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National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Coordination Project

Summary:

NIST has been designated by Congress as the Lead Agency for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). This project supports the NEHRP Lead Agency coordination of NEHRP research and implementation activities for the four NEHRP agencies – the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NIST, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the US Geological Survey (USGS). This project also supports management of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) Earthquake Risk Reduction in Buildings and Infrastructure R&D Program and conduct of the EL Disaster and Failure Studies Program.

Description:

Objective: This project performs the Congressionally-mandated NIST Engineering Laboratory (EL) National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Lead Agency role of coordinating NEHRP activities, provides leadership for the EL Earthquake Risk Reduction in Buildings and Infrastructure Program, and support the EL Disaster and Failure Studies Program.

What is the new technical idea? This project focuses less on specific technical objectives and more on program coordination, management, and leadership. The US Congress requires four agencies to perform coordinated earthquake-related research and implementation activities under the umbrella of NEHRP. The agencies include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NIST, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the US Geological Survey.

NIST was directed in the 2004 reauthorization of NEHRP[1] (Public Law, PL, 108-360) to perform as Program Lead Agency. To support this statutory responsibility and provide leadership for its NEHRP-related research, NIST established the NEHRP Office. Specific statutory EL NEHRP responsibilities include supporting the NEHRP Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC), the NEHRP senior leadership body; supporting the Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR), which provides the ICC with expert assessments on earthquake engineering trends and developments and on NEHRP effectiveness, management, and coordination; developing and updating NEHRP strategic and management plans; developing annual coordinated interagency budgets; maintaining the NEHRP web site, and submitting ICC-approved annual reports on NEHRP activities. A small in-house staff consisting of a Director, a Deputy Director, a Management/Program Analyst, and an Administrative Assistant performs these functions. The Management/Program Analyst and Administrative Assistant also support other NIST EL statutory programs (Disaster and Failure Studies/National Construction Safety Team, and National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program). In addition to the in-house staff, contractor administrative assistance is provided for the NEHRP Office.

What is the research plan? NEHRP is a research and implementation (knowledge transfer) partnership. The NEHRP Strategic Plan[2] outlines the global NEHRP agenda. The Plan has three Strategic Goals – (A) improve understanding of earthquake processes and impacts; (B) develop cost-effective measures to reduce earthquake impacts in individuals, the built environment, and society-at-large; and, (C) improve the earthquake resilience of communities nationwide. Each of these goals has four or six major objectives, many of which require significant interactions among the NEHRP agencies.

The Strategic Plan also outlines nine strategic priorities that will receive increased emphasis if resources are available to support them:

  • Fully implement the USGS Advanced National Seismic System.
  • Improve techniques for evaluating and rehabilitating existing buildings.
  • Further develop performance-based seismic design.
  • Increase consideration of socioeconomic issues related to hazard mitigation implementation.
  • Develop a national post-earthquake information management system.
  • Develop advanced earthquake risk mitigation technologies and practices.
  • Develop guidelines for earthquake-resilient lifeline components and systems.
  • Develop and conduct earthquake scenarios for effective earthquake risk reduction and response and recovery planning.
  • Facilitate improved earthquake mitigation at state and local levels.

A NIST-funded 2011 National Research Council (NRC) report provided a long-range research and implementation roadmap for NEHRP that endorsed the NEHRP Strategic Plan. Both the Plan and the NRC roadmap emphasize national earthquake resilience.

Major EL NEHRP activities that are planned for 2014 include:

  • Work with Congress and the other NEHRP agencies on any issues that arise concerning potential NEHRP reauthorization legislation. PL 108-360 expired on September 30, 2009.
  • Work with NEHRP partners to produce the 2013 NEHRP annual report. Assuming that a new NEHRP support Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract is awarded in late FY 2013, NIST will award a task order to the contractor for information gathering in support of this.
  • Support ICC deliberations on revising the NEHRP Strategic Plan, based on any new Congressional reauthorization language that is provided. The current Plan addressed NEHRP activities through 2013. The ICC requested that the working-level Program Coordination Working Group (PCWG), which is chaired by NIST, provide a Strategic Plan progress assessment, which was completed in 2013.
  • Transition planning for future research in its Earthquake Risk Mitigation for Buildings and Infrastructure program to utilize guidance from the 2013 Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) “roadmap”[4] that outlines suggested priorities for NIST to address applied research needs cited in the NRC roadmap (reference [3]).
  • Support meetings of the Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR) and publication of any ACEHR reports to the ICC.
  • Provide partial support for a new Information Technologist in NIST Disaster and Failure Studies Program.
  • Work with the other NEHRP agencies to assess possible appropriate revisions for USGS Circular 1242[5], which outlines NEHRP coordination and conduct of post-earthquake investigations. The Circular was released in 2003. NIST awarded a 2012 task order with NCJV for the purpose of conducting this study, which is being performed in coordination with the general framework of the NIST Disaster and Failure Studies Program.
  • Work with the other NEHRP agencies to plan and implement transfer of the leadership of post-earthquake investigations from USGS to NIST, if reauthorization legislation directing such transfer is enacted.
  • Work with the other NEHRP agencies to conduct a research and implementation needs determination workshop for improved lifeline resilience. NIST awarded a 2012 task order to the NEHRP Consultants Joint Venture (NCJV) for the purpose of conducting this workshop, which is anticipated to be conducted in late CY 2013.
  • Coordinate any NEHRP efforts required to support the Presidential Policy Directive, National Preparedness (PPD-8)[6] concerning resilience.
  • Work on activities with the US-Japan Panel on Wind and Seismic Effects (UJNR), and with the Interagency Committee on Seismic Safety in Construction (ICSSC).
  • Funding limitations will dictate that EL will focus less in the future on broader program planning activities (e.g., NEHRP-wide workshops), and focus more narrowly on activities that directly support statutory requirements and ACEHR and ICC activities.

 


[1] http://www.nehrp.gov/about/PL108-360.htm

[2] http://www.nehrp.gov/pdf/strategic_plan_2008.pdf

[3] http://www.nehrp.gov/pdf/NRC2011.pdf

[4] Development of NIST Measurement Science R&D Roadmap: Earthquake Risk Reduction in Buildings, NIST GCR 13-917-23.

[5] The Plan to Coordinate NEHRP Post-Earthquake Investigations, Circular 1242, U.S. Geological Survey, 2003.

[6] http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/laws/gc_1215444247124.shtm

 

Major Accomplishments:

Outcomes:

  • Roadmap report: National Earthquake Resilience: Research, Implementation, and Outreach, National Research Council, 2011.
  • Annual Report of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program for Fiscal Year 2011, NIST, 2012.
  • Roadmap report: Development of NIST Measurement Science R&D Roadmap: Earthquake Risk Reduction in Buildings, NIST GCR 13-917-23, 2013, completed by Building Seismic Safety Council.