Ten prominent building and fire experts have been appointed by Patrick Gallagher, director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to serve on the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Advisory Committee. The committee, first established in 2003, advises the NIST director and relevant staff on studies of building failures and associated evacuation and emergency response procedures conducted under the authorities of the NCST Act (Public Law 107-231). This includes guidance on the composition and function of investigation teams and other responsibilities under the act.
The committee is being reestablished with new members serving staggered terms as required by its charter. The original group that served from 2003 to 2008 was focused heavily on NIST's investigation of the collapses of three buildings at New York's World Trade Center complex on 9/11.
The new NCST Advisory Committee members serving a one-year term are:
- Carlos Fernandez-Pello, professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.)
- Susan Cutter, distinguished professor and director, Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, University of South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)
- Jeffrey Garrett, president and CEO, CTL Group (Skokie, Ill.)
Members serving a two-year term are:
- Ron Coleman, chairman, Board of Trustees, Commission on Fire Accreditation International (Elk Grove, Calif.)
- Anne Kiremidijian, professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.)
- Sarah A. Rice, project manager, Preview Group Inc. (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Members serving a three-year term are:
- Paul A Croce, retired VP and manager of research, FM Global (Middletown, R.I.)
- Jeremy Isenberg, senior principal, Specialty Practices Group, AECOM (Oakland, Calif.)
- R. Shankar Nair, principal and senior VP, Teng & Associates Inc. (Chicago, Ill.)
- James R. Quiter, principal, Arup (Walnut Creek, Calif.)
Members were selected on the basis of their technical expertise and experience, records of distinguished professional service, and knowledge of issues affecting teams established under the NCST Act.
Under the NCST Act, NIST is responsible for conducting investigations of the events leading to building failures and associated evacuation and emergency response procedures that result in substantial loss of life or pose the potential for substantial loss of life. The NIST investigations establish the likely technical causes of the building failures and evaluate the technical aspects of emergency response and evacuation procedures in the wake of disasters, such as blasts, earthquakes, fires, impacts and windstorms, or while the building is in service or under construction. The goal is to recommend improvements to the way in which buildings are designed, constructed, maintained and used.
The new NCST Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on Nov. 7, 2011, at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md. The meeting is open to the public. Details will be posted in an upcoming notice in the Federal Register (www.gpoaccess.gov/fr).
More information about the NCST Act and the NCST Advisory Committee may be found online. For background on NIST's more than 40 years of experience studying structural failures and fires, go to the web pages of the NIST Disaster and Failures Studies Program at www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies.