NIST, Building Codes and Are We Saver Than Before 9/11?

According to NIST the only three buildings ever to collapse from office fires, were a mere result of planes flying in two of them and simple low heat office fires lasting about 7 hours. Two of the three buildings collapsed in an explosive fashion into their own footprint fractionally slower than free fall and the third building collapsed in an implosive fashion most of it in free fall speed into its own footprint.

NIST gave the advise that building codes should be adapted to prevent these collapses from occurring again and in the following article Dr. Kevin Ryan tries to explore how the building codes have been adapted.

The three buildings discussed were of course the Twin Towers and Building 7 which collapsed in 9/11 after two planes we flown into them by 19 young Muslim “Terrorists”.

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What changes have been made as a result of the World Trade Center (WTC) investigation conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)?  Are tall buildings around the world safe from the risk of global collapse due to fire as described by the official explanations?

In 2008, NIST began claiming that its investigation would help ensure the safety of future buildings.  NIST said that such buildings “should be increasingly resistant to fire, more easily evacuated in emergencies, and safer overall” as a result of the WTC investigation.  Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, the Bush Administration cabinet member in charge of NIST at the time, said –

The lessons learned from the tragic events of 9/11 have yielded stronger building and fire codes for a new generation of safer, more robust buildings across the nation.” [1]http://digwithin.net/2012/09/07/are-tall-buildings-safer/#_edn1″ target=”_blank”>

Is this true?  If so, we should be able to see improvements being made to the design and construction processes for tall buildings around the world.  We should also expect that existing buildings would be evaluated for design problems and retrofitted in an urgent manner to ensure that fires do not bring buildings crashing down as they did on 9/11, killing thousands of unsuspecting victims.

Unfortunately, there are no signs that such design evaluations and retrofit projects have occurred. This is a strong indication that the international building community has not taken the NIST WTC reports seriously.

 Are Tall Buildings Safer As a Result of the NIST WTC Reports?

In a few stunning instances, the NIST findings were never considered at all prior to building design and construction.  An example is the new WTC building 7, which was fully completed in 2006. That same year, NlST spokesman Shyam Sunder was saying “We’ve had trouble getting a handle on building No. 7.”[2]  To clarify, in 2006 NIST had no idea what happened to the original WTC 7, a 47-story skyscraper that was not hit by a plane yet collapsed into its own footprint in a matter of seconds on 9/11. Therefore the new, even taller, WTC 7 could not have incorporated any design or construction changes resulting from the NIST investigation. Apparently people still use the building, however, and do not seem bothered by the risk.

How about for other buildings in New York City and elsewhere, including the widely publicized replacement for WTC 1 being completed this year?  In order to answer that question, we should review a little history behind the NIST WTC investigation.

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