ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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NIST Seeks Public Comment on Guidelines for Structural Fire Resistance

New York, Mar 10, 2009

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is inviting interested parties to submit comments on a new draft report providing comprehensive best-practice guidelines for designing building structures to resist major fires. The document, NISTIR 7563, Best Practice Guidelines for Structural Fire Resistance of Concrete and Steel Buildings, was developed in conjunction with the agency’s technical building and fire safety investigations of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster of September 11, 2001.

The 199-page report aims to provide engineers and code enforcement officials with a comprehensive technical resource that will facilitate a performance-based approach to fire resistance design and evaluation of concrete and steel structures. It integrates current best practices in fire resistance engineering in the United States and abroad with state-of-the-art knowledge in fire risk assessment and characterization, material properties and responses at high temperatures, and thermal and structural response calculation methods.

The draft report is the result of a collaborative effort initiated by NIST in response to the WTC disaster that included a three-year building and fire safety investigation into factors contributing to the probable cause or causes of the collapse of the WTC Towers (WTC 1 and 2) and WTC 7. A study of the collapses of WTC towers 1 and 2 was completed in October of 2005. [see related article] As a result of these findings, twenty-three changes in the U.S. model building and fire codes have been adopted.

The final report on WTC 7 was released in November 2008 and identified fire as the primary cause for the building’s collapse. [see related article] As a result, NIST has continued to expand its research in high-priority areas such as prevention of progressive collapse, fire resistance design and retrofit of structures, and fire-resistive coatings for structural steel. With the draft release of NISTIR 7563, the organization is reaching out to the building and fire safety communities and other interested stakeholders for timely consideration of recommendations stemming from the investigation.

All comments and inquiries must be submitted no later than 12 p.m. on April 15, 2009, to Stephen Cauffman, deputy chief of the NIST Materials and Construction Research Division, at or by U.S. mail (100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 8611, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8611).

Additional information about the NIST WTC investigation, including final reports, videos, and background on contributing experts and organizations, is available here.