The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) last month announced details of its $16 million, 24-month federal building and fire safety investigation to study the structural failure and subsequent progressive collapse of World Trade Center (WTC) buildings following the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.
The study of WTC Buildings 1 and 2 (the Twin Towers) and WTC Building 7 will focus on the building construction, the materials used and all the technical conditions that contributed to the outcome of the disaster.
NIST already has completed much of the planning work for the investigation and has consulted with the public concerning its scope. Recent passage of an emergency supplemental appropriations bill now enables the agency to move ahead with the study.
"Many people, including technical experts, industry leaders and families of victims, have pressed for a broad-based federal investigation of the building collapses at the World Trade Center," said NIST Director Arden Bement Jr. "The lessons to be learned from this investigation and the companion research and development program are critical to understanding what core reforms are needed to make tall buildings safer nationwide, enhancing the safety of fire and emergency responders, better protecting occupants and property, and providing better emergency response capabilities and procedures for future disasters."