Disaster Resilient Structures and Communities (Hurricanes and Earthquakes)

The primary core competency for the Strategic Priority Area of Disaster Resilient Structures and Communities (Hurricanes and Earthquakes) is performance and resilience of structures and communities under extreme loads.

The areas of expertise within this Strategic Priority Area include structural engineering, wind engineering, earthquake engineering, structural performance in fires, computational modeling and analysis, and structural reliability. The BFRL divisions and offices active in this area are the Materials and Construction Research Division (MCRD), the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Office, and the Office of Applied Economics (OAE). One of the primary BFRL goals in this strategic area is Disaster Resilience. Key programs include the Safety of Threatened Buildings Program (wind engineering and multi-hazard failure analysis) and the NEHRP.

BACKGROUND

Several ongoing programs were reviewed by the panel: (1) the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, for which the leadership was undertaken by NIST in 2005; (2) several programs that had been initiated in approximately 2001, including the Fire Resistant Design and Retrofit of Structures Program and the Prevention of Progressive Collapse Program; and (3) two relatively new initiatives that, in addition to NEHRP, directly address the priorities of the Disaster Resilient Structures and Communities strategic area, which are intended to meet the goals of the American Competitiveness Initiative. These latter programs address the topics of wind engineering and multi-hazard failure analysis. The investigation of the collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) had a major impact on the resources in the Structures Program over the past 6 years. The final report on WTC 1 and 2 has been issued,6 and the group is nearing completion of the report on Building No. 7.

Earthquake Engineering (NEHRP Activities Associated with NIST)

Earthquake-related structural engineering research has not been a focus at the BFRL for the past 10 years. It is anticipated that with NIST assuming the leadership of NEHRP in 2005, the BFRL earthquake-related research program will be rejuvenated. The BFRL’s efforts should be coordinated with other programs and agencies; this is particularly important given that the BFRL’s work in earthquake-related structural engineering is anticipated to be computational, relying on associated laboratory work elsewhere. There are several current research focus areas (e.g., progressive collapse and multi-hazard failure analysis) that should be broadened to address earthquake-related issues as well. It is planned to build a new in-house research staff related to earthquake engineering issues in FY 2008 and FY 2009. Those hired should complement rather than

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National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2005, Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster: Final Report of the National Construction Safety Team on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Tower, NIST NCSTAR 1, Gaithersburg, Maryland.



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Disaster Resilient Structures and Communities (Hurricanes and Earthquakes) The primary core competency for the Strategic Priority Area of Disaster Resilient Structures and Communities (Hurricanes and Earthquakes) is performance and resilience of structures and communities under extreme loads. The areas of expertise within this Strategic Priority Area include structural engineering, wind engineering, earthquake engineering, structural performance in fires, computational modeling and analysis, and structural reliability. The BFRL divisions and offices active in this area are the Materials and Construction Research Division (MCRD), the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Office, and the Office of Applied Economics (OAE). One of the primary BFRL goals in this strategic area is Disaster Resilience. Key programs include the Safety of Threatened Buildings Program (wind engineering and multi-hazard failure analysis) and the NEHRP. BACKGROUND Several ongoing programs were reviewed by the panel: (1) the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, for which the leadership was undertaken by NIST in 2005; (2) several programs that had been initiated in approximately 2001, including the Fire Resistant Design and Retrofit of Structures Program and the Prevention of Progressive Collapse Program; and (3) two relatively new initiatives that, in addition to NEHRP, directly address the priorities of the Disaster Resilient Structures and Communities strategic area, which are intended to meet the goals of the American Competitiveness Initiative. These latter programs address the topics of wind engineering and multi-hazard failure analysis. The investigation of the collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) had a major impact on the resources in the Structures Program over the past 6 years. The final report on WTC 1 and 2 has been issued,6 and the group is nearing completion of the report on Building No. 7. Earthquake Engineering (NEHRP Activities Associated with NIST) Earthquake-related structural engineering research has not been a focus at the BFRL for the past 10 years. It is anticipated that with NIST assuming the leadership of NEHRP in 2005, the BFRL earthquake-related research program will be rejuvenated. The BFRL’s efforts should be coordinated with other programs and agencies; this is particularly important given that the BFRL’s work in earthquake-related structural engineering is anticipated to be computational, relying on associated laboratory work elsewhere. There are several current research focus areas (e.g., progressive collapse and multi-hazard failure analysis) that should be broadened to address earthquake-related issues as well. It is planned to build a new in-house research staff related to earthquake engineering issues in FY 2008 and FY 2009. Those hired should complement rather than 6 National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2005, Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster: Final Report of the National Construction Safety Team on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Tower, NIST NCSTAR 1, Gaithersburg, Maryland. 23

