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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 9 Building and Fire Research Laboratory PANEL MEMBERS Arthur E. Bergles, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Chair James B. Comly, General Electric Corporate Research and Development, Vice Chair Mihran S. Agbabian, University of Southern California Thomas L. Anderson, Fluor Daniel Marsha L. Coleman, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc. E. Douglas Dickens, Jr., B.F. Goodrich R&D Center Larry D. Donner, Fire Department, Boulder, Colorado Raymond Friedman, Factory Mutual Research Corporation Irvin Glassman, Princeton University David T. Grimsrud, University of Minnesota Marshall G. Jones, General Electric Corporate Research and Development Daniel D. Kana, Southwest Research Institute John R. Lloyd, Michigan State University Anthony O'Neill, National Fire Protection Association Theodore Provder, The Glidden Company/ICI Paints James R. Quiter, Rolf Jensen and Associates, Inc. Jan P. Skalny, Consultant Hans O. Spauschus, Spauschus Associates, Inc. Glenn S. Tarbox, Bechtel Corporation William G. Travers, Stone & Webster Engineering Forman A. Williams, University of California, San Diego Submitted for the panel by its Chair, Arthur E. Bergles, and its Vice Chair, James B. Comly, this assessment of the fiscal year 1993 activities of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory is based on site visits by individual panel members, a formal meeting of the panel on June 2-3, 1993, and the annual report of the laboratory. LABORATORY OVERVIEW Mission The Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL; Figure 9.1) is dedicated to improving life-cycle quality of constructed facilities by increasing the usefulness, safety, and economy of constructed facilities and reducing the human and economic costs of unwanted fires and earthquakes. The BFRL increases the international competitiveness of U.S. building services and products by advancing building and fire technology. The BFRL performs and supports field, laboratory, and analytical research on the performance of construction materials, components, systems, and practices and on the fundamental processes
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 FIGURE 9.1 Organization and structure of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 underlying the initiation, propagation, and suppression of fires. The BFRL provides technological assistance to governmental, industrial, and other private standards-making, regulation, and decision-making bodies. Strategy BFRL's vision for the construction and fire safety communities includes (1) high-quality constructed facilities supporting international industrial competitiveness and quality of life for the U.S. public, (2) U.S. leadership in global markets for construction products and services, (3) engineered fire safety providing major reductions in losses from fire and in the costs of fire safety, and (4) increased mitigation of the consequences of natural disasters. The goal of the laboratory is to provide the technical basis for substantial improvement in the life cycle performance of constructed facilities by 2010. To achieve this goal the laboratory is planning the following critical program thrusts: Computer integration of construction processes and life cycle stages; High-performance construction materials; Advanced technologies for building operation and control; Reduced fire loss and costs; Reduced impacts of disasters; Energy-efficient, reduced-waste, and recyclable “green” buildings; Metrics for life cycle quality and performance; Advanced construction technologies; and Affordable housing technologies. Work has begun on all but the last three thrusts, and each ongoing thrust involves new activities, cutting across the five divisions of the laboratory. The objectives of the laboratory are (1) world-class measurement and performance prediction technologies to facilitate advances in the construction industry, (2) open systems to enhance the benefits of new technology, (3) knowledge systems to reduce fragmentation, delays, and regulatory burden in the industry, (4) U.S. leadership in setting key international standards, (5) performance standards and conformity assessment for acceptance of beneficial innovations, (6) dissemination of advances through technology transfer centers to aid small- and medium-sized firms, (7) vital collaborations with academic and industrial research colleagues, (8) joint ventures with industry to ensure that customer needs are known and expectations are met, and (9) effective research-to-practice education interfaces to enhance customer service. The BFRL strategy is to deliver maximum impact in these areas from available resources.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Resources BFRL has a staff of 194 full-time employees, including 120 research professionals (55 percent of whom hold a Ph.D.), 39 research associates, and 32 guest researchers. During fiscal year 1993, estimated NIST funding was $11.0 million, with over 30 federal agencies providing an additional $10.1 million and private-sector sponsors an additional $1.4 million. The laboratory commissions 24 academic research grants, mostly in the fire research area. STATUS OF THE LABORATORY BFRL programs support (1) industrial growth based on continuous generation and commercialization of innovations, (2) technology development for constructing high-quality affordable housing, (3) infrastructure services required to regain an economic edge for the United States, (4) innovation and technology development that satisfy regulations at the lowest possible cost, and (5) federal procurement that facilitates commercialization of advanced technologies and minimization of life cycle costs, including environmental, health, and safety costs borne by the public. BFRL programs are in the mainstream of areas targeted by NIST's