Building Codes Expert On Minimum Safety Levels

Building codes expert Dr. S. Shyam Sunder, acting director, building and fire research laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), says providing minimum safety levels in buildings is one of the NIST goals. “We shouldn’t stop at one set of elements, but look at system-wide building safety as a whole, which has not been consistently and thoroughly done in codes. We need to ensure safety and system robustness, regardless of the threat,” he observes. The lead World Trade Center investigator says this includes minimum robustness and structural integrity in all structures for various threats, hazards, and events that may occur in the normal course of the 100-year life of a building rather than designing against a specific threat, such as blast.

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