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Commerce's NIST Names National Construction  Safety Team Advisory Committee

For Immediate Release: March 20, 2003

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Contact: Jan Kosko
301-975-2767

Eight prominent building and fire experts have been appointed by Arden Bement Jr., director of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to serve on the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Advisory Committee. The committee will advise the NIST director on carrying out investigations of building failures conducted under the authorities of the NCST Act that became law in October 2002. That includes advice on the composition and function of investigation teams and other responsibilities under the Act.

The committee members are:

  • John M. Barsom, president, Barsom Consulting Ltd., Pittsburgh, Pa.;
  • John L. Bryan, University of Maryland, professor emeritus, and consultant, fire protection and life safety, Frederick, Md.;
  • Glenn P. Corbett, professor, public management-fire science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, N.Y.;
  • Philip J. DiNenno, president, Hughes Associates Inc., Baltimore, Md.;
  • Paul M. Fitzgerald, formerly with FM Global, Johnston, R.I., Holliston, Mass.;
  • Robert D. Hanson, University of Michigan, professor emeritus, Walnut Creek, Calif.;
  • Kathleen J. Tierney, professor, department of sociology and criminal justice, and director, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, Newark, Del.; and
  • Forman A. Williams, professor, mechanical and aerospace engineering, and director, Center for Energy Research, University of California at San Diego.


Two additional members may be appointed at a later date.

Members were selected based on their technical expertise and experience, established records of distinguished professional service, and their knowledge of issues affecting teams established under the NCST Act. The NCST Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting in April 2003 at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md.

Under the NCST Act, NIST is responsible for conducting investigations of events causing building failures that result in substantial loss of life or pose the potential for substantial loss of life. The NIST investigations will establish the likely technical causes of the building failure and evaluate the technical aspects of emergency response and evacuation procedures in the wake of such failures. The goal is to recommend improvements to the way in which buildings are designed, constructed, maintained and used. Currently, NIST is conducting two major investigations: a building and fire safety investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center fire and building collapses; and the Feb. 20, 2003, fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I.

The advisory committee will be one source of information for NIST as it conducts its investigations. NIST is gathering information about these building failures from a host of organizations and individuals.

More information about the NCST may be found online at www.nist.gov/public_affairs/factsheet/constructionact.htm, www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/n02-23.htm and www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/hr46871.pdf. For background on NIST's more than 30 years of experience investigating building fire and structural failures, go to www.nist.gov/public_affairs/factsheet/bfrlinvestigations.htm.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST develops and promotes measurement, standards and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade and improve the quality of life.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Biographical information on the members is available at www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/bios_ncstadvcom.htm or by contacting NIST Public and Business Affairs at (301) 975-2762.