extramural programs. NIST's Advanced Technology Program (ATP) provides cost-shared grants to industry-led projects in high-risk, high-payoff research developing new, precompetitive generic technologies. Three ATP awards have been made in construction-related areas (lighting, microstructure of thermal insulation, and advanced refrigeration cycles). Further construction-and fire-related ATP proposals are being developed by commercial concerns. NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership provides technical assistance to small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies. Construction and fire community organizations are considering proposing manufacturing technology centers within this program. The panel is concerned that the level of other-agency funding in BFRL remains at nearly 50 percent of BFRL's total funding. Such a relatively large commitment to other-agency requirements combined with extensive involvement in outside activities would seem to distract BFRL from focusing on NIST's primary goals and objectives. BFRL has excellent prospects for budget growth in fiscal year 1994. NIST is reprogramming to BFRL a $1 million increase for earthquake hazard reduction ($0.5 million in 1993 and $0.5 million in 1994) and $0.5 million for advanced refrigeration cycles for alternative refrigerants. The Clinton administration's fiscal year 1994 budget proposal provides increases of $1 million for high-performance materials and systems for infrastructure (as part of the federal Advanced Materials and Processing initiative) and $1.5 million for
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 computer-integrated construction (as part of the federal High Performance Computing and Communications initiative). In total, increases exceed 30 percent over beginning 1993 base funding. These increases provide opportunities for modest enhancements of the Fire Program. Both the Building Program and the Fire Program are well positioned for further growth in fiscal year 1995 to contribute strongly to meeting administration goals. NIST reported to Congress the successful merger of the Center for Building Technology and the Center for Fire Research to form the Building and Fire Research Laboratory. HIGHLIGHTS OF FISCAL YEAR 1993 ACCOMPLISHMENTS Significant accomplishments since the last (fiscal year 1992) panel meeting, as reported in BFRL's “Laboratory Director's Report” (Program Report, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, NIST, June 1993), including the following: Led the private-sector planning group and provided the secretariat for the multiagency Infrastructure-Construction Task Group, working under the auspices of the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, that prepared the nation's High Performance Construction Materials and Systems Program for private-sector and presidential initiatives. The research (to be) involved is estimated to total $2 billion to $4 billion over 10 years. Developed and validated a model for simulating the elastic properties of random porous materials and confirmed that these properties are crucial in understanding the performance of new high-strength concrete. Revised the legislatively mandated Plan for Developing and Adopting Seismic Design and Construction Standards for Lifelines to the satisfaction of the Advisory Committee for the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. The plan will become a basis for the fiscal year 1995 budget proposals of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. Developed a rational, integrated seismic design procedure for design and retrofit of spirally reinforced bridge columns for the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials and the California transit authority (Caltrans) that accounts for time histories of bedrock motions, amplification effects of soil deposits, and nonlinear response of structural elements. Verified the new Consolidated Fire and Smoke Transport (CFAST) model for the spread of fire and the transport of smoke that includes flows through floors and ceilings. Developed and verified in response to user requests, the model includes Navy ship-fire simulation and is based on full-scale fire tests. Put in place a multimillion-dollar, multiyear program (funded by the Air Force) to develop replacements for halogenated
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 fire suppressants that will provide fire safety in aircraft and buildings while avoiding damage to the environment. Demonstrated in the course of a series of laboratory and mesoscale experiments that burning is a rapid and cost-effective method of removing oil spills from the surface of water. This work was done for the U.S. Minerals Management Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. Also, a large-eddy-simulation computer model was developed to understand the dynamics of smoke plume motion and smoke particle deposition. Through laboratory experimentation validated MOIST, a computer model for predicting moisture and heat transfer through multilayer walls or roofs. MOIST has been used to define moisture control practices for manufactured housing and for hotels and motels. Represented the American National Standards Institute in the management of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for construction standards. Arranged for U.S. leadership in ISO standards committees for building performance, concrete, timber, masonry, structural design loads, and building environment design. ASSESSMENT OF BFRL'S STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS The assessment below is organized according to BFRL's critical program thrusts rather than its structure. Computer-Integrated Construction Engineering and construction industries and their clients (owners and operators) need to integrate and automate information on design and construction throughout the life of a facility. Under funding from the fiscal year 1994 