At the recent World Standards Day 2018 Hill event in Washington, DC, hosted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), expert discussions focused on codes and standards and their significant role in supporting strong, practicable, and resilient 21st century infrastructure solutions.
The June 14 event, which included 54 attendees (17 of whom were congressional staffers), provided insights on two headlining topic segments: Hazard Mitigation Strategies and the Built Environment. Senior staffers speaking on behalf of representatives Peter Welch (VT) and David McKinley (WV), the chairs of Congress's High Performance Building Caucus, commented on the growing recognition of the importance of investing in infrastructure. Dain Hansen of IAPMO introduced IAPMO CEO and ANSI Chairman of the Board Russ Chaney, who focused his remarks on the importance of public-private partnerships and up-to-date standards and codes to move improvements and innovations forward.
As investments help improve and maintain the U.S. built environment, technically robust standards that reflect the contributions of a wide range of interested experts contribute to the success of both public and privately funded projects. To that end, standards are designed to be continuously monitored and updated, thus supporting the quality and performance that can provide good returns on infrastructure investment.
In addition to expert insights, the World Standards Day event featured exhibits from standards developing organizations ASTM International, IAPMO, the International Code Council (ICC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), as well as from ANSI and NIST.
During their collaborative presentation entitled "Standards: Important Tools for Innovative Infrastructure Solutions," Martina T. Driscoll and Zachary Burns of Wiss, Janney, and Elstner Associates (WJE) spoke on behalf of ASTM International. They explained ASTM's role in supporting industry through standards, which help ensure safety, quality, and reliability of products and processes, and noted that 7,405 ASTM standards have been adopted, used as a reference, or used as the basis of national standards outside of the United States.
Ms. Driscoll focused her comments on the importance of building enclosure inspection as a component of building commissioning, noting the definition contained in ASTM E2927-15, a process focused on "validating during the design phase and verifying during the construction phase that the performance of building enclosure materials, components, assemblies, and systems are designed and installed to meet the Owner's Project Requirements." Mr. Burns reviewed the growing use of drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), as a safer alternative for inspecting existing buildings for needed repairs, particularly building components where access is difficult.
Chiara (Clarissa) Ferraris, leader of the inorganic materials group of the materials and structural systems division of NIST, presented on "Resilience and Innovative Technology," and highlighted materials and structures that are key to resilience and developments in concrete 3D printing. She shared NIST's objective, which includes the development of measurement science tools (metrologies, standards, and guidance documents) for reliable construction.
Ryan Colker of NIBS shared findings on the frequency, costs, and growing impacts of natural disasters, and he discussed benefit cost ratios by hazard and mitigation measure. Mr. Colker also shared insights from NIBS's publication, "Developing Pre-Disaster Resilience Based on Public and Private Incentivization," which notes, "The most cost-effective manner to achieve resilience is through a holistic and integrated set of public, private, and hybrid incentivization programs, including mortgages, insurance, finance, tax incentives and credits, and grants."
He also highlighted recommendations, including investing in mitigation to reduce future federal obligations, and encouraging state and local governments to adopt and enforce the latest building codes.
On behalf ICC, Bryan J. Soukup spoke about building codes as the foundation for resilience, and noted that ICC supports federal legislation and regulations promoting the adoption and proper administration of current codes.
He highlighted FEMA's assessment of buildings post Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma, which found that buildings built using modern codes performed better.
He also noted that the ICC supports the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA).
About World Standards Day
World Standards Day was initially launched in 1970, and is now celebrated by nations around the globe. U.S. activities are organized annually by a planning committee consisting of representatives from the standards and conformity assessment community. ANSI is serving as the event's 2018 administrating organization, in honor of the Institute's 100-year anniversary. The event is co-chaired each year by ANSI and NIST.