Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Disaster & failure studies


Buildings, bridges, and other man-made structures are not supposed to fall down. But sometimes they do, and for different reasons: fires, earthquakes, high winds, errors in design and construction, flaws in materials, and even terrorist attacks.

When disaster and failure events cause, or pose the potential for, substantial loss of life, the NIST Disaster and Failure Studies Program provides a platform for research into building and infrastructure performance and emergency response and evacuation procedures.

By understanding the technical causes leading to structural or response failures and then making that information public, NIST engineers and researchers strive to prevent similar failures in the future. Studies conducted by NIST have led to significant changes in practices, standards, and codes to enhance the health and safety of the American public.


Palm trees stand in the foreground before a pile of debris with construction vehicles.

Update on NIST’s Investigation of the Champlain Towers South Collapse

A man in a construction hat points to damage on a concrete column lying on the ground while another researcher looks on.

NIST Will Conduct Technical Investigation Into the Collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condominium

A line map of the U.S. has areas marked off in the southcentral region.

Major New Building Standard Can Map Out Tornado Threat for the First Time

The Research

Projects & Programs

Additional Resources Links

Stay in Touch

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest research, trends, and news for Disaster & failure studies.