federal High Performance Computing and Communications initiative, BFRL will collaborate with NIST's Manufacturing Engineering and Computer Systems laboratories in the study of information and system interfaces. BFRL's approach is based on the special perspectives of the engineering and construction industries and reflects the panel 's fiscal year 1992 recommendation to retain the Computer-Integrated Construction Group as part of BFRL. The ISO Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data (STEP) is critical to integrating and automating the design and automation information. The budget increase projected during fiscal year 1993 will more than double the Computer-Integrated Construction Group 's efforts on information technology for product data exchange. This technology will help the engineering and construction industries design and construct better-performing facilities more rapidly and cost-effectively and improve operating and maintenance efficiency.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Additional funding would provide an opportunity to attract younger staff members to supplement the high-caliber staff already in place. In fiscal year 1992 the panel recommended that BFRL develop strategies to increase collaboration with the U.S. engineering and construction industries. The process industry has now been identified as a partner in developing information models, system interfaces, and exchange protocols. A key element in the planned activities is the creation of an Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Network Testbed. The testbed will be used to develop, test, and demonstrate technologies in process industry applications. This will further strengthen ties with industry. Because these emerging concepts are much more abstract than the computer techniques now typically used, the number of people in the engineering and construction industries who understand them is extremely small and the level of understanding is low. It remains important that BFRL provide intellectual leadership in this field. The recently completed “Guidelines for the Development and Approval of STEP Application Protocols, Version 1.1” for ISO TC184/SC4/WG4 is a good example of this type of leadership. Over the last year the U.S. engineering and construction industries have shown a marked increase in awareness of the importance of STEP technology to their worldwide competitive position and to future economic strength. BFRL's strategy to develop protocols for concurrent engineering applications, shared integrated product databases, and construction automation practices using STEP coincides perfectly with this heightened interest. High-Performance Construction Materials Strategy and Planning The long-term strategy and planning embodied in the High-Performance Construction Materials research have time-based specific milestones and are a major improvement over the strategy document provided to the panel at the fiscal year 1992 program review. The improved planning highlights program goals and product delivery. Milestones should be updated annually. Project Management Anticipated abrupt changes and increases in funding are expected to present major management challenges. Skilled management will be required for increased internal and external funding resources (e.g., industry, consortia, and academia). Care must be taken to avoid the assignment of effective scientists without management aptitude and training to demanding management positions.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Economic Analysis There is a strong need for economic analysis to show program value to industry and Congress. Used successfully in the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program to assess economic loss from acid rain on materials, such an analysis would produce quantitative evidence of returns from successful programs. BFRL plans to use economists to perform such analysis. BFRL's Prediction of Service Life of Coatings Program is an excellent candidate for economic analysis. Quantified benefits should include faster product development and introduction, since these factors lead to improvements in the competitiveness of the industry. Program Leadership and Visibility BFRL needs to ensure the visibility of its work to diverse groups. To do so, BFRL needs to decide more clearly in which programs to lead aggressively and in which to simply follow rapidly. The accreditation and standardization program of the Cement and Concrete Reference Laboratory and the Automated Manufacturing Research Laboratory is well accepted and appreciated by the industry. BFRL is clearly a leader in this area. The Lead Paint Program is another example in which BFRL was a technological leader with high visibility for its customer, the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Prediction of Service Life of Coatings Program has significant potential for high visibility within the coatings industry. Organic Materials The strategy for the Prediction of Service Life of Coatings Program is well conceived and includes yearly milestones and plans for a consortium to facilitate technology transfer. There is a good balance between reliability theory and the study of basic degradative failure mechanisms. International competitiveness is an open issue that needs to be carefully considered and resolved. Using the Consortium on Service-Life Prediction and Coatings Defects as an example, the important questions include, for example, whether U.S.-based and non-U.S.-based multinational companies should be allowed to join the consortium. Coatings are becoming a truly global business. In order for the Prediction of Service Life of Coatings Program to be successful, the industrial consortium being formed must succeed. The Consortium on Service-Life Prediction and Coatings Defects should invite academic involvement in specific program segments, select very capable program managers, and not underestimate the level of effort needed to effectively coordinate internal and external projects. If the Prediction of