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overlap with the existing NIST Structures Program staff. There is a current plan to partner with the Applied Technology Council (ATC) and the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering in conjunction with the three National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored earthquake engineering centers (Mid-America Earthquake Center, Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, and Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research). As the three centers are “sunset,” plans for the future should be developed. The plan for projects includes the following: The Quantification of Building System Performance and Response Parameters project (to provide technical support for seismic practice and code development), which includes beta testing of ATC-63 methodology that is to use nonlinear models of seismic force-resisting “archetype” structures intended to result in equivalent safety against collapse for buildings across different seismic resisting systems. The development of Performance-Based Seismic Design guidelines for Port and Harbor Facilities project: whereas the NEHRP’s previous focus has traditionally been on earthquake safety, there are now plans to address the national economy and security. This project, an example of that category, is the current focus of one of the NSF-funded grand challenge (GC) projects. The NEHRP sees a role that NIST can play in assisting the transfer of technology learned in the GCs into practice through the development of codes and standards. There are other opportunities with NSF GCs that may be identified in the future; the opportunities relate to nonductile frame systems and nonstructural elements. It is anticipated that the experimental work associated with the endeavors listed above will be conducted at existing laboratories external to NIST. Fire Resistant Design and Retrofit of Structures The Fire Resistant Design and Retrofit of Structures Program is well conceived and well integrated with other BFRL programs. Critical to this program is the construction of a large-scale structural fire test facility (see the “Adequacy of Infrastructure” subsection below). Progressive Collapse The tools being developed for the prediction of structural behavior at the limit of structural capacity, such as in the Quantification of Building System Performance and Response Parameters project, will be very valuable to researchers and designers of structures designed to withstand special threats. The BFRL’s work should be coordinated with the projects and programs at the Department of Defense and other agencies in order to eliminate duplication of effort and to ensure that the tools being developed are those that are the most needed. 24

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Wind Engineering The BFRL has exceptionally well qualified staff in the technical area of wind engineering. Although resources have been increased, the staff is at present handicapped by a lack of resources (specifically, convenient access to a wind tunnel). The BFRL staff has well-established links with codes and standards committees that should reduce the risk of the adoption of the research work product. The work in the area of wind engineering is consistent with ACI objectives as detailed by the NIST Three-Year Programmatic Plan. Adequate funding should be allocated for the computational wind tunnel (database-assisted design) for predicting extreme wind effects. This group needs permanent staff to support these activities and a plan for mentorship to ensure continued NIST strength in this critical area. Multi-Hazard Failure Analysis The Multi-Hazard Failure Analysis Program is in its early stages, and the current focus on wind speed and storm surge is appropriate. The program should be expanded to include other hazards such as earthquake and fire as part of a multi-hazard approach. The current reliance on state-funded data (specifically from Florida funding) is too limiting. A national effort to fund the securing of these critical data is imperative. This is a new effort consistent with the NIST Three-Year Programmatic Plan. TECHNICAL MERIT RELATIVE TO STATE OF THE ART The work being done within this Strategic Priority Area is generally at state-of- the-art level. The quality of the work is demonstrated by the acceptance of submissions to high-impact publications and by the transition of the work to codes and standards. Papers undergo extensive internal review before their submission for publication. The work under this Strategic Priority Area is clearly tied to the BFRL mission. Ties to the external community are demonstrated by the staff’s membership and active participation in professional and trade committees. Clear standards do not seem to be consistently applied within the BFRL to ensure the integrity of measurements (e.g., quality or certainty of data obtained from external facilities). The development of a curated database containing both experimental data and software developments should be made publicly available for all projects. This aspect currently seems lacking or not standardized, with current efforts occurring on an ad hoc basis. ADEQUACY OF INFRASTRUCTURE The primary focus of the current BFRL Structures Program is directed toward the development of advanced computational models. In some cases these models have taken up to 2 months to run on local workstations. An effort should be made to identify alternative computational capabilities, including the use of national supercomputing resources, to remove this bottleneck and to bring this aspect of the research program up to state-of-the-art usage of appropriate hardware. Laboratory experiments required for 25

