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Measurement Science for Disaster-Resilient Structures and Communities

The primary activities within the Measurement Science for Disaster-Resilient Structures and Communities Strategic Priority Area relate to earthquake engineering and the performance of structures under multiple hazards. Within the earthquake area, there are three components: the mandated leadership in the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP), earthquake mitigation through in-house research, and earthquake mitigation through extramurally funded projects. Within the multiple hazards area, there are programs related to disproportionate collapse, fire-resistant design and retrofit of structures, and wind and multihazard engineering. An outgrowth of the fire program is the planned National Structural Fire Resistance Laboratory. An outgrowth of the National Construction Safety Team Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-231) is the new initiative related to a database for disaster and failure events. The panel reviewed extensive documentation made available prior to the meeting and heard comprehensive presentations by BFRL staff on approximately 15 research programs.

The BFRL divisions and offices active in this area are the Materials and Construction Research Division, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Office, and the Office of Applied Economics.

TECHNICAL MERIT RELATIVE TO STATE OF THE ART

Earthquake Engineering

Activities Mandated by NIST Leadership of the NEHRP

NIST assumed the leadership of the NEHRP in 2005. Since 2008, the Director of the NEHRP appears to have discharged on a timely basis all mandated requirements under this program and has strengthened institutional ties with other cognizant federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Science Foundation. New staff members hired for earthquake engineering research (see the following subsection) have played a critical role in assisting the director in discharging these responsibilities, allowing him time for strategic planning. This activity remains relevant to the need to reduce seismic risk in urban areas. The Director of NIST chairs the NEHRP Interagency Coordinating Committee and plays a key role in anticipating future research and implementation needs. The program is funded at an adequate level to meet its obligations under NEHRP.

Projects on Risk Mitigation

Earthquake-related research, both through internal and external projects, serves primarily to improve building codes and standards and construction practices. One of the



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5 Measurement Science for Disaster-Resilient Structures and Communities The primary activities within the Measurement Science for Disaster-Resilient Structures and Communities Strategic Priority Area relate to earthquake engineering and the performance of structures under multiple hazards. Within the earthquake area, there are three components: the mandated leadership in the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP), earthquake mitigation through in-house research, and earthquake mitigation through extramurally funded projects. Within the multiple hazards area, there are programs related to disproportionate collapse, fire-resistant design and retrofit of structures, and wind and multihazard engineering. An outgrowth of the fire program is the planned National Structural Fire Resistance Laboratory. An outgrowth of the National Construction Safety Team Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-231) is the new initiative related to a database for disaster and failure events. The panel reviewed extensive documentation made available prior to the meeting and heard comprehensive presentations by BFRL staff on approximately 15 research programs. The BFRL divisions and offices active in this area are the Materials and Construction Research Division, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Office, and the Office of Applied Economics. TECHNICAL MERIT RELATIVE TO STATE OF THE ART Earthquake Engineering Activities Mandated by NIST Leadership of the NEHRP NIST assumed the leadership of the NEHRP in 2005. Since 2008, the Director of the NEHRP appears to have discharged on a timely basis all mandated requirements under this program and has strengthened institutional ties with other cognizant federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Science Foundation. New staff members hired for earthquake engineering research (see the following subsection) have played a critical role in assisting the director in discharging these responsibilities, allowing him time for strategic planning. This activity remains relevant to the need to reduce seismic risk in urban areas. The Director of NIST chairs the NEHRP Interagency Coordinating Committee and plays a key role in anticipating future research and implementation needs. The program is funded at an adequate level to meet its obligations under NEHRP. Projects on Risk Mitigation Earthquake-related research, both through internal and external projects, serves primarily to improve building codes and standards and construction practices. One of the 28

