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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Chapter 7 Building and Fire Research Laboratory
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 PANEL MEMBERS James B. Comly, General Electric Corporate Research and Development, Chair Thomas L. Anderson, Fluor Daniel, Vice Chair Mihran S. Agbabian, University of Southern California Ronald L. Alpert, Factory Mutual Research Lee W. Burgett, Trane Co. Marcia L. Coleman, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc. Arthur E. Cote, National Fire Protection Association E. Douglas Dickens, Jr., B.F. Goodrich Company Larry D. Donner, Fire Department, Boulder, Colorado Anthony E. Fiorato, Portland Cement Association 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 Theodore Provder, Glidden Company/ICI Paints James R. Quiter, Rolf Jensen and Associates, Inc. Hans O. Spauschus, Spauschus Associates, Inc. Glenn S. Tarbox, Bechtel Corporation William G. Travers, Stone & Webster Engineering Corp. Submitted for the panel by its Chair, James B. Comly, and its Vice Chair, Thomas L. Anderson, this assessment of the fiscal year 1994 activities of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory is based on site visits by individual panel members, a formal meeting of the panel on April 19-20, 1994, and the annual report of the laboratory.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 LABORATORY OVERVIEW Mission The Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) mission is to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. industry and public safety through performance prediction and measurement technologies and technical advances that improve the life-cycle quality of constructed facilities. Strategy The BFRL is the national laboratory dedicated to improving the life-cycle quality of constructed facilities. Constructed facilities include buildings of every sort and description and their furnishings in addition to public and private utilities and public works that support business, commerce, industry, and homes. BFRL's customers include suppliers and manufacturers; architecture, engineering, and construction firms; standards writers, code officials, and testing laboratories; the fire services and disaster response community; owners, occupants, and operators of constructed facilities; maintainers and repairers of facilities; finance and insurance industries; and government agencies at local, state, and federal levels. In pursuit of the NIST mission of enhancing the global competitiveness of U.S. industry, BFRL's vision is to be a partner with industry and a catalyst for the reinvention of how life-cycle quality of constructed facilities is provided, a leader in performance prediction and measurement technology related to constructed facilities, and a focal point for underpinning advances in key areas of building technology. In accomplishing this, BFRL seeks to reduce losses from unwanted fires and natural disasters and to reduce the costs of safety by making substantial contributions to the international competitiveness of the construction and fire safety industries, the quality of constructed facilities and their contributions to the competitiveness of U.S. industry, and the quality of people's lives. The strategy for BFRL rests on three interrelated components: (1) connections—BFRL seeks to develop even more effective ways to know and understand customer needs, to involve customers in the development and conduct of programs, and to move products into use through cooperative research, NIST extramural programs, demonstration projects, and other avenues; (2) tools—BFRL seeks to develop performance prediction and measurement tools that will help customers develop, assess, establish, demonstrate, and market improved products and services for the design, construction, and use of facilities and remove trade barriers and overcome industry fragmentation; and (3) base—BFRL seeks to develop new knowledge and the generic underpinnings for the most important advanced technologies. The ongoing technical program of the laboratory involves three thrusts: (1) advanced technologies for construction, which includes high-performance construction materials and systems, construction automation, and earthquake and wind hazard mitigation; (2) advanced fire safety technologies, which includes performance-based fire standards, fire-safe products and materials, advanced fire sensing and suppression, and large/industrial fires; and (3) green buildings technologies, which includes green buildings, alternative refrigerants, halon alternatives, and lead in paint. Each of the three thrusts serves the needs of specified sets of customers and has its own
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 strategic objectives. Detailed technical roadmaps are maintained for each of the programs related to these thrusts. The laboratory 's priorities are set and resources allocated using a broad set of criteria that integrate inputs from customers, NIST management, Congress and the administration, and BFRL staff. Resources BFRL has a staff of 185 full-time employees, including 120 research professionals (53 percent of whom hold a PhD degree), 38 research associates, and 40 guest researchers. During fiscal year 1994, estimated NIST funding is $14.5 million, with over 30 federal agencies providing an additional $10.1 million and private-sector sponsors providing an additional $1.5 million. The laboratory commissions 26 academic research grants, mostly in the fire research area. Assessment of Strategy BFRL strategic planning has made considerable progress since the fiscal year 1993 assessment, and the multifunctional planning team had several documents to show for their work: a strategic plan, a business plan, program structure and draft roadmaps, and project presentations and the director's presentation to the panel. The planning team spoke to numerous customers in each of the customer groups listed above, and a survey by the American Institute of Architects yielded a list of priorities for their clients' needs. The plan produced is consistent with the NIST strategy and assumes substantial increases in NIST Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) funding. Reduced other (federal) agency (OA) funding allows BFRL to choose OA relationships that will further its strategy without distraction from its mission. BFRL plans to use its increased STRS funding for modest (about 11 percent) personnel increases in strategic areas and to support its basic technology and cement its ties with industry by increasing its funding to strategic partners in cooperative projects by a factor of 2.5. BFRL has chosen to place much of its increase in STRS funding in the construction technology program while efforts related solely to fire and green buildings are slated to receive more modest increases. This overall distribution will have the most direct impact on industrial competitiveness; however, the fundamental efforts in fire safety and green buildings technologies will also have a substantial impact on industrial competitiveness. These fundamental efforts must be recognized and nurtured by NIST and BFRL management to retain the stature of BFRL and its scientific and technical reputation. In the long run, BFRL's policy of bringing the talents of its fire safety and green buildings researchers to bear on the construction area, fulfilling important parts of the vision under which building and fire research groups were combined several years ago, will bear the greatest fruit. The roadmaps created for each project area include annual time horizons for the work and the type, scope, and level of funding for each, thus affording a broad picture of the work planned by BFRL through the next 10 years. The strategic planning team is commended for its collaboration on this complex plan, which can be revised regularly as work, the value to
