Many of the nation's largest buildings and much of its infrastructure are concentrated in disaster-prone regions where hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other hazards are common.
The disaster resilience of our structures today is determined in large measure by the building codes, standards, materials, and practices used during their construction. With few exceptions, these legacy codes, standards, materials, and practices, which have evolved over several decades, are prescriptive i.e. not performance-based, oversimplified, and inconsistent.
To allow greater use of innovative structural systems and sustainable materials, there is a critical need to replace prescriptive codes with ones based instead on performance.
There are gaps in the measurement science needed to improve the disaster resilience and sustainability of buildings and infrastructure exposed to natural and man-made hazards. Catastrophic failures in infrastructure cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars in repairs and directly impact our personal and economic health.
Additionally, there is a need to address the decline in the nation's construction productivity, which has averaged 0.6 percent per year over the past four decades. Construction industry leaders see the potential for improvements in construction productivity with integrated and automated processes using advanced technology.
This request funds efforts to provide improvements to our nation's physical infrastructure that will increase the sustainability of materials used and the resilience of our building infrastructure to damage from earthquakes, windstorms, and fire. This funding will also enable U.S. industry to improve productivity by transforming the delivery of construction and infrastructure projects, which represent nearly five percent of our nation's GDP.
NIST proposes to develop critical measurement science tools needed by U.S. industry for:
This initiative is focused directly on finding solutions to five of six Grand Challenges identified by the President's National Science and Technology Council in June 2005. It will improve the nation's ability to respond to disasters by:
This initiative will help prevent hazards from becoming disasters by increasing the resilience of the nation's buildings and infrastructure. The need for response and recovery will be minimized through proactive identification of hazards that pose threats, enabling action to mitigate their potential consequences. The expected impacts of this program will be achieved by:
Furthermore, expected U.S. growth will require significant expansion of our existing physical infrastructure, and even small savings in the cost of delivering these projects will result in significant job creation and economic growth. To achieve these savings and increase construction productivity, this program will develop