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validation are being outsourced by the BFRL rather than its maintaining or adding new capability, with one exception—in the area of fire research (see below). This approach is acceptable to the degree that the researchers can, in an effective and timely manner, outsource the work while ensuring the quality of the data. There appear to be some difficulties associated with securing resources at external laboratories due to contracting issues, with the exception of the use of other government laboratories (e.g., the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory). Methodologies or agreements should be developed to make this process more efficient and less onerous. One area in which the BFRL has chosen to place its resources is in the development of a first-class large-scale fire testing facility (the proposed Structural Fire Endurance Laboratory). This facility would be large enough to test the performance of full-scale assemblies of interconnected elements, such as the intersection of floor, wall, and roof assemblies. This has been a huge void in the nation’s capabilities, and the BFRL is a logical organization to house such a facility. This need was identified by the BFRL in 2004, but limited progress has been made to date. Preliminary plans should be developed for this facility and cost estimates prepared as soon as possible. Highest priority should be assigned to the development of this facility. Current staff members in the Structures Group are well qualified to conduct the projects now underway. Although staff have the necessary technical expertise to plan and conduct the work, there are serious concerns relative to the attracting, recruiting, training, and retaining of staff for future needs. The BFRL needs to develop a plan that addresses present and future staffing needs, mentoring and staff development, retention strategies, and technical and project management training, and the necessary HR support needs to be provided to implement the plan. A specific impediment to recruiting new staff is the requirement that all staff be U.S. citizens. This limitation significantly reduces an already-limited pool of potential candidates and was frequently mentioned by existing Structures Group staff as a major barrier to recruiting qualified staff. There has been a significant change in personnel within the BFRL, particularly in leadership positions. It is not clear that there have been leadership development opportunities to prepare individuals for this transition to significantly more and different levels of responsibility. The staff at the BFRL is highly technical, and the development of expertise in business management principles is warranted and should be addressed in the overall staffing plan. Individual staff members seem to be driven to maintain expertise in a particular area, enhancing opportunities to be noted and recognized for specific contributions related to a relatively narrow focus area. Part of this motivation appears tied to the metrics used for determining merit raises and promotions (e.g., peer-reviewed publications). If an individual plays a supporting role across a number of areas there is less evidence of the particular individual’s strength or stature, but such efforts may be significantly better overall for program effectiveness. NIST should consider changes in the criteria that it uses for recognizing and rewarding staff in order to encourage cooperation among its experts and their participation in projects in useful supporting roles. 26

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ACHIEVEMENT OF OBJECTIVES AND IMPACT The Structures Group effort has excellent linkage with the BFRL mission. The work of the group has impact as demonstrated by the group’s linkage with Standards Development Organizations and demonstrated success in moving research products to standards and codes (e.g., fire, structural robustness). The BFRL needs to continue to leverage episodic events (e.g., the work on the WTC disaster) to benefit ongoing research and development (R&D). The value of these types of investigations is important to the work at NIST in terms of providing focus to ongoing programs and also of reinforcing the need for the creation and use of multidisciplinary teams of sufficient size to address national needs in the areas of measurement science. The BFRL also needs to gain a better understanding of the economic drivers and barriers (e.g., support of obsolete prescriptive fire-resistance requirements by product manufacturers) as they relate to the implementation of R&D products. The behavioral responses of individuals and institutions to perceived threats and emergencies also need to be factored in to planning and designs. Analysis models based on existing codes (e.g., LS-Dyna, Abaqus, Ansys) should be made available to the public. Time lines and milestones were not presented for most projects reviewed in this area by the panel. (Many projects were apparently slowed down by the demands of the WTC work.) No project has been terminated in recent years— leading to concerns as to whether ongoing projects are reassessed realistically for likely success on a regular basis. This is an example of where the project management techniques used extensively by industry (e.g., Stage-Gate processes) would be beneficial in portfolio management and in obtaining the full potential at the BFRL in project execution. The development and review of technology roadmaps are also essential in carrying out effective project management. It would be useful for the BFRL to develop objective measures of the impact of its work on stakeholders. Some efforts by BFRL scientific personnel to obtain small-funded assignments for themselves and their staff, separate from the overall grant-generation programs of the BFRL, represent an inefficient use of their time. CONCLUSIONS The programs in the Strategic Priority Area of Disaster Resilient Structures and Communities (Hurricanes and Earthquakes) are in general successful with respect to the criteria employed for this assessment. The technical merit of the programs reviewed was consistent with state-of-the-art standards and had a sound tie to the overall BFRL Strategic Priority Areas and a strong tie to codes and standards development. Some progress is needed in the area of data integrity (with regard to the quality of test data and calibrations) as more laboratory work is outsourced. The needs in the area of facilities and equipment have evolved owing to the trend to outsource large-scale structural laboratory tests. This trend to outsourcing is commendable and acceptable to the degree that data integrity and project delivery can be maintained. One area in which outsourcing is not a viable option is that of large-scale structural fire testing. The BFRL is developing plans to add this capability; the laboratory should accelerate the planning effort and 27

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should secure the necessary resources to put the facility in place. In the area of human resources, priorities must be given to developing a long-term staffing plan that addresses the recruiting, training, and retaining of needed talent. This is especially important because staff attrition due to retirement is outpacing recruiting efforts. The process of assessing the achievement of stated project objectives needs clarification and should include the development of systemwide metrics. At the present time, it appears that the achievement of stated objectives is mainly assessed by monitoring program progress against program-developed milestones. Although this process may be effective on a project basis, it may be lacking as an effective methodology for assessing a group of projects with related objectives. The objectives for the reviewed projects support the initiatives outlined in the ACI. 28