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 customers of individual projects, and the NIST environment unfold and thus is an excellent base from which to work. The panel, however, has not seen plans with timing details for the near term (e.g., quarterly over the next 12 to 18 months), and the review of individual projects revealed little evidence of the plans, leaving the panel to question how much ownership the technical leaders and staff of the laboratory have of these plans and how much daily use the plans get. The most important programs lack a sharp sense of timing; there was no indication of when the results are needed by industry to be useful, nor a sense of urgency in assuring that results are timely so as to have the greatest impact. BFRL convened an ad hoc panel of industry leaders in early 1993 and reported on some preliminary impressions of that group to the panel in 1993. The 1994 panel was surprised to hear nothing more about this ad hoc panel or about any follow-up meetings with any similar group. If the strategic plan presented at the 1994 assessment were to be reviewed with such a group, the level and type of detail in the plan might improve. Assessment of Technical Programs There is a growing sense of excitement in BFRL staff and management, which seems to result from their increased ability to have a positive impact on industry and society, the reduction of OA funding to a strategic level, and the first increased budgets in a number of years. This improved morale is especially important for the more applied groups in BFRL. The scientific excellence of BFRL's programs continues and is increasing in some cases. For example, BFRL's work on carbon monoxide (CO) production in fires represents the best of mission-oriented basic research—it is world-class scientific work in the combustion community and, at the same time, has an impact on important technical problems in practical fire modeling and fire fighting. BFRL has continued to create multidisciplinary project teams effectively, with special efforts since the fiscal year 1993 assessment in the investigation of natural disasters (Hurricane Andrew and the Northridge, California, earthquake) and of cigarette ignition of furniture, halon alternatives for aircraft fire suppression, and protocol and data structure standards for construction data interchange (Initial Graphics Exchange Specification) and for building control networks. BFRL has a large number of industry interactions and joint programs, including those in high-performance construction materials, green buildings, balanced fire safety design, alternative refrigerants, alternatives to halon for fire suppression, and water mist fire suppression. BFRL can support the goal of increased U.S. industrial competitiveness by spearheading the application of performance-based codes in the United States. Performance-based codes can help to decrease the overall cost of building while adding safety and flexibility. To use performance-based codes, engineering models to support them must be available and credible. The computational fire models developed at NIST are used throughout the world and serve as primary engineering background for performance-related code compliance in other countries. Without further validation, however, U.S. code groups and the U.S. building industry are concerned that the models have significant limitations. Full-scale fire tests are essential to validate these models and to demonstrate that validity directly to the building community. The proposed
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 expansion of the full-scale fire test facility in Building 205 is necessary to provide BFRL with the additional space and equipment necessary to perform this critical validation work. BFRL continues to need upgrades of several other major facilities. The old environmental chambers needed for climate control tests and a large-scale structural test facility are likely to be renovated in 1994 or 1995. Laboratory equipment for the High-Performance Construction Materials and Systems Program also needs modernizing and will be covered by current plans. With the exception of the urgent need for major renovation of the large-scale fire test facility, Building 205, BFRL appears to be adequately equipped, under the current NIST facility plans, to fulfill its mission. The Subcommittee on Construction and Building (a component of the Committee on Civilian Industrial Technology [CCIT] of the National Science and Technology Council [NSTC]), which uses civilian input to establish priorities for research and development (R&D) assistance to advance civilian construction technology, is co-chaired by the director of BFRL. This is an excellent opportunity for NIST and BFRL. In these early stages of the establishment of the NSTC, BFRL leadership can have a significant impact. BFRL has helped to establish the subcommittee membership, purpose, and initial direction and is forming links with the Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF) and other similar groups to obtain private-sector input for establishing priorities and for creating public- and private-sector partnerships to foster innovation in construction. The panel encourages NIST and BFRL to take a strong role in driving this effort to success. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for BFRL as a whole. BFRL's strategic plans should focus on key project opportunities and assure that there are plans for substantial and timely industrial impact; a specific technology transfer strategy must be an active part of each project. It is still important in a time of increasing budgets for BFRL to phase out programs that have achieved their immediate goals or that have not led to success. BFRL management should ensure that its strategic planning process provides technical leaders and staff with ownership of strategic plans and a sense of urgency to their completion. Although the success of research programs is difficult to measure, BFRL must expand its efforts to measure the results of its programs through methods such as tallying the number of interactions with industrial customers, number of standards issued on which it has had an impact, and anecdotal “big hits” and summaries of recent impacts as well as through more detailed econometric analyses. In reducing its level of OA funding, BFRL must meet all current obligations to OA customers, reduce OA funding in areas of the least strategic importance to BFRL's mission, and continue to work in strategic partnership with other agencies when it is conducive to BFRL's goals,
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 using OA funding or NIST funding to cement the most useful relationships. For example, BFRL should continue to use federal buildings to demonstrate key technologies to designers, regulators, owners, and users of commercial and industrial buildings. BFRL should recruit top scientists with strong technical and teaming talents suitable to NIST's new role, using NIST's scientific reputation and its new visibility and growth as recruiting tools. BFRL should be able to recruit the best graduates of the best university programs who have a combination of technical excellence, an urgent desire to have an impact on industry, and the personal characteristics to allow them to form alliances and teams with industrial colleagues. NIST has a new and unique opportunity to hire such people, which could have an impact on NIST's culture for years to come. The panel believes that the Building 205 expansion is vital to the mission of BFRL and NIST and is concerned that NIST has not included it in its near-term building plans. A formal review of the need for this facility and possible alternatives should be made soon, as well as a decision on whether to fund the expansion. BFRL Responses to Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendations The BFRL-wide recommendations in the panel's fiscal year 1993 assessment can be divided into several categories: planning and executing funding and program strategy; selecting, motivating, and training technical leaders suited to the cultural change now under way at NIST; and meeting the need for modern full-scale fire test facilities. The response to these has been mixed. As discussed above in the assessment of BFRL's strategy, BFRL's plans for its new STRS funds are correct and are consistent with the new NIST directions. However, there is still a need for specific technology transfer plans tied to each project and for a sense of timing, urgency, and commitment by the laboratory's lead technical people. In fiscal year 1993, the panel recommended recruitment, selection, and training of program leaders from existing BFRL staff for the new style of program that will be needed to work closely with industry. BFRL's response has been to agree that such changes are needed and to point out a few areas where programs are having an impact, but there has been no action to use focused selection and specific training of a number of key people to create the new culture needed to have a powerful impact on industry. More effort and a more organized program of action need to be established across the laboratory to find and train these key people. The panel recommended several facility upgrades, and most of them are apparently in NIST's funding plans. However, the expansion of the large-scale fire test facility, Building 205, is still not in NIST plans. BFRL must continue to pursue this with vigor and urgency, and the panel hopes that NIST management will be able to schedule expansion of this facility for the near future, along with the currently scheduled expansion of other major facilities. Given below are some specific panel recommendations (quoted from the fiscal year 1993 assessment), with BFRL's responses.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 “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” (p. 203). BFRL's STRS funding is proposed to increase from $12.1 million in 1993 to $21.7 million in 1995, a 79 percent increase. These increases will allow support of fundamental research, and strict limitations on staffing levels should lead to substantial decreases in OA funding and to increases in the funds BFRL contracts out for collaborations. “BFRL management and staff should collaborate to produce an operational strategic plan covering all of BFRL's activities for fiscal year 1994. . . .” (p. 204). The panel was presented with BFRL's revised strategic plan. “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 ” (p. 205). BFRL has briefed NIST management on the need for this facility and elicited private-sector interest in sharing the costs of its construction and use and has proposed studies of advance nonintrusive instrumentation for the facility. “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)” (p. 205). The mission has been revised as the panel recommended. “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 ” (p. 206). BFRL responded that it does not need a large cadre of program managers but rather needs its leaders to be effective in relationships with customers. NIST and BFRL are evolving guidelines for development and rewarding of effective program managers. “BFRL should sponsor and train additional selected staff to participate in critical interactions with industry” (p. 206). BFRL has assigned a staff member part time to represent BFRL interests with regard to the model building codes to improve BFRL's visibility and technology transfer. Programs in high-performance construction materials and systems, green buildings technology, cigarette ignition propensity, and balanced fire safety design are receiving substantial attention. Workshops have been conducted to define industry interest in high-performance construction materials and systems and in water mist fire suppression, with attention to the potential for industry support from the Advanced Technology Program. “BFRL's Fire Program should establish a set of strong tutorial programs to reach potential users of its technology and students. . . .” (p. 206). BFRL is not certain that the best way to facilitate or accelerate fire safety engineering and the use of computer-based tools is to aggressively promote its own product. BFRL thinks that an alternative approach, such as building the markets for entrepreneurs to sell models, “courseware,” applications, and adaptations, might be better. “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)” (p. 207). BFRL is endeavoring to build technology transfer explicitly into each project and program.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 ASSESSMENT OF BFRL THRUSTS BFRL organized its presentations to the panel according to its program thrusts rather than along divisional lines; the assessment that follows is organized in a complementary manner. Advanced Technologies for Constructed Facilities Mission BFRL's thrust in advanced technologies for construction includes programs in high-performance construction materials and systems, construction automation, and natural hazard mitigation. The High-Performance Construction Materials and Systems Program seeks to work with industry to facilitate the use of high-performance materials and systems (concrete, steel, and polymer matrix composites) in construction. The Construction Automation Program seeks to develop, with U.S. construction-related industries, advances in technology needed to improve directly the international competitiveness and the life-cycle quality of constructed facilities and their contents and indirectly the productivity of the users and occupants of constructed facilities. The Natural Hazard Mitigation Program is aimed at reducing the economic, human, and business interruption costs associated with natural disasters, specifically earthquake and wind. Strategy In the High-Performance Construction Materials and Systems