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most significant accomplishments of the past 2 years is in the hiring of six outstanding professional and support staff members. In a relatively short period of time, the research staff has undertaken a broad range of projects, from the so-called ATC Roadmap10 intended to bridge the gap between scientific earthquake analysis and engineering practice, to assessment of first-generation seismic design methods and the development of efficient nonlinear seismic measurement science tools. It is appropriate that the effort related to nonlinear measurement science tools will be subject to peer review in the coming year. Through the NEHRP Consultants Joint Venture, 12 contract task orders have been issued on projects related to quantification of the seismic performance of building and other civil infrastructure systems. The technical caliber of the in-house staff and the NEHRP consultants is very high; the projects are relevant owing to the involvement of practitioners in the work orders; and the BFRL has anticipated the research needs to implement performance-based earthquake engineering. The budget appears to be adequate to meet programmatic objectives. The stature of the NEHRP consultant group ensures that the work products are likely to be implemented in professional practice. Performance of Structures Under Multiple Hazards The programs within this Strategic Priority Area build on NIST expertise relating to the performance of structures subject to extreme events and deal with issues and behavior that the private sector has been reluctant to undertake. These activities are focused on progressive collapse and fire-resistant design, are exemplary of those types of projects, and are clearly within the NIST mission. The program in wind engineering is similarly internationally well recognized and has been a significant driver in the past 30 years in the advancement of wind load provisions in ASCE 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures. The research program on disproportionate collapse has been in progress for a number of years, has both experimental and analytical components, and has resulted in a number of significant research projects that have been introduced to the code community. This program is quite mature. Although the ongoing work to implement these recommendations in design practice is commendable, effort should be devoted to anticipating the needs of the structural design community in setting the research goals and challenges that the program will address in the next 3 to 5 years. There has been long-standing competence in the area of fire at NIST, and the activities in fire-resistant structural design have accelerated in the years since the investigations into the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. With the plans for the construction of the new National Structural Fire Resistance Laboratory underway, the activities are now at the point of making the BFRL a unique international resource in this area. The technical caliber of the research being performed is exceptionally high, highly relevant to national needs in the area of risk mitigation, and interdisciplinary in the most positive sense of the word. It also provides the general public and decision makers with highly favorable exposure to NIST research, generating enthusiastic support for the role of NIST in building technology. The substantial commitment of funding through the ARRA for the NSFRL is a reflection of the high value that has been placed on the fire 10 Applied Technology Council (ATC), The Missing Piece: Improving Seismic Design and Construction Practices, ATC-57, 2003. See http://www.ATCouncil.org. Accessed June 1, 2010. 29

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program, but the one-time infusion of funds raises concern relative to the match between funding and sustained operation. These concerns are discussed in detail in the following subsection related to the new laboratory. The Wind Engineering and Multi-Hazard Failure Analysis Program is managed by exceptionally well-qualified staff. While resources to perform analytical studies are adequate at the present time, the wind research program continues to be handicapped by the lack of a wind tunnel that might be used to validate some of the analytical studies with carefully designed experimental studies. Research partnerships with universities may provide a mechanism for supporting experimentation. The staff have well- established links to code and standards committees, are internationally well recognized, and are of the highest scientific quality. The long-term research to integrate wind and storm surge addresses a national risk-mitigation need. National Structural Fire Resistance Laboratory The NSFRL is being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The need for this world-class facility was identified at the time of the investigation of the collapse of the WTC buildings, and planning has been underway for the past several years. The design is now complete, and the construction contract is expected to be awarded in the fall of 2010, with construction planned for October 2010 to November 2011. This facility will be unique and will offer long-term support to structural fire engineering in the United States and internationally. The prospect of having this facility at NIST is exciting. However, a number of operational issues on the horizon require attention. NIST management must recognize appropriately the burden that this construction project will place on NIST technical staff. An immediate priority will be the development and implementation of a staffing plan, including the hiring of a facility manager with the authority to conduct shakedown testing of the laboratory when it is completed. There is also need for the development of a model for the sustained operation of this significant capital investment, involving the coordination of in-house and extramural activities and a protocol for the selection of extramural projects and collaborative activities. The BFRL should develop its own model for the selection of extramural research projects and should not be guided by the criteria or preferences of any other federal agency or private concern. It will be necessary to have continued collaboration with the Fire Research Division of the BFRL. Disaster and Failure Events Studies and Data Archiving The initiative on Disaster and Failure Events Studies and Data Archiving is an outgrowth of the National Construction Safety Team Act of 2002, which authorizes NIST to establish and deploy teams to investigate building failures. This recent initiative builds on and organizes BFRL’s previous episodic involvement in post-incident disaster and failure studies over the past three decades and provides a formal structure for archiving the lessons learned from those studies. This program is still in the planning stages, and staff is working to establish criteria for performing initial reconnaissance, full reconnaissance, and technical investigations; to establish protocols for the collection and preservation of data; and to develop database management tools. 30

