The U.S. Commerce Departmentâ€™s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today called on the organizations that develop building and fire safety codes, standards and practicesâ€”and the state and local agencies that adopt themâ€”to make specific changes to improve the safety of tall buildings, their occupants and first responders. The recommendations result from the agencyâ€™s investigation of the fires and collapses of New York Cityâ€™s World Trade Center (WTC) towers following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Based on the findings of the most detailed examination of a building failure ever conducted, NIST is making 30 recommendations. â€œWe believe these recommendations are both realistic and achievable within a reasonable period of time, and should greatly improve the way people design, construct, maintain and use buildings, especially high-rises,â€ said WTC Lead Investigator Shyam Sunder at a press briefing in New York City. â€œThe recommendations also should lead to safer and more effective building evacuations and emergency responses. However, improvements will only be realized if they are acted upon by the appropriate organizations.â€
The recommendations, contained within 43 draft reports (totaling some 10,000 pages) released today for a six-week public comment period, 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.
The recommendations (see the NIST WTC Web site at http://wtc.nist.gov for the complete list) are divided into eight groups: