings and Infrastructure Program, EL has processed a 2012 task order with NCJV for the purpose of conducting the study. This work will be performed in coordination with the general framework of the NIST Disaster and Failure Studies Program. NSF is also completing complementary studies of the future of its post-earthquake investigations via a June 2012 Workshop on Deploying Post-Disaster Quick-Response Reconnaissance Teams: Methods, Strategies, and Needs. The broader NEHRP study will be coordinated with the NSF work.
- EL will work with the other NEHRP agencies to plan and implement transfer of the leadership of post-earthquake investigations from USGS to NIST, if reauthorization legislation that transfers this leadership from USGS to NIST is enacted.
- EL will again work with its NEHRP partners in 2013 to produce the NEHRP annual report of activities for 2012. NIST has processed a 2012 task order with NCJV for the purpose of assisting NIST in collecting information covering the activities from the other three NEHRP agencies in support of this effort.
- The Secretariat will continue its work on activities with the US-Japan Panel on Wind and Seismic Effects (UJNR), and with the Interagency Committee on Seismic Safety in Construction (ICSSC). Plans for UJNR include hosting a meeting in February 2013 at NIST.
Funding limitations will dictate that EL will focus less in the future on broader program planning activities (e.g., NEHRP-wide workshops), and focus more narrowly on activities that directly support statutory requirements and ACEHR and ICC activities.
 The Plan to Coordinate NEHRP Post-Earthquake Investigations, Circular 1242, U.S. Geological Survey, 2003.
- Annual Report of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, to Accompany the President’s Budget Request to Congress for Fiscal Year 2008, March 2007.
- Prioritized Research for Reducing the Seismic Hazards of Existing Buildings, ATC-73, Applied Technology Council for National Science Foundation, December 2007.
- Annual Report of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, March 2008.
- Workshop Proceedings: NEHRP Workshop on Meeting the Challenges of Existing Buildings, Volume 1, ATC-71, Applied Technology Council for Federal Emergency Management Agency, July 2008.
- American Lifelines Alliance Post-Earthquake Information Systems (PIMS) Scoping Study, National Institute of Building Sciences for Federal Emergency Management Agency, September 2008.
- Strategic Plan for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, Fiscal Years 2009-2013, October 2008.
- Annual Report of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program for Fiscal Year 2008, August 2009.
- Program Plan for the Development of Collapse Assessment and Mitigation Strategies for Existing Reinforced Concrete Buildings, NIST GCR 10-917-7, August 2010.
- Annual Report of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program for Fiscal Year 2009, October 2010.
- 2020 Vision for Earthquake Engineering Research, George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation for National Science Foundation, October 2010.
- National Earthquake Resilience: Research, Implementation, and Outreach, National Research Council, March 2011- provides a 20-year roadmap for NEHRP activities that is consistent with the NEHRP Strategic Plan.
- EL met in August 2011, with the Japanese side of the UJNR at the Japan Public Works Research Institute in Tsukuba to discuss current US and Japanese activities and the Tohoku earthquake. PWRI produced a comprehensive proceedings document from that meeting (see http://www.nehrp.gov/pdf/UJNR-4217.pdf).
- Annual Report of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program for Fiscal Year 2010, October 2011.
- Research Plan for the Study of Seismic Behavior and Design of Deep, Slender Wide Flange Structural Beam-Column Members, NIST GCR 11-917-13.
- Updates to all information found on NEHRP web site, www.nehrp.gov, recurring.
- Research Required to Support Full Implementation of Performance-Based Seismic Design, NIST GCR 09-917-2, April 2009.
Standards and Codes:
- Through the Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC), NIST produced a new version of the Interagency Committee on Seismic Safety in Construction (ICSSC) Standards of Seismic Safety for Existing Federally Owned and Leased Buildings.
- FEMA began work through BSSC on the 2014/2015 edition of the NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures. FEMA released the 2009 edition of the “Recommended Provisions,” which is referenced by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in ASCE/SEI 7-10.
 Standards of Seismic Safety for Existing Federally Owned and Leased Buildings, ICSSC Recommended Practice 8 (RP 8), NIST GCR 11-917-12.
 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures, FEMA P-750/2009 Edition, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2009.
 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, ASCE Standard, ASCE/SEI 7-10, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2010.
October 1, 2012
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