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This program will be a high-visibility initiative of the BFRL, but at this stage of program development, several items require careful consideration. Perhaps most important is the impact that this mandated activity will have on the professional staff and on their ability to continue to discharge ongoing programmatic responsibilities at BFRL effectively, in view of the episodic nature of the investigations. An office will be established to manage and coordinate the efforts of this program. Some investigations will be performed by existing BFRL technical staff, but others might be contracted out as needs dictate. These investigations may place burdens on existing technical staff, and the quality assurance for those investigations that are contracted out will ultimately receive close review by NIST. An additional concern relates to the criteria for selecting the results of non-BFRL- coordinated investigations for inclusion in the database and the need for maintaining the integrity and credibility of such data over which the BFRL will have no control. A continuing concern will be the maintenance of the integrity and credibility of the database itself. A protocol must be developed for balancing the need for public access to the database and complying with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, while at the same time maintaining the security of potentially sensitive data. The scope of the building performance data is structural failures, as mandated by Congress. The BFRL should consider collecting other data of interest to the building community and useful in the support of ongoing BFRL research programs, including information on the serviceability and durability of building products. The maintenance of this database should consider the context of the evolution of Building Information Management systems. Summary The work being done within the Measurement Science for Disaster-Resilient Structures and Communities Strategic Priority Area is at the state-of-the-art level. The quality of the work is demonstrated by the publication of the research in the archival literature and the recognition of research products in codes and standards. The work is relevant to the BFRL mission, and the ties to the external community are uniformly strong across the three major thrust areas. ADEQUACY OF INFRASTRUCTURE At the time of the 2008 panel review, the primary focus was the development of advanced computational models, and some hardware and software constraints were noted. In the past 2 years, the program has grown to include structural testing and the validation of models, and the issue of computational limitations was not raised. Computational resources appear to be adequate. The BFRL has made remarkable progress in the development of its National Structural Fire Resistance Laboratory which, on completion, will fill a huge void in the nation’s capability for performing such fire testing. Priority should be given to completing this facility on schedule and to developing a management plan for its successful operation. Current professional staff in the Materials and Construction Research Division is well qualified to conduct the projects envisioned or underway. The recent hiring progress in the earthquake program since the 2008 panel visit is encouraging. Concerns remain 31

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about the recruiting and retaining of staff for future projects. A number of the key personnel in high-visibility programs are likely to retire within the next 3 to 5 years. To the extent that certain of these programs are strongly dependent on the capabilities and leadership of single individuals, it is imperative that a plan be developed for maintaining the momentum of those projects. BFRL management should consider developing a formal succession planning program for technical staff in key programmatic areas. ACHIEVEMENT OF OBJECTIVES AND IMPACT The Materials and Construction Research Division has excellent linkage with the BFRL mission. The work of the division’s professional staff has achieved significant recognition in the building and codes and standards community, and the staff has been successful in moving research products into standards. For continued success in achieving these impacts, efforts should continue to focus on implementing performance-based standards and integrating life-cycle concepts into building design and construction practices. An important issue is the development of metrics for performance-based engineering for a range of natural and human-made hazards. The earthquake program has accepted the performance metrics being developed by the Applied Technology Council for performance-based seismic design. Although this decision is appropriate, the application of these seismic-design-based metrics to other hazards is questionable. Moreover, in the general area of performance-based engineering, there are many levels of performance short of collapse that are significant issues for structural engineers, architects, and building occupants. The BFRL has the opportunity to take a leadership role in developing these more encompassing performance metrics. This effort will require nontraditional expertise. In the fire area, in particular, the move from prescriptive to performance-based standards will encounter significant resistance from current stakeholders. Nonetheless, BFRL staff should continue their efforts in this direction. In the area of natural and human-made hazard mitigation, the issues of cost versus benefits and life-cycle analysis of alternate strategies are continuing concerns. During the current review, the BRFL staff did not evince recognition of these issues. For this work to be ultimately accepted in building codes, the issue of costs and benefits must be addressed. The BFRL research staff, in conjunction with BFRL’s Office of Applied Economics, has the unique ability to address this problem in the public interest. (There is a more detailed description of the OAE in Chapter 7, “Overarching Issues.”) The validation of high-fidelity analytical models is an underlying theme in several of the high-visibility projects. There is need for validation, but reservations about validating one computational model against another should be considered. Moreover, there is no evidence that sources of epistemic uncertainty, inherent in any analytical model regardless of scale, have been properly incorporated into the validation process. The investigators in projects in which the validation of computational models is a major research thrust should be cautious in their approach. The renewed interest in experimental research, represented especially by the NSFRL, offers more important tools for performing this validation. No nuclear plants have been designed in the United States for nearly 30 years, and codes and standards are out of date. Therefore, there is an opportunity for the BFRL to 32

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have a significant impact on the development of design and construction standards for nuclear energy facilities. CONCLUSIONS The primary activities in the Strategic Priority Area of Measurement Science for Disaster-Resilient Structures and Communities revolve around earthquake engineering and the performance of structures under multiple natural and human-made hazards. These programs build on BFRL technical achievements and contribute to a tradition of excellence sustained over a period of many years. They are widely recognized nationally and internationally, and their research products have had a significant impact on building codes and standards. The professional staff is highly capable, and the research products continue to maintain a level of technical excellence. However, there is need for a structured succession planning exercise in key areas to sustain program momentum as key staff members retire during the next several years. Two recent initiatives will leverage the established expertise of the BFRL technical staff. The National Structural Fire Resistance Laboratory is a marvelous opportunity to create a unique, world-class testing facility to support improvements in fire engineering. The Disaster and Failure Events Studies and Data Archiving initiative undoubtedly will have high visibility and, if successful, will engender valuable public and political support for BFRL research programs. Both initiatives may place heavy demands on current BFRL staff, detracting from their traditional research responsibilities and accomplishments if not carefully managed. These initiatives should be carefully managed and scrutinized as they develop. There is a proper balance between mandated programs, continuing research, and new initiatives. Within the general area of performance-based engineering, there is a need to better integrate concepts of life-cycle analysis and sustainability into building performance assessment. Attention should be given to the study of appropriate and encompassing performance metrics beyond those being developed in connection with performance-based earthquake engineering. The BFRL should examine and define its role with respect to the current and anticipated rebirth of nuclear power. RECOMMENDATIONS The recommendations of the panel based on its assessment of the Strategic Priority Area of Measurement Science for Disaster-Resilient Structures and Communities are as follows:  BFRL management should develop a formal succession planning program for technical staff in key programmatic areas.  For the NSFRL construction project, an immediate priority will be the development and implementation of a staffing plan, including the hiring of a facility manager with the authority to conduct shakedown testing of the laboratory when it is completed. A model for the sustained operation of the NSFRL should be developed, involving the coordination of in-house and extramural activities and a protocol for the selection of extramural projects and collaborative activities. The BFRL should develop its own model for the 33

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selection of extramural research projects. Continued collaboration with the Fire Research Division of the BFRL will be needed.  The outcomes of the Disaster and Failure Events Studies and Data Archiving program will need to be carefully managed to achieve its potential. A protocol must be developed for balancing the needs for public access to the database and compliance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, with the need for maintaining the security of potentially sensitive data. The BFRL should consider collecting other data that are of interest to the building community and useful in the support of ongoing BFRL research programs, including information on the serviceability and durability of building products.  Both of these activities may place heavy demands on current BFRL staff, detracting from their traditional research responsibilities and accomplishments, so these initiatives should be carefully managed and scrutinized as they develop, to avoid such problems.  Within the general area of performance-based engineering, there is a need to better integrate concepts of life-cycle analysis and sustainability into building performance assessment. Attention should be given to the study of appropriate and encompassing performance metrics beyond those being developed in connection with performance-based earthquake engineering. The BFRL should examine and define its role with respect to the current and anticipated rebirth of nuclear power facilities—it could have a significant impact on the development of design and construction standards.  Priority should be given to completing the National Structural Fire Resistance Laboratory on schedule and developing a management plan for its successful operation.  The investigators in projects in which the validation of computational models is a major research thrust should be cautious in their approach. The renewed interest in experimental research, represented especially by the NSFRL, offers important tools for performing this validation.  The wind research program continues to be handicapped by the lack of a wind tunnel. Consideration should be given to research partnerships with universities that may provide a mechanism for supporting experimentation. 34