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Service Life of Coatings Program succeeds, it would be a jewel in BFRL's collection of technical thrusts. The service-life prediction efforts under way seem sufficient to achieve the 1993 milestones; the measurement methodology and damage mechanism study is progressing well. However, in general, progress is incremental and slow, and additional resources are needed to meet the program's goals. The Lead Paint Program shows excellent technology transfer. BFRL's customer, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, seems to be well satisfied, and BFRL has good visibility as the technical leader. In its fiscal year 1992 report, the panel recommended development of a timely user-friendly computer software package for service-life prediction. BFRL included such a package as part of the Prediction of Service Life of Coatings Program. The panel also recommended that BFRL anticipate when technology will be economically viable for transfer to industry. In response, BFRL is forming a prediction thrust in a proposal that may be funded by an industry consortium. The thrust and the related consortium proposal have specific time-based milestones and deliverables throughout the proposed 10-year program. As of now, the economic advantages claimed are qualitative, but an economist will assess these benefits quantitatively. Finally, the panel questioned the future of such a thrust for Advanced Roofing Materials and Systems. BFRL is continuing to maintain the program until 1995, in order to build tangible industry interest. Inorganic Materials In the Inorganic Building Materials Program the following deserve special mention: (1) The concrete modeling effort is making good progress and is using workshops for technology transfer. (2) The project on concrete durability for nuclear waste storage is a good practical application of BFRL knowledge. (3) The reinforcing bar (rebar) damage study appears to be a good example of quick response to industry's problems, and there is significant potential for economic impact. (4) The rebar study of zinc loss versus protection shows good practical application of BFRL's knowledge and some unique experimental innovation. The quality of the cement and concrete research is high, and its emphasis is well balanced between short- and long-term projects. The long-term plan for concrete modeling should be to extend the research. Outside funding is necessary for the short term. The technical goal needs redefining because the current goal is strictly scientific and has no direct industrial applications. The research should continue to support groups such as the Civil Engineering Research Foundation and the Interagency Committee on Materials, but a technical focus for BFRL's participation should be selected. The program's performance is excellent, as is its coordination with professional societies (for example, the
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 American Society for Testing and Materials and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials) and industry. The concrete and asphalt industries support continuous growth of the program. The program's management approach should be a model for other materials programs. Additional emphasis on technology transfer is called for. Even though the U.S. construction industry has been unreceptive to BFRL's new generation of high-performance concrete, U.S. international trading partners in Europe and elsewhere are adopting BFRL's innovation in their own construction industries. The panel proposes that the same priority be given to “end-use” technology transfer in high-performance concrete as was given to BFRL's computer fire modeling. Every BFRL program plan should have a built-in end-use technology transfer objective. In its fiscal year 1992 report, the panel recommended that a model be developed for specialized concrete formulations. That model would have to be validated by testing over a broad range of formulations. A panel recommendation also called for full-scale testing of the fire resistance of high-performance concrete for high-rise buildings. These tests have not been done. Until they are completed, industry will be unlikely to adopt the high-performance concrete work. Reduced Fire Loss and Costs BFRL performs and supports field, laboratory, and analytical research on the fundamental processes underlying the initiation, propagation, and suppression of fires. The driving purpose is to reduce the human and economic costs of unwanted fires. Program Visibility and Technology Transfer The importance of technology transfer for fire research has been emphasized in previous panel assessments, and BFRL had designated a specific individual responsible for this important function. However, as a result of reorganization and the retirement of key personnel, there is no longer a person who is clearly responsible for technology transfer. Clearer goals for technology transfer need to be established, with definition of targeted audiences such as the building code community, fire services community, and the architectural and building engineering community. Also, the Fire Program's visibility could be increased through participating in educational events at meetings, establishing input to curricula, and providing technical evaluations for hearings on code changes.