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NIST National Construction Safety Team Releases Final Report on the Collapses of the World Trade Center Tower


New York, Oct 26, 2005

The final report from the most detailed examination of a building failure ever conducted was released today at a hearing of the House Science Committee by William Jeffrey, director of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Featured in the report are 30 recommendations designed to improve the safety of tall buildings, their occupants and first responders. Jeffrey called on the organizations that develop building and fire safety codes, standards and practices— and the state and local agencies that adopt them—to give immediate and serious consideration to implementing the report’s recommendations, which resulted from the investigation of the fires and collapses of New York City’s World Trade Center (WTC) towers following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Jeffrey said that NIST believes its recommendations are realistic, appropriate and achievable within a reasonable period of time. However, he cautioned that improvements would only be realized if they are acted upon by the appropriate organizations. To facilitate this effort, NIST to date has:

  • identified specific codes, standards and practices affected by each of the 30 recommendations in the final WTC towers report;
  • reached out to the organizations responsible for making changes to expedite consideration of and action on the recommendations (for example, NIST held a major technical conference on the recommendations in September 2005 attended by over 200 people, including representatives from all major standards and codes development organizations); and
  • awarded a contract to the non-profit National Institute of Building Sciences to turn many of the recommendations into code language suitable for submission of code change proposals to the two national model code developers, the National Fire Protection Association and the International Code Council.

The NIST recommendations released today are contained within 43 separate reports (totaling some 10,000 pages) that cover:

  • specific improvements to building standards, codes and practices;
  • changes to, or the establishment of, evacuation and emergency response procedures; and
  • research and other appropriate actions needed to help prevent future building failures.

Based on nearly 500 comments received during the six-week public review period following the release of the draft WTC towers report on June 23, 2005, the reports—including some of the recommendations—were amended and clarified.

To view the complete set of comments, the full version of the final recommendations and the complete NIST press release, visit http://wtc.nist.gov.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel