The panel presents the following major observations.
The technical merit of the work performed in the BFRL is very high. The current array of programs forms a coherent and unified whole in support of the emerging national construction technology goals for research and development.
The outlook for the laboratory's major facilities has improved drastically over the past year. Repairs have begun on the environmental chambers, and the laboratory is looking into potential National Science Foundation support for the large-scale structural testing facility. The panel is also particularly pleased to report that the renovation of the Fire Test Facility in Building 205 will strengthen the laboratory's capabilities and is critical to fulfilling the laboratory's mission in measurements, standards, and public safety.
The success strategy that has evolved over the last few years is very sound. A solid strategic plan is in place, 10 objectives have been defined, and the panel commends the laboratory for moving from an output focus to an outcome focus.
Although the panel perceives the programmatic restructuring to be appropriate, the laboratory is merely at the beginning of the adjustment process for the reorganization. Issues relating to staff morale and prioritization will require careful attention. A clearer demonstration of the connections between each laboratory project and the 10 objectives might help to ensure a smooth transition and enable the panel to perform a thorough assessment.