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Proactive Pursuit of Performance Codes Much of the operating plan for the Fire Program revolves around the important goals of improved fire safety and reduced fire loss. BFRL 's Fire Program also enhances the international competitiveness of U.S. industry. However, several other countries are currently ahead of the United States in transferring from prescriptive building and fire codes to performance-related codes. Much of the technology and the basis for computer modeling for performance codes used by other countries were developed at BFRL. The use of performance codes helps eliminate unnecessary redundancies, allows use of technical alternatives, and permits decreases in cost with no related decreases in safety. Countries with advanced fire practices are able to build facilities at a lower, more competitive cost. Even though other countries have applied BFRL's research in innovative ways, the U.S. construction and code enforcement communities have made little progress in the use of performance codes. Fire Modeling Fire modeling has become a keystone of BFRL's Fire Program. There is a good balance and interaction between zone modeling and field modeling. The two approaches are complementary in that the relatively simple and user-friendly zone models can be upgraded to more accurately account for key physical effects described by the more complete field models. Modeling research offers the opportunity for cooperation between laboratories as various modules are developed for inclusion in both the zone and field models. The extension to three dimensions, and the inclusion of full surface, gaseous radiation, and chemical reactions in the field model, will help in the development of similar models for the zone code. The field model code originated in the Harwell Laboratory, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, and the zone model was developed at NIST, an indication of international cooperation. Education The fire models developed by BFRL are used for fire-safe design as well as in the development of fire scenarios. Users generally need to be trained in the use of the models and to be made aware of the bounds of validity. Fire Prediction with HAZARD and CFAST HAZARD, BFRL's flagship program for predicting fire hazards, is undergoing major revisions that are expected to be complete in fall 1994. Upgrades include an improved graphics and data entry package and the addition of Fireform, a program allowing a quick
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Does BFRL Participate in Joint Programs with Other Laboratories? The laboratory has identified participation in joint programs with other NIST laboratories as crucial to its growth and has made real progress in the form of joint budgetary initiatives with the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL), the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL), the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory (CSTL), and the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (EEEL). BFRL expects to gain substantial support for its effort in high-performance infrastructure materials from MSEL. BFRL is working with CSTL and MSEL in the coatings consortium, and with the MEL, the Computing and Applied Mathematics Laboratory, and others on the Product Data Exchange Specification/Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data, and on virtual manufacturing. There is the possibility of work with EEEL in areas related to small-particle characterization. How Are BFRL's Accomplishments Useful to Other Industries? BFRL has demonstrated that the competencies and technologies of its programs can be useful to industries beyond those generally associated with building and fire. Two recent examples are coatings in the automotive industry and the fire safety of aircraft. Funding from these industries and their constituencies is being sought, with the recognition that care must be taken to ensure that such efforts do not diminish BFRL 's service to its primary customers and constituents. MAJOR FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS--FISCAL YEAR 1993 There is a sense of new possibilities among the BFRL staff, caused by the new attention the National Institute of Standards and Technology is experiencing and by the prospects for new mandates. These offer the possibility of new resources for the first time in many years. The laboratory management has developed an initial formulation of strategy. Their challenge now is to transform this initial formulation into a concrete, workable strategic plan. Other challenges exist. For example, the laboratory will experience inevitable strains as larger, industrially oriented projects requiring time-phased program control become more common and as interactions with industrial firms increase. Also, there are antiquated and decaying facilities that need renovation or renewal. Three major facilities are in urgent need of upgrades: the large-scale fire test facility in Building 205, the 53-meganewton machine, and seven 25-year-old environmental test chambers.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 The panel's detailed findings and recommendations regarding NIST-wide issues, BFRL-wide issues, and individual BFRL programs are presented below. Findings and Recommendations Concerning NIST-wide Issues Data Programs Finding. There are no evident gaps to be addressed in BFRL's use of data programs. BFRL uses data programs from other NIST laboratories (e.g., data on properties of alternative refrigerants) and uses NIST data management systems to manage reference data it generates itself (e.g., data on advanced cement-based materials). Research Balance Finding. BFRL has maintained a reasonable balance between fundamental, standards, and generic technology research. However, the panel fears that overemphasis by BFRL on developing commercially attractive generic technology may divert attention from important fundamental efforts. For example, results from the fundamental soot research are now ready for application to large-flame modeling. However, it is essential that fundamental soot research continue as application proceeds. Recommendation. BFRL should use new core funds partly to maintain its fundamental work, and partly to reduce the necessity to seek other-agency funds that might divert the laboratory from its own strategies. Interaction of Intramural and Extramural Programs Finding. BFRL's client industries have been slow to propose extramural projects to the ATP and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. These programs provide opportunities for BFRL to work more closely with industry. BFRL now plans to encourage ATP proposals in its areas of interest. Strategic Planning Finding. BFRL has made a respectable start toward serious strategic planning. The current BFRL formulation of strategy is an excellent high-level overview; however, more detail is needed to make it an operational strategic plan. Recommendations on strategies and tactics made by the Ad Hoc Industry Task Group convened by BFRL in spring 1993 need to be implemented.