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NIST To Carry Out Two-Year, Multi-Million Dollar Federal Investigation Into World Trade Center Collapse

Several ANSI Members to Offer Expertise During Investigation

New York, Aug 28, 2002

As the one-year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) approaches, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a non-regulatory agency of the Department of Commerce and ANSI member, recently announced the details of its $16 million, two-year federal building and fire safety investigation into the structural failure and subsequent collapse of WTC Buildings 1 and 2 ("The Twin Towers") and WTC Building 7.

The investigation, which has been supported by the recent passage of an emergency supplemental appropriations bill, will focus on the building construction, the materials used and all of the technical conditions that contributed to the outcome of the WTC disaster. The study will involve the participation of experts from industry, academia and other laboratories, complementing NIST's own in-house capabilities.

Demonstrating the effectiveness of cooperation between the private and public sectors, NIST will also draw on the expertise of a private-sector coalition that includes professionals from the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (SEI/ACSE), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) - all of which are ANSI members. NIST will also maintain liaison with the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPA), the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY), as well as other industry organizations, standards and codes bodies. Additionally, NIST will keep contact with the families of building occupants and first responders, and organizations representing families of victims.

Arden L. Bement Jr., Director of NIST, explained, "The lessons to be learned from this investigation are critical to understanding what core reforms are needed to make tall buildings safer nationwide, enhance the safety of fire and emergency responders, better protect occupants and provide better emergency response capabilities and procedures for future disasters."

NIST has already completed much of the planning work for the investigation and has consulted extensively with the public regarding the scope of its investigation.

NIST expects to complete its investigation and issue a final report within an estimated twenty-four months from the start of the program. The investigation is part of a broader NIST response plan to the WTC disaster. Please click here for more information.

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