Program, BFRL's strategy is to provide industry with scientific measures of performance, performance data, design aids, guidelines and criteria needed for reliable and fire-safe construction, and new concepts for structural use. The customers for this effort are design and construction companies, ready-mixed concrete companies, and federal and state agencies. This is envisioned as a 10-year effort involving approximately 24 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff-years per annum. The Construction Automation Program has three components. The first is computer-integrated construction, which specifically addresses the information systems needs of the constructors and owners of process plants in the chemical, hydrocarbon, pharmaceutical, paper, power, and food industries. The second is construction automation and robotics, which addresses underpinning technological needs of construction equipment manufacturers and construction firms for technologies related to site positioning, virtual construction site modeling, head-up display feedback systems for equipment operators, and construction site robots. The third component is building automation systems, which is designed to provide manufacturers of building controls the open-system protocols, fault detection and diagnostic systems, building optimization techniques, and predictive maintenance systems for whole-building control systems, e.g., heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning, fire protection, safety, and security. This program is planned as a 9-year effort at roughly 58 FTE staff-years per annum.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 The strategy of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Program is to provide seismic and wind performance criteria and design standards for buildings and lifeline systems to reduce the vulnerability of the economy and industry to natural disasters. The laboratory has legislated mandates in both earthquake and wind research in response to recent natural disasters. The planned program will provide performance-based seismic design guidelines for new and existing buildings and lifeline structures and postearthquake fire suppression methodologies and an expert-system approach to wind load assessment and structural design. This is a 9-year effort at roughly 20 FTE staff-years per annum. Resources The advanced technologies for construction thrust has estimated fiscal year 1994 funding of $12.9 million, including $2.0 million for high-performance construction materials and systems, $2.2 million for construction automation, and $3.0 million for natural hazard mitigation. Assessment of Strategy There are two major strategic challenges for the High-Performance Construction Materials and Systems Program. First, the industry structure is fragmented and dominated by “low-cost specifier” rather than “life-cycle cost” decision processes, creating serious barriers to technology transfer and commercial use. Second, the breadth and complexity of systems for possible study in this area make further dilution of program effort a real threat as funding increases. Of particular concern is appropriate investment in analysis programs so that a broad array of world-class work can be supported. The panel believes the activity under way in NSTC's Subcommittee on Construction and Building is very important to this program area. It is a tool that can help set national priorities that recognize the importance of life-cycle analysis for constructed facilities, help offset current up-front cost drivers, and create a receptivity to transfer and use of new construction material technology. The principle objectives of the Construction Automation Program are to develop new sensing technologies for real-time site positioning, wide-band telemetry and data acquisition, standards for virtual construction site modeling, and standards and technology for real-time head-up display feedback systems for equipment operators and to demonstrate the efficacy of construction site utility robots. This research is invaluable to the U.S. construction and equipment industry in light of the hundreds of millions of dollars that countries such as Japan have been pouring into similar efforts. A comprehensive, well-funded approach to construction automation at NIST with an effective program of communication and collaboration should gain strong industry support. Entry into this field requires a thorough investigation of the existing state of development before full-scale research is begun. BFRL researchers need to examine alternative site-positioning techniques being developed under the auspices of CERF, automated welding work by Japanese contractors such as Shimizu, and block-laying research by the Army's Civil Engineering Research Laboratory. Inquiries to determine the current state of the art should be made to equipment manufacturers, other federal laboratories such as Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, and the nation's larger engineering and construction companies.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Furthermore, interviews with actual construction site personnel should be included to determine the most likely construction site applications. The Natural Hazard Mitigation Program includes earthquakes, postearthquake fires, and wind. Although the major effort is earthquake hazard mitigation, the panel is pleased to see a program of research on wind effects. The additional consideration of postearthquake fires is very pertinent in view of the fires that devastated a section of San Francisco during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. BFRL's current programs are significant in their importance to NIST's mission. Furthermore, BFRL is engaged in activities that ideally suit its unique position to facilitate consensus building in the building user community at all levels in both the public and private sectors. Assessment of Technical Programs The panel considers the continuing effort of the construction materials reference laboratory to ensure the accuracy of concrete testing laboratories across the United States very important to ensuring the integrity of this testing and of its calibration standards. The panel expects that this activity will become even more important as high-performance concretes are introduced and exploited in structural design. In computer-based knowledge systems, HWYCON, an expert system for predicting concrete durability, will be in users' hands shortly. Its use should improve highway design and repair choices and therefore improve life-cycle costs for these structures. The laboratory's work on modeling of properties and performance of cement-based materials uses a solid fundamental approach to modeling the performance of cement-based materials and, in the panel's considered opinion, is a world-class modeling program. It needs to be supported with experimental verification of model predictions to ensure that model output is reliable. BFRL's structural testing of high-strength concrete should be reassessed in light of recent literature and work outside NIST. The objectives of future tests on shear strength should be refined to reflect current building code provisions. BFRL's studies on the reliability of protective coatings for rebar have determined the cause of failure. The solution to the problem should now be left to coating resin suppliers and applicators and BFRL' s efforts redirected to other problems. The panel believes that the current five-task scope of the Construction Automation Program is a little too ambitious for the planned time and effort. It is likely that the first four tasks alone should form a sufficiently comprehensive program where essentially none exists today. The fifth task, design and application of fully automated autonomous construction robots, represents a significant effort beyond that required for the other four tasks. The panel recommends the fifth task be addressed only as a feasibility study, with possible follow-on effort after successful completion of the other four tasks. The panel notes that all programs in the Natural Hazard Mitigation Program continued apace while a dozen members of the staff took advantage of the Northridge, California, earthquake as a full-scale experiment, learning first-hand by visiting the epicentral area to observe damaged and undamaged structures, buildings, and lifelines.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 BFRL should continue to work with the Interagency Committee on Seismic Safety in Construction in developing estimated costs for evaluation and retrofit of structures in areas of high seismic risk and in drafting a suitable Executive Order for implementation in rehabilitation of existing federal buildings. The lack of an aggressive initiative by the federal government to adopt all-inclusive seismic standards for existing federally owned or leased facilities will send a negative message to private-sector building owners and operators, making it very difficult to achieve the goals of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). The panel urges NIST take leadership to encourage rapid and full adoption of seismic standards for all at-risk federal buildings. Performance of nonstructural systems, operability of emergency equipment, and hazards posed by loose objects and furnishings remain serious seismic safety concerns and the causes of needless business disruptions after earthquakes. BFRL should give higher priority to programs in seismic performance in these areas, in keeping with criticisms leveled at the NEHRP that more be done to implement strategies to reduce earthquake losses. NIST should place a high priority on wind hazard mitigation because of the large amount of structural damage annually resulting from extreme wind conditions. The panel recommends an increase in the scope of the effort to develop a pressure and force coefficient data bank expeditiously, undertake the planned wind tunnel tests, and publish guidelines for retrofit of fixed-base and mobile structures. Although the precast concrete connection test series is nearing completion, BFRL's discussions with building designers and with the construction industry on precast concrete connections should continue unabated. It is this type of exchange that will make technology transfer possible. BFRL Responses to Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendations Give below are some of the panel's fiscal year 1993 recommendations for the advanced technologies for construction thrust (quoted from the fiscal year 1993 assessment), with BFRL's responses. “The Computer-Integrated Construction Program should strengthen its industrial interactions through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements and Advanced Technology Program projects” (p. 207). BFRL is forming a consortium with industry on information exchange in the process industry. “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” (p. 207). BFRL has found strong roofing industry interest in participating in the High-Performance Construction
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Materials and Systems Program, which represents a potential for attracting increased base and industry funding. “BFRL should extend the current focus of the Cement and Concrete Program to include projects of direct importance to U.S. industry. . . . ” (p. 208). BFRL is using increased funds in fiscal year 1994 and 1995 to increase work on effects of constituents and microstructure on durability and on fire resistance and structural resistance for high-performance concrete. “BFRL should conduct its own tests on lightly reinforced concrete to verify external data before issuing conclusions” (p. 209). BFRL has considered tests from a number of institutions and sponsored tests at U.S. universities to support its recommendations but continues to rely on off-site tests for its model verification. Full-scale fire testing of these materials also remains to be done. “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. . . .” (p. 210). Collaboration is proceeding between the Building Materials, Structures, Fire Safety Engineering, and Fire Research Divisions. “BFRL should place high priority on a 1994 initiative to assess hazards posed by loose objects and inoperative equipment in buildings during earthquakes” (p. 210). A study of the seismic performance of building contents in the Northridge earthquake is proceeding. “BFRL should explore industrial interest in a joint endeavor in the practical application of chaotic dynamics. An Advanced Technology Program project might be appropriate” (p. 210). Competence funding for this program ended, and studies are continuing under Navy sponsorship, with prospects for base funding under wind engineering. “BFRL should renovate the 53-meganewton loading machine. . . .” (p. 210). BFRL has prepared a cost estimate and sought funding from NIST facilities renovation funds. Advanced Fire Safety Technologies Mission The mission of the advanced fire safety technologies thrust is to improve the cost-effectiveness of fire safety technologies and services, help build international markets for fire safety products and services, and reduce the burdens of regulation and the losses due to fire on the U.S. economy and society. Strategy The customers for the advanced fire safety technologies thrust are building owners and occupants, codes and standards and fire services organizations, and safety agencies and related manufacturing industries. The strategy for this thrust involves four closely coordinated technical programs: (1) the Performance-Based Fire Standards Program, which emphasizes standards and the technical basis for engineered fire safety to enable and facilitate major improvements in the cost-effectiveness of fire protection in constructed facilities and reduce the time to market for new and improved products and materials; (2) the Fire-Safe Products and Materials Program, which
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 includes joint efforts with industry to link fire performance of materials to molecular design of synthetics, assist the plastics industry to win new international markets, and bring safer, halogen-free products to market sooner; (3) the Advanced Technologies for Fire Sensing and Suppression Program, which seeks to enable constructed facilities of all kinds to achieve truly reliable fire safety with impressive reductions in loss and cost and to open worldwide markets for innovative U.S. technology; and (4) the Large/Industrial Fires Program, which addresses the means to predict, control, and minimize the potential impacts of such events—such fires cannot be tolerated in high value-density, critical industrial facilities. The advanced fire safety technologies thrust is planned for 10 years at about 54 FTE staff-years per annum. Resources Fiscal year 1994 funding for the advanced fire safety technologies thrust is estimated at $5.7 million, including $4.1 million for the Performance-Based Fire Standards Program, $1.0 million for the Fire-Safe Products and Materials Program, and $0.6 million for the Advanced Technologies for Fire Sensing and Suppression Program. Funding for the Large/Industrial Fires Program was still evolving at the time of this assessment. Assessment of Strategy The advanced fire safety technologies thrust needs to be examined in light of the fact that fundamental research in fire safety is no longer being pursued in industrial laboratories owing to substantial reductions in corporate research budgets. NIST has become essentially the sole center for basic research on fire problems in the nation. In recent years, BFRL's fire research programs have developed fundamental research that has begun to elucidate the complex area of fire phenomena. This has attracted and helped train some of the best combustion scientists in the nation. The only other national laboratory with comparable quality staff is the Department of Energy's Combustion Research Facility at Sandia National Laboratories. BFRL's fire research programs are mission-oriented and can also contribute to the understanding of complex fire phenomena, as was made evident to the panel by brief presentations on CO production in full-scale fires and suppression chemistry and halon additives. These programs show promise for continued fundamental efforts at BFRL, which should be able to continue to attract some of the brightest young minds. These efforts can also contribute more to technology transfer than is immediately evident. For example, BFRL's presentation on CO production in full-scale fires gave insight to one panelist from academia who is developing a new type of combuster for clean primary power production and a supersonic transport that also will have reduced NOx and CO emissions to make it suitable for stratospheric flight. If this university research proves successful and industry adopts the new combuster concept, it would be an excellent example of technology transfer from NIST. The current BFRL fire research programs have a corollary in the early fundamental research sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under its space mission. The technology transfer that evolved from the fundamental solutions to problems that arose in the space program are well documented. Efforts to develop fire safety technologies
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 based on fundamental understanding will make similar contributions. Moreover, since the fundamental phenomena underlying fires occur in any process that uses combustion, BFRL's efforts could find use in emission control for power plants, more efficient use of fuels, and synthesis of materials such as diamond coatings. Because its long-range contribution to the nation's competitiveness cannot be underestimated, this aspect of BFRL's fire research programs must be nurtured. From BFRL's roadmap document, it appears that one objective of the Large/Industrial Fires Program is the capability for predicting the effect of industrial conflagrations (fully involved buildings or groups of buildings) on the surrounding environment, whether populated areas or other industrial facilities. This objective, which is justified in the document by a discussion of customer needs, seems well suited to BFRL's unique capabilities and to the federal government's role in protecting our environment and industrial resources. Another objective of the program, however, appears to be the prediction of fire behavior within individual industrial buildings. This objective is not justified in the roadmap document by a customer needs analysis or discussion. Over the last 20 years, in fact, losses from purely fire-related events have been steadily declining as a fraction of all industrial losses because of significant progress made by the private sector in the engineering of industrial fire protection and the leadership of NIST and BFRL in the development of the fundamentals of fire science. The need for a BFRL effort in this area must be carefully justified by more in-depth surveys of potential customers. Assessment of Technical Programs Since carbon monoxide is responsible for the majority of fire deaths, risk assessment models such as those being developed by BFRL require scientifically valid models for CO production. BFRL's project to understand the mechanisms of CO formation and provide appropriate computer algorithms for incorporation into the HAZARD computer program is obviously important if the goals of the Performance-Based Fire Standards Program are to be met. The panel was impressed by the novel use of the fundamental global equivalence ratio concept in characterizing conditions for CO production in the upper layer of the fire room. However, the panel was concerned about the extrapolation of 2/5-scale testing to full-room scenarios. The large-scale fire testing facilities at NIST are not adequate to meet the needs of NIST or the country. NIST has led the world in the development of computational models for prediction of fire phenomena based on testing performed at NIST and elsewhere. To support performance-based codes adequately, acceptable engineering approaches must be available. In fire protection engineering, the computational models being developed at NIST are used throughout the world and serve as a primary engineering foundation for performance-related code compliance in other countries. The models cannot be fully validated, however, until more large-scale testing is performed and documented. Without further validation, BFRL is rightly concerned that the models have significant limitations and should not be applied beyond these boundaries. The fire model validation activity consists of model documentation, sensitivity analysis, experimental data comparison, and reporting requirements. The quality of this activity was very difficult for the panel to assess because of limited information. The proposed evaluation scheme seems very conventional but may lead to a methodology that is widely accepted for validation of
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 fire models. It was not clear to the panel if the scheme is limited to fire models or how it compares with model validation in other fields. BFRL's fire model usability effort seeks to make existing computational fire models simpler to use and accessible from multiple computer platforms. It is an important part of transferring the technology in a form usable by the practitioner. The project also includes development of a simplified Fire Data Management System that will assist the user in finding appropriate test data to use as input to the model or for comparison to outputs. In general, the panel believes the effort is needed and is progressing along the right track. It is a vital step in the process of converting to performance-based codes. The panel has been impressed with the ability of CFAST, the primary fire model in BFRL's HAZARD computer program, both to adapt to models prepared by others and to incorporate those models or algorithms into the CFAST model where appropriate. This modular approach allows portions of the model to be developed elsewhere and could lead to a more unified approach to fire model applications. The panel feels that this capability is being underutilized and that too much concentration is given to developing all portions of the model at NIST. The panel recommends that BFRL consider a return to the more global approach to development of CFAST and encourage and solicit assistance from other sources in improving and expanding the model. This process would be stimulated by allowing outside contributions to remain proprietary while still meeting rigid documentation and computer-architecture requirements. One of the first technical projects in the Large/Industrial Fire Program is the demonstration of nonintrusive methods for the measurement of fire flows within structures for verification of high-resolution fire models. However, many industrial settings where the potential for fire loss is greatest involve enclosed spaces filled with obstructions of various kinds, from stored combustible materials to equipment and process piping; hence, nonintrusive measurement methods may not be usable in an industrial setting where every cubic meter is valuable and open space is a rarity. The panel also notes that new fire detection and alarm systems developed must be very robust and liable to fewer false alarms, as excessive false alarms commonly cause building occupants to ignore fire alarms. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for the advanced fire safety technologies thrust. BFRL should develop a methodology for validation of computer fire models and obtain agreement on the methodology from a broad cross section of the fire-safety engineering and science community, rather than just validation of specific models or submodels. BFRL can help increase the competitiveness of U.S. industry by spearheading the application of performance-based codes in the United States, which can help to decrease the overall cost of a building while adding to safety and flexibility in construction technique.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Expansion of the large-scale fire test facilities in Building 205 is a high priority. NIST should incorporate this expansion into its capital improvement plans and begin construction as soon as possible. BFRL should encourage other laboratories and institutions to participate in further development of fire models and incorporate the work of others where appropriate. A significant effort should be made to survey industry, industrial fire-protection engineering organizations, and industrial fire-research organizations to identify and define needs for the Large/Industrial Fire Program before proceeding further with detailed project planning. BFRL Responses to Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendations Given below are some the panel's fiscal year 1993 recommendations for the advanced fire safety technologies thrust (quoted from the fiscal year 1993 assessment), with BFRL' s responses. “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” (p. 208). BFRL has started a new project to provide validation using large- and small-scale experiments for zone and field models and continues internal and external testing of software prior to release. The current version of HAZARD went through a beta test with over 140 participants. A graphical interface, with point-and-click input and output, is being developed for all software. “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” (p. 208). BFRL is part of an international effort for performance-based fire standards and is working on improvement of the scientific background for fire modeling, modular fire models and more user-friendly software. “BFRL should explore ways to increase its promising soot research, including providing additional instrumentation and hiring a young Ph.D. researcher” (p. 209). Soot studies have continued in a new focus on species production for turbulent flame modeling. A new postdoctoral research associate will provide fresh staffing in this area. A competence proposal has been prepared for improving instrumentation. Green Buildings Technologies Mission The mission of the green buildings technologies thrust is to help U.S. industry provide environmentally compatible constructed facilities and related products and services while improving their overall life-cycle quality and cost-effectiveness.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Strategy The customers of the green buildings technologies thrust include owners and occupants, “green” technology and safety agencies and industries, and related manufacturing industries. The strategy involves four related programs. The Green Buildings Program is concerned with measurements, performance criteria, databases, and assistance to industry leading to improvements in energy efficiency, environmental compatibility (including indoor and outdoor air quality), the use of construction materials and practices amenable to waste reduction, and recycling. A major goal of this thrust is to develop new international markets for products based on cost-, energy-, and environmental-effective life-cycle building concepts. The Lead in Paint Program focuses on field measurement and test methods to accelerate the reduction of impacts from lead paint in existing buildings. The Alternative Refrigerants Program is a joint effort with the U.S. refrigeration industry to lead the way globally to environmentally safe and efficient refrigerants and systems. The Halon Alternatives Program seeks to help industry and government find environmentally acceptable and effective fire extinguishing agents and technology for very high risk aviation, defense, and commercial applications. The green buildings technologies thrust is planned as an 11-year effort, requiring approximately 20 FTE staff-years per annum. Resources Total fiscal year 1994 funding for the green buildings technologies thrust is estimated to be $10.8 million: $3.9 million for the Green Buildings Program, $3.4 million for the Alternative Refrigerants Program, $2.6 million for the Halon Alternatives Program, and $0.9 million for the Lead in Paint Program. Assessment of Strategy Although the direction taken in the Green Buildings Program was not the one suggested by the panel in fiscal year 1993, it appears that the program has made substantial strides. This program has the capacity to excite and attract architects as well as engineers, and it is imperative that these two groups of specialists learn to communicate better if our buildings are to improve. Those directing this program must take care; the program has great visibility but can generate great cynicism if not properly run. The evidence presented to the panel suggests that it is proceeding well. Commitment to milestones, ongoing challenges, and ultimate progress evaluation, which should permeate the organization from top to bottom, are not evident at the individual level. These could be fostered by the prominent display of metrics in the laboratories. Significant commitments are being made to support external standards-making activities, e.g., those sponsored by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Numerous staff members are serving as volunteers on committees to develop consensus standards with NIST support. The expertise contributed to these standards-making activities is highly valued by the
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 organizations sponsoring these efforts, and ultimately by the users of the standards in the private sector, and is an excellent contribution to partnership-building efforts. Assessment of Technical Programs Each of the green buildings technologies activities reviewed had significant relevant contributions to the building construction industry. BFRL's ventilation work (ventilation, indoor air quality [IAQ], and the green buildings activities of the Building Environment Program—Ventilation and Indoor Air) continues to be outstanding. The Green Buildings Program also contributes substantially to ASHRAE/ASTM activities. Two particularly noteworthy projects are the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)-sponsored study of the impacts of forced-air furnaces on IAQ in residences and the update of the airflow and contaminate dispersal simulation program CONTAM to CONTAM93. The CPSC study has the potential to yield valuable insights into pollutant transport and control within houses. When coupled with information about interior duct leakage within the conditioned spaces, it yields important information about pressure differences that can affect the entry of pollutants into houses. CONTAM93 extends the ability to model buildings, which may make modeling IAQ as routine as modeling energy use in buildings. Lighting and acoustics are not addressed in the Green Buildings Program but are certainly principal elements of the indoor environment. Both were dropped as staff reductions were implemented in the early 1980s. With some staff expansion possible, both disciplines should be reevaluated for inclusion. The Alternative Refrigerants Program at NIST is recognized, nationally and internationally, as a premier advanced technology center for the development of basic property information and application concepts related to environmentally friendly working fluids for refrigeration. The strength of this program is undergirded by (1) recent contributions to fundamental information about potential advantages and limitations of refrigerant mixtures; (2) leadership in heat transfer measurements using unique facilities designed and constructed by the group; (3) outreach programs in collaboration with a wide range of industrial and academic concerns regarding refrigeration, air conditioning, and heat pump applications in small and large systems; (4) creation of an R&D team that includes, in addition to the permanent staff, visiting graduate students, professors on sabbatical leave, and engineers from industry; (5) leadership in drawing together other needed scientific skills, such as those required for measurement of thermophysical properties and combustion phenomena, to complement and enhance the program; (6) positive, balanced influence on government rulemaking and standards organizations (e.g., the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Underwriters Laboratories, ASHRAE) regarding alternative refrigerants; and (7) lectures at important national and international conferences and workshops to stimulate application of advanced engineering materials and concepts in the refrigeration industry.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for the green buildings technologies thrust. Lighting and acoustics are certainly principal elements of the indoor environment. Both disciplines should be reevaluated for inclusion in the Green Buildings Program. This evaluation should be part of a complete reassessment of priorities. The Alternative Refrigerants Program needs better balance between in-house funding and industry and OA funding. The facility needs of this group, particularly the environmental chambers, which have more universal use, should receive full consideration when equipment and facility requests are prioritized. Although it was identified as a critical need in fiscal year 1993, no apparent progress has been made toward the refurbishing of the environmental chambers. The priority of the effort should be reaffirmed and planning and approvals published at every opportunity. The technical leader of the Alternative Refrigerants Program should be encouraged to visit leading refrigeration research centers worldwide to inform external organizations about NIST work in this field and further enhance the reputation of the program, to use information exchange from these visits to fine-tune the directions and goals of the NIST program, and to help establish global technology leadership in the fields of refrigeration and air conditioning. The Alternative Refrigerants Program could be strengthened by the addition of a recent and outstanding chemical engineering graduate interested in this field. The Alternative Refrigerants Program should enhance technology transfer by formalizing an exchange of personnel with the U.S. refrigeration industry. BFRL Responses to Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendations Given below are the panel's fiscal year 1993 recommendations for the green buildings thrust (quoted from the fiscal year 1993 assessment), with BFRL's responses. “BFRL should consider whether the techniques and understanding developed in the halon replacement research have utility for other strategic or commercially important fire scenarios and have implications for future research” (pp. 208-209). This new understanding has already had an impact on BFRL's planning for future research on advanced fire suppression, as well as fire sensing. Although some of the techniques have applications mainly to high-strain-rate fires, others are suitable to a broad range of fire and flame behavior studies. “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” (p. 211). As part of the Green Buildings Program, BFRL has assisted in the design of green buildings for Columbia University, the New England Aquarium, the Iowa Wildlife Center, the University of
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Montana, and NIST's new advanced technology laboratories; however, these did not involve design assistance consulting teams. “BFRL should refurbish the seven large environmental chambers immediately. . . .” (p. 211). A cost estimate for the needed work has been developed and is being considered by NIST management. “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” (p. 211). BFRL staff is working with the International Institute for Refrigeration, hosting visitors and guest researchers and making presentations at international meetings to ascertain needs, interests, and accomplishments worldwide. “The core funding for ventilation research should be increased if other-agency control interferes with BFRL's ability to pursue its own mission” (p. 212). Increased internal funding is expected in fiscal year 1995 as part of the green buildings initiative.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: