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Oct. 25, 2021, Update on NIST’s Champlain Towers South Investigation

Equipment stands on tripods on a balcony with the beach and sea in the background.

Cameras and lidar used by NIST and its partners scan and record the site of the Champlain Towers South condominium.

Credit: NIST

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will present an update on its investigation into the June 24, 2021, partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium at a Nov. 8, 2021, public meeting of the National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee. The update will not provide any conclusions, as the investigation is ongoing, but will introduce a new project that has been added to the investigation, as well as new members of the National Construction Safety Team carrying out this work. 

Georgette Hlepas and Kam Saidi will lead the Remote Sensing and Data Visualization Project to analyze data collected at the building collapse site. The project will support the other investigation projects by providing 3D geospatial data management to compile, organize, visualize and communicate surface and subsurface data. This will include data on structural features such as concrete columns, piles, floor slabs and beams, as well as site geology. The project will bring together data collected at the collapse site, including surveys, remote sensing and subsurface investigations, as well as data from other sources such as drawings, reports and historical photos.

Hlepas is the national geotechnical policy adviser for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters office in Washington, D.C. She has 14 years of experience in geotechnical engineering and instrumentation with USACE, including the design, evaluation and oversight of subsurface explorations, instrumentation and foundation remediation projects. She has a Ph.D. in civil and materials engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Columbia University, and is a licensed professional engineer in Illinois. 

Saidi is a mechanical engineer in the Intelligent Systems Division at NIST who has been involved in the development of metrics and tests for evaluating the performance of unmanned aircraft systems and their pilots. He holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering focused on construction automation systems as well as an M.S. and a B.S. in mechanical engineering with a focus on robotics and mechanical system design from the University of Texas at Austin.

The new supporting team members are:

  • Dale Bentz, NIST (Materials Science Project)
  • Jonathan Bray, University of California, Berkeley (Geotechnical Engineering Project)
  • Dan Brown, Dan Brown and Associates (Geotechnical Engineering Project)
  • David Frost, Georgia Tech (Geotechnical Engineering Project)
  • Larry Olson, Olson Engineering Inc. (Geotechnical Engineering Project)
  • Dennis Sack, Olson Engineering Inc. (Geotechnical Engineering Project)
  • George Tamaro, Consultant (Geotechnical Engineering Project)

See the full list of team members and their biographies to learn more about their experiences in geotechnical engineering, structural engineering and materials science.

Team co-leads Judith Mitrani-Reiser and Glenn Bell will provide an overview and update on the investigation at the Nov. 8, 2021, public meeting of the National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee, which will include a public comment period. Details on how to register to attend the virtual meeting can be found in the Federal Register

Released October 25, 2021, Updated February 21, 2023