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Technical Committees and Standards Activities

Disaster-Resilient Structures and Communities

EL's strategic goal for disaster-resilient structures and communities requires active participation in a wide range of standards organizations, dealing with seismic design, structural loads, and structural fire resistance.

Dr. Shyam Sunder serves on the Board of Directors of the Building Seismic Safety Council, established in 1979 by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS)—a Congressionally chartered institution, to develop and promote building earthquake risk mitigation regulatory provisions for the nation by dealing with the complex regulatory, technical, social, and economic issues.

Seismic Design  Dr. John Harris participates in the AISC Committee on Manuals and Textbooks. The committee is responsible for the continual development, review, and maintenance of technical guidance related to the design of structural steel, including the Manual of Steel Construction, Design Guide series, and Seismic Design Manual. Dr. Harris is a member of AISC Task Committee 9 (TC 9) – Seismic Design. The committee is responsible for development of the Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings. He is also active within the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) where he serves on the Seismic Subcommittee (SSC) for ASCE 7 – Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures (TC2 – General Provisions). This committee is responsible for development of the seismic provisions of ASCE 7, and is currently focused on the Risk Targeted Earthquake to replace the Maximum Considered Earthquake, in an effort to make risk the common denominator in design, instead of hazard.

Structural Loads  Dr. Emil Simiu is distinguished member of the ASCE 7 Committee on Minimum Loads on Buildings and Other Structures and a member of its Subcommittee on Wind Loads. He led efforts that resulted in the incorporation in the ASCE 7 standard of a provision allowing the application of database-assisted design within the framework of the wind tunnel method. ASCE 7 has also recently included methods for estimating wind speeds based on the logarithmic law, long advocated by NIST. Proposals based on BFRL research submitted recently have been approved by the ASCE 7-10 Wind Load Subcommittee on the relation between Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale and design wind speeds; database assisted design; and wind directionality effects (per the World Trade Center (WTC) investigation report recommendation). Dr. Simiu also authored, and is monitoring the response to, a NIST appeal concerning the draft ASCE standard on wind tunnel testing, with a view to implementing WTC Investigation recommendations on wind effects on tall buildings. BFRL work was incorporated into the NRC Regulatory Guide 1.76, Design-basis tornado and tornado missiles for nuclear power plants (2006). Dr. Simiu is currently developing, in conjunction with NRC, criteria on hurricane-borne missile speeds. Dr. Simiu is also a member of the ASCE Committee on Temporary Structures.

Dr. Therese McAllister serves as a voting member on the ASCE 7 Standard Main Committee and participates on the General Requirements and Load Combinations Subcommittees. ASCE 7 prescribes the minimum design loads for buildings and other structures and is referenced by the current model building codes.

Dr. Christopher White is an active member of ASTM E54.08 Operational Equipment for Homeland Security. He led the creation of a new standard ASTM WK11343 – New Test Method for Blast Resistance of Trash Receptacles. This standard, the first of three, will be adopted by the Department of Homeland Security. Two additional standards on a specification for the use of blast resistance of trash receptacles are under development. These standards are being developed in response to the expressed needs of both the Department of Homeland Security and the major transit agencies.

Dr. Fahim Sadek represents BFRL on CIB Task Group on Disasters and the Built Environment (TG 63).

Dr. H. S. Lew serves on ACI Committee 318, which is responsible for developing ACI Standard 318 – Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete. Dr. Lew introduced new provisions for adoption by ACI 318. Dr. Lew serves on Subcommittee C for safety, serviceability and analysis. Dr. Lew also serves on the SEI/ASCE Executive Committee on Codes and Standards that oversees the development of 27 standards including A-7 Standard on Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures. He works closely with committees that develop standards for seismic evaluation and rehabilitation of buildings, and structural condition assessment and rehabilitation. He also participates in the SEI/ASCE Committee on Blast Protection of Buildings. The committee develops standards for blast resistance design and construction of new and existing structures.

Dr. John L. Gross serves on the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Committee on Specifications. The committee is responsible for developing requirements for the design, fabrication and erection of steel buildings and publishes the Specification for Structural Steel Buildings. Dr. Gross serves on Technical Subcommittee 3 (TC3) – Loads, Analysis and Systems, and TC8 – Design for Fire.

Structural Fire Resistance  Dr. Long Phan is an active voting member and former Chairman of ACI TC 216 Fire Protection of Concrete & Masonry Structures. While serving as Chairman of the committee, he led the effort to revise ACI standard on fire protection of concrete and masonry structures by incorporating recent knowledge on fire performance of high strength concrete (HSC), obtained from research at NIST and elsewhere, into the standard. Prior to this effort, the standard was only applicable to normal strength concrete. This effort culminated in the publication of ACI 216.1-07 Code Requirements for Determining Fire Resistance of Concrete and Masonry Construction Assemblies in July 2007. Dr. Phan is an active voting member of ASCE Standard Committee 29 Standard Calculation for Structural Fire Protection. He contributed to the revision and publication of ASCE/SEI/SFPE 29-05 Standard Calculation Methods for Structural Fire Protection in 2005. He was recently selected by ASCE to serve as Chairman of the ASCE Fire Protection Committee.

Dr. Phan is also a Senior Member of the International Union of Research and Testing Laboratories for Materials and Structures (RILEM) High Temperature Concrete Committee. This committee issues a series of recommendations on testing of concrete at elevated temperature for possible adoption by international code organizations.

Mr. Dale Bentz is an active participant in ASTM Subcommittee E37.05, where he led the adoption of ASTM E2584-07 Standard Practice for Thermal Conductivity of Materials Using a Thermal Capacitance (Slug) Calorimeter. This practice has been commercialized and also adopted by several private testing laboratories nationwide. Currently, Mr. Bentz is coordinating an interlaboratory study to develop a multi-laboratory precision statement for the standard practice. The specific application for which this test method was developed was sprayed fire resistance materials (SFRM) for structural steel.

Dr. John L. Gross has been appointed to represent the United States (through ANSI) to serve as expert on International Standards Organization ISO/TC 92/SC 4/WG12 – Structures in Fire. ISO TC92 Fire Safety produces internationally accepted standards and documents on fire testing, measurements of fire parameters, fire safety engineering and other related topics. Subcommittee SC4 provides fire safety engineering documents for supporting performance-based design for fire.

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EL staff are actively engaged with technical committees and standards developing organizations (SDOs) that are key to implementing technologies that are aligned with the Laboratory's five strategic goals. Staff members serve on about 130 committees and working groups, many in leadership positions.


Steve Cauffman, Deputy Chief
Materials and Construction Research Division