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Specific, scheduled milestones and estimation of economic impacts should be included. The strategic plan must address all areas of potential impact, not only impact on the development of technology. Recommendation. BFRL management and staff should collaborate to produce an operational strategic plan covering all of BFRL's activities for fiscal year 1994. Strategies should explicitly address (1) other-agency funding; (2) improved contacts with critical industrial organizations, increased CRADAs, and ATP and other external alliances, and a more proactive role in establishing performance codes and standards; (3) balanced support of industrial competitiveness and public safety; and (4) responses to specific legislative (statutory) requirements (such as the Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 and the recent Earthquake Mitigation Act). Technological Collaboration with Industry Finding. BFRL has many collaborations with industry; however, it could increase its technological collaborations with industrial counterparts and other customers. Interlaboratory Teams Finding. BFRL is adept at participating in and leading interlaboratory teams. Examples include Halon replacement, materials applications, and computational modeling and simulation. Total Quality Management Finding. Total quality management has several elements: (1) identification and dedicated pursuit of key customers, (2) continuous improvement of products, and (3) empowerment of employees to take the initiative with independent decisions and actions. BFRL does reasonably well with the first two elements, although further improvement is still the goal. The third is a complex subject that BFRL is thus far addressing via its all-functions planning team. Experimenting with TQM of its programs is one more mechanism by which BFRL can respond to the expansion of its charter to include industrial competitiveness and to manage any future growth in funding.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Findings and Recommendations Concerning BFRL-wide Issues Full-Scale Fire Test Facility Finding. There is an urgent need to upgrade NIST's fire test facility, Building 205, to allow for full-scale testing to validate technology used in modeling. It is in the competitive interest of the nation to move from prescriptive building and fire codes to performance-based codes as soon as the equivalent levels of effectiveness and public safety can be demonstrated. Local officials and design professionals will not accept performance codes without full-scale demonstration of the models behind them and of their effectiveness. Recommendation. BFRL should upgrade and expand NIST's fire test facility in Building 205. Numerous BFRL programs, including the flagship HAZARD software and various building materials and techniques projects, require full-scale testing before industry and other users will accept BFRL's results. BFRL should seek private or public partnerships in financing if NIST is unable to allocate funds for the upgrade. Mission Statement Finding. As the merger of the former Center for Fire Research and the former Center for Building Technology continues to mature, there is the possibility that support by public safety groups in the fire and building communities will decline. Such a decline would cause reduced political support for programs and reduced acceptance of BFRL's products and services. The fire service community does not automatically link performance prediction, measurement technologies, and industrial competitiveness with enhanced public safety. Recommendation. BFRL should revise its mission statement to feature its major role in enhancing public safety as well as its role in enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. industry. (Featuring “public safety” in BFRL's mission would help the fire service community link enhanced public safety with BFRL's concerns.) Other-Agency Funding Finding. A high percentage of BFRL's funding continues to come from other agencies. Although other-agency funding supports BFRL's technical base, provides a window on national needs, and maintains important strategic relationships, the management of
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 such funding takes substantial staff effort that could be better used in direct work with industry or on scientific projects. Recommendation. As the panel has recommended in previous years, BFRL should reduce its dependence on other-agency funding if direct funding (STRS) from Congress becomes available. Economic Impact Estimates Finding. The panel encourages BFRL to continue to use economic studies to show the potential benefit of its programs. A possible focus for an economic study is the Prediction of Service Life of Coatings Program. Program Management Finding. Increased funding in NIST and BFRL, coupled with an increased focus on influencing industrial competitiveness, will require greater emphasis on program management. Recommendation. BFRL should recruit, select, and train program managers so that it can avoid turning effective scientists into mediocre program managers. Also, BFRL should properly reward scientists, engineers, and program leaders for their strategy development, program management, and technology transfer as well as for their scientific and engineering contributions. Program Visibility, Educational Programs, and Technology Transfer Finding. BFRL's programs are not as widely known as is necessary to optimize their impact on industry and other customers. Recommendation. BFRL should sponsor and train additional selected staff to participate in critical interactions with industry. Recommendation. BFRL's Fire Program should establish a set of strong tutorial programs to reach potential users of its technology and students. The programs should (1) emphasize education in the use of computer products, such as HAZARD, to reduce the likelihood that they will be used incorrectly or inappropriately, (2) be made available at major technical and industrial conferences; and (3) be incorporated into the curricula of universities with provisions to recognize
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 outstanding insight in the use of BFRL's design guides and computer programs. For example, BFRL could make HAZARD available to engineering schools, issue an annual problem in which HAZARD could be used, and award prizes and trips to NIST for the top regional winners. Recommendation. As recommended in previous years, BFRL should increase technology transfer by implementing a specific technology transfer strategy for each program and should create software following the model of HAZARD in other areas (e.g., specialized concrete formulations). Findings and Recommendations for Individual BFRL Programs The panel's recommendations for specific BFRL programs are given in this section, organized according to critical thrusts. Additional discussion of programs can be found in the section “Assessment of BFRL's Strategic Directions.” Computer-Integrated Construction Finding. Computer-integrated construction, one of the most promising programs in BFRL, plans a strategic focus on the process industries in the next phase of work on STEP. This program expects a significant increase in funding in fiscal year 1994. Recommendation. The Computer-Integrated Construction Program should strengthen its industrial interactions through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements and Advanced Technology Program projects. Finding. Consistent with the panel's fiscal year 1992 recommendations, the work on the Advanced Roofing Materials and Systems was delayed. The assessment of the viability of this program should continue. Recommendation. BFRL should continue to maintain a low level of activity on the Advanced Roofing Materials and Systems thrust while seeking industry interest and support. If no such support develops by the end of fiscal year 1994, the program should be abandoned. Finding. The goal of the Inorganic Building Materials Program, “to advance the science and technology of cement and concrete,”
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 needs a tighter program description, a better focus on the user industry it serves, and an indication of anticipated impact. The quality of the cement and concrete research is high, and emphasis is well balanced between short- and long-term projects. Recommendation. BFRL should extend the current focus of the Cement and Concrete Program to include projects of direct importance to U.S. industry. This should include such projects as the validation of the model for specialized concrete formulations over a wide range of formulations, and full-scale testing of fire resistance of high-performance concrete in high-rise buildings. The science should be maintained, but a technical focus should be chosen and the technology be made available to code-and standards-making committees. Reduced Fire Loss and Costs Finding. BFRL's fire modeling codes should be more widely used. Recommendation. To ensure wider use of its fire modeling codes by intended customers, BFRL should strengthen its efforts to (1) validate codes (including full-scale tests), (2) define the bounds of validity of the codes, and (3) make the models more user-friendly. Finding. Several other countries are currently ahead of the United States in transferring from prescriptive building and fire codes to performance-related codes, although much of the technology and the basis for computer modeling for performance codes used by other countries were developed at BFRL. Recommendation. The Fire Program should provide leadership in converting the United States to performance-based building and fire codes. Leadership would involve forging necessary alliances and scheduling achievements. Finding. The Halon Replacement Program is a large, multilaboratory, rapidly paced program to determine the best fire suppressants to replace Halon 1301 for aircraft fire-suppression systems. This program is a model of how to approach and manage solutions to complex technology problems. Recommendation. BFRL should consider whether the techniques and understanding developed in the Halon replacement research have
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 utility for other strategic or commercially important fire scenarios and have implications for future research. Finding. The soot studies in BFRL are excellent science that can be used in models and estimates (of turbulent combustion. The applications, which should be carried out without reducing the basic scientific work, will have a high payoff for years to come. This research provides an opportunity to hire a new Ph.D. researcher to work with world-leading researchers in this program. Recommendation. BFRL should explore ways to increase its promising soot research, including providing additional instrumentation and hiring a young Ph.D. researcher. Reduced Impacts of Disasters Finding. Research on lightly reinforced concrete frames is based on data compiled from tests made elsewhere. Recommendation. BFRL should conduct its own tests on lightly reinforced concrete to verify external data before issuing conclusions. Finding. BFRL has established stronger ties to professional societies and other groups with interests in earthquake engineering. However, these activities do not provide sufficient visibility among BFRL's customers. Recommendation. BFRL should assign a staff person to coordinate a special program for improving the visibility of its programs at selected structural and engineering mechanics conferences. Greater emphasis should be placed on workshops at NIST where leaders from industry are invited to participate in tutorial sessions and are given access to BFRL results. Finding. The Building Materials Division has embarked on a significant program in high-performance concrete and steel. There is worldwide interest in the prospects of standardizing their use for structures in seismic regions. However, there are insufficient data for standardization, and industry is reluctant to use the new technology without adequate codes and standards.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendation. Staff working on high-performance concrete and steel should collaborate with the BFRL's Structures Division to demonstrate the effectiveness of these advanced materials in real structures. Programs in the Structures Division continue to investigate the applications of traditional materials in structures to be constructed in seismic regions. Incorporation of high-performance materials (steel and concrete) in these studies is recommended, with an emphasis on technology and economics. Finding. Following the panel's fiscal year 1992 recommendation, BFRL began to plan a study on the effects of loose objects and inoperative equipment in earthquakes. However, this study does not appear to have high priority and might be cut in subsequent budget sessions. Recommendation. BFRL should place high priority on a 1994 initiative to assess hazards posed by loose objects and inoperative equipment in buildings during earthquakes. Finding. The Chaotic Dynamics Program, funded as exploratory research for 5 years, is now ready for practical application. Recommendation. BFRL should explore industrial interest in a joint endeavor in the practical application of chaotic dynamics. An Advanced Technology Program project might be appropriate. Finding. The 20-year-old 53-meganewton loading machine for large-scale structural tests is unreliable for some studies. The machine's utility could be extended for another 10 to 20 years--in terms of reliability and its capability to serve various anticipated programs--by a renovation estimated to cost up to $200,000. Recommendation. BFRL should renovate the 53-meganewton loading machine, rather than invest in a much more expensive extension of the machine's capability. A renovated machine could service near-term (in this case approximately 10-year) programs in structures and materials while BFRL plans the design and acquisition of new test machines for longer-term applications. Green Buildings Finding. In the Design Assistance Program pioneered by some state governments (e.g., Minnesota), a private building team has
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 access to a design-assistance consulting team that helps it work through designs for low-energy use and improved recyclability. The consulting team is funded by a government agency, and its recommendations are not mandatory; they assist the design team, which retains full project responsibility. Recommendation. BFRL should be the lead NIST laboratory in initiating a Design Assistance Program for energy, materials, and ventilation as an element of its new green buildings initiative. Finding. The global environmental implications of the materials chosen for construction are currently a major issue in the architecture community. Recommendation. Professional societies such as the American Institute of Architects should be asked to participate in the green buildings initiative in order to provide their experience with the practical aspects of building materials, and perhaps their endorsement of the initiative 's recommendations. Finding. BFRL's laboratory equipment for building environment research is unique and of high quality, and it has been assembled over time. The research and testing space is crowded and marginal. Facilities for thermal studies using environmental chambers are antiquated (25 years old) and inefficient, and they need new compressors and modern controls. These seven large chambers serve not only refrigeration machinery but also other activities of the division, such as research on the lighting and thermal environment of buildings. Recommendation. BFRL should refurbish the seven large environmental chambers immediately. An investment of about $2 million will be required to extend the usefulness of the facilities for another 10 to 20 years. Finding. BFRL would benefit from a review of national and international efforts in refrigeration and air conditioning. Recommendation. The division director responsible for the refrigeration and air-conditioning work should be encouraged to visit leading refrigeration and air-conditioning research facilities in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Such a visit would provide benchmarks and technology for BFRL's programs and enhance BFRL's national and international reputation.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Finding. The BFRL ventilation work is important in building energy and “sick building” research and is being pursued with world-class technical ability. About 75 percent of its funding comes from other agencies, a factor that reduces BFRL's freedom to redirect research toward its own mission. Recommendation. The core funding for ventilation research should be increased if other-agency control interferes with BFRL's ability to pursue its own mission.
Representative terms from entire chapter: