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SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Chairman BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Dr. Bement.
Here is the situation on the Floor. We have 12b minutes remaining with this vote. So, Professor Corbett, we will go with you andfive, six minutes or so, seven, if you need, and then we will take a brief recess and dash over and vote and come back here. Okay.
STATEMENT OF PROFESSOR GLENN P. CORBETT, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF FIRE SCIENCES, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, NEW YORK CITY
Mr. CORBETT. Thank you. Good afternoon, Chairman Boehlert, Ranking Member Hall, and Members of the House Science Committee. Thank you for allowing me to again testify before you about the investigation of the World Trade Center disaster.
Nearly 8 months have passed since the collapse of the Twin Towers, yet today we are only beginning to understand exactly what happened on September 11 at the World Trade Center. While the Building Performance Assessment Team report, that is being released at today's hearing, yields some useful information, the generalized nature of its recommendations and the limited scope of its assessment leave us with little hard evidence for which to make specific improvements to the codes, design practices, emergency response procedures. The recommendations in this report provide us with a useful starting point, but much, much work needs to be conducted.
The proposed NIST investigation that is under consideration today is the type of large-scale forensic inquiry that the Federal Government should have launched back in September. I was pleased to learn that NIST plans to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation incorporating the six focus areas that I identified in my testimony before this Committee on March 6. They intend to take a multi-disciplinary approach, allowing for the investigation to benefit from the expertise of a wide range of experts and to permit the disaster to be studied holistically. The breadth and depth of this planned investigation will provide as complete an understanding of the disaster at the World Trade Center as is now possible.
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The fact-finding leave-no-stone-unturned objective of the NIST investigation will allow us to develop detailed conclusions and learn the lessons about what transpired at the Trade Center. It is this application of these hard-earned lessons, of course, that is the primary reason for conducting the investigation in the first place. These lessons must be translated into actual changes to our building and fire codes, enhancements in building design methodologies, and improvements in emergency response procedures and technologies.
While NIST has laid out a comprehensive proposal for investigating and researching the lessons learned from the disaster, the key to achieving this goal lies in the details of the NIST plan. This is where I will focus my comments today.
I have reviewed several draft documents concerning the actual plan for the NIST investigation. I have identified three particular areas of concern. One, the need for a rapid assemblage of a diverse group of individuals to form the core Federal Advisory Committee which will oversee the investigation; two, the need for subpoena power for the investigation, and, number three, the need for the investigation to be centered upon the development of defensible and detailed proposals for changes in building and fire codes, as well as improvements in emergency response procedures and technologies. While I am aware that NIST is attempting to deal with these three issues, I think that it is very important to highlight these concerns in light of what happened in the preparation of the BPAT report.
The Federal Advisory Committee's critical role will be the review of the NIST draft plan for the investigation and its ongoing role of monitoring the investigation. These duties are very important in light of the multidisciplinary aspects of the investigation and since some areas of the investigation involve issues that are outside of NIST's traditional areas of expertise, such as building evacuation, fire fighting, and urban search and rescue.
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It is essential that the committee be composed of many individuals with a broad range of expertise and experience. It is equally important that the committee be formed as quickly as possible to allow for the rapid development and implementation of the best plan possible.
A review of NIST's current draft plan has spotlighted the need for guidance of the world-class experts of the Federal Advisory Committee. For example, the evacuation portion of the draft plan does not propose that individual interviews of survivors be conducted, but rather relies on the use of survey forms to collect information. A one-size-fits-all survey form will not gather all of the critical information that is necessary to understand the evacuations that took place on September 11th. In order to gain all the valuable data, including unanticipated information, actual interviews of the survivors must be conducted.
In addition, the interview process itself will allow for the presence of a mental healthcare professional who can help the survivor address the emotions that will be unleashed when asking questions about how they survived. Federal Advisory Committee members with expertise in human behavior and building evacuations would be able to provide such useful information, such as the development of such an interview plan, as well as the anticipated costs.
The need for diversity of expertise became evident in my review of the BPAT report. For example, the BPAT report recommends the development of training materials and courses for emergency response personnel with regards to effects of fire on steel. In reality, there are several books and training materials currently available concerning building construction, including large portions of information on steel frame buildings and the effects of fire on steel.
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FEMA itself, through the U.S. Fire Administration, publishes a very popular training program called the Principles of Building Construction: Noncombustible. I believe that had a firefighter been on the BPAT team, this fact would have been quickly identified.
The second area of concern is the need for subpoena power. In order to thoroughly investigate the Trade Center disaster, investigators must have access to all relevant information. It is only with a full set of facts that conclusions may be drawn. Mythe experience in the preparation of the BPAT study has identified this as a key issue. The Science Committee hearing on March 6 clearly highlighted some of the impediments the BPAT faced in obtaining key information. My fear is that the NIST investigation will be hindered by these same problems.
Information may be found in a variety of locations and may be held by different individuals and organizations that will not provide this information voluntarily. Even though the WTC investigation is an investigation of a fact-finding nature, a legal means for obtaining information that would otherwise be unavailable must be provided for investigators.
The third area of concern is to learn as many lessons as possible and to apply these lessons. In order for the changes to building and fire codes to be applied, the NIST investigation and the research reports must include specific recommended changes to specific sections of our model codes, not generalized recommendations.
For example, in the Observations, Findings, and Recommendations chapter of the BPAT study, the report states that, ''Fireproofing needs to be tough under impact and fire conditions that deform steel members.'' This conclusion will not easily find its way into the model codes since it is not in proper code format and lacks the corresponding necessary supporting evidence. NIST must recognize this fact if the ultimate goal is to actually improve building codes, standards, and practices.
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These proposed changes and related supporting evidence developed by NIST must be laid at the feet of the code-writing organizations for inclusion in their model codes. In addition, I believe that a special, formalized code change submittal process must be developed between NIST and the code-writing bodies to address the code changes that will emerge from this investigation. This more formalized relationship will raise many difficult questions, which are likely outside the scope of this hearing. However, the Science Committee should continue to look at this issue and see what barriers must be overcome.
I believe that the proposed NIST investigation is the best course of action to learn and apply the lessons of the Trade Center disaster. It is critical that the investigation be as comprehensive as currently planned and be funded at the necessary level to achieve this goal. It is essential that we learn exactly what happened to these structures, victims, and survivors on September 11 and try to prevent it from ever happening again.
Thank you for allowing me to testify before you on this very important topic. I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Corbett follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF GLENN P. CORBETT
Good afternoon Chairman Boehlert, Ranking Member Hall, and Members of the House Science Committee. Thank you for allowing me to again testify before you about the investigation of the World Trade Center disaster.
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Nearly eight months have passed since the collapse of the twin towers, yet today we are only just beginning to understand exactly what happened on September 11th at the World Trade Center (WTC). While the Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT) report that is being released at today's hearing yields some useful information, the generalized nature of its recommendations and the limited scope of the assessment leave us with little hard evidence for which to make specific improvements to codes, design practices, and emergency response procedures. The recommendations of this report provide us with a useful starting point, but much work remains to be done.
The proposed National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) investigation that is under consideration today is the type of large-scale forensic inquiry that the federal government should have launched last September. I was pleased to learn that NIST plans to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation, incorporating the six focus areas that I identified in my testimony before this Committee on March 6th. They intend to take a multi-disciplinary approach, allowing for the investigation to benefit from the expertise of a wide range of experts and to permit the disaster to be studied holistically. The depth and breadth of the planned investigation will provide as complete an understanding of the disaster at the World Trade Center as is now possible.
The fact-finding ''leave no stone unturned'' objective of the NIST investigation will allow us to develop detailed conclusions and learn the lessons about what transpired at the World Trade Center. It is the application of these hard-earned lessons, of course, that is the primary reason for conducting the investigation in the first place. These lessons must be translated into actual changes to our building and fire codes, enhancements in building design methodologies, and improvements in emergency response procedures and technologies. While NIST has laid out a comprehensive proposal for investigating and researching the lessons learned from the disaster, the key to achieving this goal lies in the details of the NIST plan. This is where I will focus my comments today.
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After having reviewed several draft documents concerning the actual plan for the NIST investigation, I have identified three particular areas of concern: 1) the need for the rapid assemblage of a diverse group of individuals to form the core ''Federal Advisory Committee'' which will oversee the investigation; 2) the need for subpoena power for the investigation; and 3) the need for the investigation to be centered upon the development of ''defensible'' and detailed proposals for changes in building and fire codes as well as improvements in emergency response procedures and technologies. While I am aware that NIST is attempting to deal with these three issues, I think that it is important to highlight these concerns in light of what has happened in the preparation of the BPAT report.
The Federal Advisory Committee's critical role will be its review of NIST's draft plan for the investigation and in its ongoing role of monitoring the investigation. These duties are very important in light of the multidisciplinary aspects of the investigation and since some areas of the investigation involve issues that are outside of NIST's traditional areas of expertise such as building evacuation, firefighting, and urban search and rescue. It is essential that the Committee is composed of many individuals with a broad range of expertise and experience. It is equally important that the Committee be formed as quickly as possible to allow for the rapid development and implementation of the best plan possible.
A review of NIST's current draft plan has spotlighted the need for the guidance of the ''world class experts'' of the Federal Advisory Committee. For example, the ''evacuation'' portion of the draft plan does not propose that individual interviews of survivors be conducted but rather relies on the use of survey forms to collect information. A ''one size fits all'' survey form will not gather all of the critical information that is necessary to understand the evacuations that took place on September 11th. In order to gain all valuable data including unanticipated information, actual interviews of the survivors must be conducted. In addition, the interview process itself will allow for the presence of a mental health care professional who can help the survivor address the emotions that will be unleashed when asking questions about how they survived. Federal Advisory Committee members with expertise in human behavior and building evacuations would be able to provide useful information for the development of such an interview plan as well as the anticipated costs.
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This need for diversity of expertise became evident in my review of the BPAT report. For example, the BPAT report recommends the development of ''. . .training materials and courses for emergency personnel with regards to effects of fire on steel.'' In reality, there are several books and training materials currently available concerning building construction, including large amounts of information on steel frame buildings and the effects of fire on steel. Ironically, FEMA itself (through the United States Fire Administration) publishes a very popular training program called ''Principles of Building Construction: Noncombustible.'' I believe that had a firefighter been on the BPAT team, this fact would have been quickly identified.
The second area of concern is the need for subpoena power. In order to thoroughly investigate the WTC disaster, investigators must have access to all relevant information. It is only with a full set of facts that conclusions may be drawn. The experience in the preparation of the BPAT study has identified this as a key issue. The Science Committee hearing on March 6th clearly highlighted some of the impediments the BPAT faced in obtaining key information. My fear is that the NIST investigation will be hindered by these same problems.
Information may be found in a variety of locations and may be held by many different individuals and organizations that will not provide this information voluntarily. Even though the WTC investigation is an investigation of a fact-finding nature, a legal means for obtaining information that would otherwise be unavailable must be provided for investigators.
The third area of concern is to learn as many lessons as possible and to apply these lessons. In order for changes related to building and fire codes to be applied, the NIST investigation and research reports must include specific recommended changes to specific sections of our model codes, not generalized recommendations.
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For example, in the Observations, Findings, and Recommendations chapter of the BPAT study, the report states ''Fireproofing needs to be tough under impact and fire conditions that deform steel members, . . .'' This conclusion will not easily find its way into the model codes since it is not in the proper code format and lacks the corresponding necessary supporting evidence. NIST must recognize this fact if the ultimate goal is to actually improve building codes, standards, and practices.
These proposed changes and related supporting evidence developed by NIST must be laid at the feet of the code-writing organizations for inclusion in their model codes. In addition, I believe that a special, formalized code change submittal process should be developed between NIST and the code-writing bodies to address the code changes that will emerge from this investigation. This more formalized relationship will raise many difficult questions, which are likely outside the scope of this hearing. However, the Science Committee should continue to look into this issue to see what barriers must be overcome.
I believe that the proposed NIST investigation is the best course of action to learn and apply the lessons of the World Trade Center disaster. It is critical that the investigation be as comprehensive as currently planned and be funded at the necessary level to achieve this goal. It is essential that we learn exactly what happened to the structures, victims, and survivors on September 11th and try to prevent it from ever happening again.
Thank you for allowing me to appear before you on this very important topic. I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Professor. And thank you for a very fine presentation. We have 4 minutes and 40 seconds to vote. I would anticipate a break of about 20 minutes. We are going to dash over and then there is this vote and then a vote on passage of the bill in question. We will do it and get right back over as soon as we can. So you have got about 20 minutes to sort of catch your breath and then we will come back for the question period.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Let us resume. Colleagues will be wandering back from the Floor, but let us get started. Thank you all for your statements; I appreciate it. Let us get right to the questions. First, Dr. Bement, you have some resources, based upon existing allocations, that enable you to start right away.
Dr. BEMENT. That is correct.
Chairman BOEHLERT. You don't even have to delay anything.
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Dr. BEMENT. And we aren't.
Chairman BOEHLERT. And you are not waiting for a supplemental, although we understand the President is going to request $16 million in the supplemental and you need that. But you have got something to start.
Dr. BEMENT. That is correct.
Chairman BOEHLERT. No excuse for any delays at all.
Dr. BEMENT. That is correct.
Evacuation/Emergency Response Procedures
Chairman BOEHLERT. Thank you. All right. Now, I will ask this of all witnesses, because I think this gets right to the heart of something very important, my sense is that changes in evacuation procedures and emergency response procedures may be, by far, the most important results of this tragedy. I would like to know if you agree with that. Let me go right down the Panel. Mr. Shea.
Mr. SHEA. Yes, Mr. Chairman. I do agree with that. Actually, when we spoke before on March 6, those were some of the areas of my highest concern about what had taken place, and I think the work that Dr. Corley and his team has done have kind of proven that concern out at this point.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. Dr. Corley.
Dr. CORLEY. Yes. I think that is a very important consideration. I would point out, in fact, that at the Trade Center, since they had been attacked once before, they had already instituted very good training programs and they practiced evacuating the building. And we believe that that was one of the things that reduced the number of casualties. People knew what to do, and when they were faced with the need to do it, they did it. So that was important and it needs to be further emphasized in any building in the future.
Chairman BOEHLERT. All right. Dr. Bement.
Dr. BEMENT. Absolutely. Let me emphasize that we are not doing just surveys. We are doing actual interviews and we will capture oral history on survivors and also first responders that were involved in the World Trade Center collapse.
Chairman BOEHLERT. I am glad you made that point because surveys by themselves would not be sufficient.
Dr. BEMENT. Absolutely.
Chairman BOEHLERT. And you would agree with that?
Dr. BEMENT. Absolutely.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Chairman BOEHLERT. All right. Fine. Professor Corbett.
Mr. CORBETT. Yes.
Chairman BOEHLERT. And you may be the only person on this panel that can pass the objectivity test, in a sense. I don't say that with any prejudice, but you are an independent operator and you are noted for saying exactly what is on your mind.
Mr. CORBETT. Thank you. Yes.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Thank you.
Mr. CORBETT. Well, most definitely. And that is the reason why I identified this back on March 6 as two focus areasthe evacuation and emergency response procedures. We have never had this done before on such a large scale. I am glad to hear Dr. Bement mention that they will be doing a large numberor I shouldI didn't want to say a large number, because they are planning on doing interviewsbut I would suggest that they need to do a large scale amount of interviews, very many of them basically.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Right.
Dr. BEMENT. One other point. I don't share Dr. Corley's conclusions about the egress in those buildings. I mean, we all know that there were people that believed that they could have gone to the roof to get off. And I don't know, without, again, going much more deeply into the actual procedures that were in place at the Trade Center, to find out, in fact, if people were ever told, for example, that they could get to the roof for evacuation. It seems thatagain, just from what I have heardthat the people that survived above the points of impact made a conscious decision not to go to the roof and, in fact, went down instead of up. So I think that is a very, very important issue to look at.
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Access to Investigation Materials
Chairman BOEHLERT. Yeah. Which leads me, Dr. Corley, to ask what kinds of materials your team was never able to review that would have helped the investigation? We understand, for example, that you were never able to gain access to the 911 tapes and some news media videotapes that were never broadcast.
Dr. CORLEY. I will pass that question to my colleague here.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Dr. Barnett.
Dr. BARNETT. Thank you. The week before we went to the site I was the one who requested the 911 tapes and transcripts. But our use for that information was to understand how the fire was growing and spreading through the building. That was, at that time, what we anticipated as the most important use of the information.
In December, or early January, I withdrew my request because by then we realized that the computer modeling that we would have used the 911 transcripts to validate was not going to be completed in time for the BPAT report. And, in fact, that modeling is still underway and will be underway at NIST. It is certainly underway in my office.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Well, how about the news media and the videotapes? I want to ask all of you to comment on the bill that I am going to introduce. Mr. Weiner and I have worked very hard on this thing and we are going to introduce it. But, would you agree that somebody should have had immediate subpoena power to get that information. Dr. Corley, don't you think that would have helped immeasurably in your investigation?
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Dr. CORLEY. Certainly. When you start one of these studies, the faster you get the information, the more you can do with it. And, indeed, it would have helped if we could have obtained that information more quickly than
Chairman BOEHLERT. Are they still useful, do you think?
Dr. CORLEY. Yes. Absolutely.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Do they still exist?
Dr. CORLEY. They still exist and they still would be useful.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Should NIST have them, Dr. Bement?
Dr. BEMENT. We have discussed this matter with the National Transportation Safety Board and they advise that having the power, even though you don't have to use it, can be important. So we have been examining this issue very carefully and examining the pros and cons, and it is under active consideration.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Are you going to go after the tapes?
Dr. BEMENT. We are going to go after every piece of evidence that bears on this
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Chairman BOEHLERT. And the media has videotapes?
Dr. BEMENT. Absolutely.
Chairman BOEHLERT. All right. So you are definitely going after that. That is good news.
Dr. BEMENT. That is correct.
Chairman BOEHLERT. My red light is on, and I want to be fair to everybody on this Panel, but we are going to have maybe several rounds. So with that, the Chair recognizes Mr. Weiner.
Mr. WEINER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to try to walk you past what are recommendations and findings and try to reach a few conclusions if I could. In your presentation, Dr. Corley, you said that there needs to be, in future buildings, sufficient separation of stairwells. Given that, in Building 1, three of three stairwells were knocked out; in Building 2, at least two of three, and maybe all three, at some point, got knocked out. Would you say there was insufficient separation of the stairwells in the World Trade Centers as they were built?
Dr. CORLEY. As the buildings were built, no, I would not say it was insufficient, because they were built not recognizing that terrorists might attack the buildings as they did.
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Mr. WEINER. Dr. Corley, that is intuitive. It is intuitive that no one modeled for this. But I am asking you a different question. Now that you have gone in and looked after the fact, it is a conclusion that you can draw, at this point, that for the purposes of getting people out of those buildings, the stairwells were not sufficiently separated?
Dr. CORLEY. Our conclusion is that if they had been further separated, there would have been a better possibility of getting them out of the building.
Mr. WEINER. Okay. In your testimony, you said that it was important to have a redundancy of water supply for the sprinklers. Is it fair to say that since the sprinkler system was knocked out almost at impact, it is thought, that there was not sufficient redundancy of the sprinkler system?
Dr. CORLEY. In this case, once the supply for the water was knocked out, there was not a sufficient amount of water left in the system to be of any value.
Mr. WEINER. Dr. Corley, given what you say, or your findings, was there sufficient redundancy of the sprinkler system in the World Trade Center on September 11?
Dr. CORLEY. For the case where an airplane hits the building, as it did here
Mr. WEINER. Not for a case. For the case of what happened on the morning of September 11. For that case.
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Dr. CORLEY. For that case, when the airplane hit the building and did this tremendous amount of damage, there was no adequate redundancy of
Sprinkler System Redundancy
Mr. WEINER. There was not sufficient redundancy. So we have already established there was not sufficient separation of the stairwells and there was not sufficient redundancy of the sprinkler system. You alsoyes, sir.
Dr. CORLEY. Could I just add one comment?
Mr. WEINER. Certainly.
Dr. CORLEY. Dr. Barnett would like to add a comment to that.
Dr. BARNETT. In addition to the water supply, we do not design sprinkler systems for multiple floors, entire floors of buildings, to be involved in fire simultaneously. We design our sprinkler systems for a small fire that grows. All right. So even with a redundant water supply, the sprinkler system would not have worked, would not have been able to control the fires. We just don't design that way.
Mr. WEINER. Dr. Corley, in your testimony, you said one of the lessons we learned is there needs to be sufficient redundancy of the sprinkler system. Was there sufficient redundancy of the sprinkler system in the World Trade Center?
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Dr. CORLEY. There was not for the conditions
Mr. WEINER. Okay.
Dr. CORLEY [continuing]. That occurred.
Mr. WEINER. Obviously. In addition, in your testimony, you say it is important to have robust egress systems, reinforcements of the areas where people are going to be coming and going from. Given what we know and given your report, can you draw the conclusion that there were not sufficiently robust egress systems?
Dr. CORLEY. Again, for the condition with the aircraft that hit this building, they knocked the walls out. We have eyewitness accounts of that. And it was notthey were not capable of resisting this impact.
Mr. WEINER. Okay. Can I ask youone of the things, that isand those are three conclusions that, while you don't call them conclusions, I think it is reasonable now to say those are conclusions that can be drawn. I was impressed, among other things, with how many times within the report it is said, in one language or another, we didn't look at this and we probably ought to. We didn't look at that and we probably ought to. Does this report speak at all about elevator design, reinforcing the infrastructure around elevators to allow them to be used? In some cases they failed, in other cases they were in use. Is there any discussion about design issues surrounding elevators?
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Dr. CORLEY. No, sir. We did not address that.
Mr. WEINER. Is there any discussion in this document or any analysis done to pick up on what the Chairman mentioned, on allowing for egress from the roof or allowing an emergency helicopter to land on the roof of a buildingany design questions that occurred in that context?
Dr. CORLEY. No, sir. There is none.
Mr. WEINER. Okay. Let me just ask you finally about the issue of building codes. One of the things that I think we would all hope that would come out of any investigation would be a discussion about lessons they can learn and how they can be transferred to other things. I am reading from Chapter 8, Subsection 3. Actually, I see the red light is on. Let me just summarize. Was there anything in this report that a city council, that a state legislature, or that the Federal Government can take and translate directly into changes in building codes?
Dr. CORLEY. Not at this time. There are several things that we anticipate will be ready to go in the future, but at the moment we don't have the wording that we would use. We don't know what the parameters are that should be suggested, but we can see some things that may be changes in the future.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. WEINER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Thank you. Thanks, Mr. Weiner. And you can understand the passion that is up here. But that is exactly, Mr. Weiner, why we have to have the follow-through from this in a very comprehensive way. And that is why we are so anxious to determine if they have the resources to begin immediately and not have to wait for some supplemental request, etcetera, etcetera. And obviously, Dr. Corley, and the team, the study was not complete. We all recognize that right from the beginning. I mean, we wish we had more time, more resources, more of everything. But we are moving in the correct direction, and that is critically important. The Chair recognizes Dr. Ehlers.
WTC Building 7
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this very important hearing. I understand fully why Towers 1 and 2 went down based on the description you have given. I am still puzzled by Building #7, World Trade Center #7, which you said collapsed because of a lengthy fire. Were the sprinklers destroyed in that building? Did the insulation come off of the steel there as well? What actually happened in that building?
Dr. CORLEY. Building #7 is, indeed, one of the more important buildings that we looked at, and we do have answers to some of your questions, which are addressed in the report. We were not able to find any evidence that the sprinklers worked in the building. We believe it is mainly because there was damage to the water supply system, and the water pressure that was available just wasn't sufficient to supply water to the sprinklers in the building.
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Mr. EHLERS. Where was the damage to the water system?
Dr. CORLEY. The water system was damaged in several locations. The falling debris penetrated the ground and actually took out parts of the water supply for the World Trade Center area. It took several hours after the collapses of 1 and 2 before the city could first find out where those were and then isolate those leaks so they could, again, supply a reasonable amount of water to that area. In the meantime, the fire department, we were told, was forced to take water out of the river to help them to fight the fires that occurred after the collapses.
As far as the fireproofing for Building 7, we have no evidence that it was knocked off as a result of damage from debris coming from either of the two towers. There was evidence the building was struck by some of the debris. We have been unable to quantify how much damage there was. We did not conclude that the fireproofing was knocked out. We believe it was a fire that continued to burn for a long period of time, meaning it had a very large source of fuel. And other than that, it was a building that came down just from the fire and without substantial structural damage.
Mr. EHLERS. That is a real concern to me. Because are the beams and girders designed to withstand the fire with the insulation in place?
Dr. CORLEY. I will ask Professor Barnett to address that part of it.
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Dr. BARNETT. Thank you. The building codes specify performance in a standard fire-resistance test. The building codes do not specify performance in real fires. So the buildings are designed in accordance with the standard and the tests. Our history has been excellent. Up until 9/11, we had never had a collapse of a protected steel building. But we have now had one. We now need to look and see what occurred. This is a problem. You are right. And this is of great concern to all of us.
Mr. EHLERS. So I presume that you should have better tests or better standards so that you thoroughly understand that. And, Dr. Bement, I assume that would be part of your ongoing work.
Dr. BEMENT. Yes, sir. Well, we already have predictive codes, that go beyond the ASDN code method E119, which is being referred to. And we certainly would want to use that in a way that would predict fire behavior for a type of fire such as this one, and would give more than an indication of how the structures would survive or how they would perform under those specific conditions.
Mr. EHLERS. And, Dr. Bement, continuing with you, it strikes me that investigating 7 might be the most interesting aspect. And do you plan to devote a fair amount of your time
Dr. BEMENT. Yes.
Mr. EHLERS [continuing]. And dollars to that effort?
Page 134 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Dr. BEMENT. It would certainly be a main part of our investigation. There are still some unanswered questions about that building. It did house a Con-Ed generating substation. There were pipes that provided fuel to emergency generators. And there is still an open question in the report about whether or not the fire loading, the fuel that loaded the fire, might have been contributed to by a broken pipe that may have provided diesel fuel. I think we need to model that fire and determine whether or not that was a factor.
Mr. EHLERS. One last quick question, Dr. Corley. And that is, if the stair walls in 1 and 2 had been concrete, would that have been able to withstand the impact?
Dr. CORLEY. The answer to that question cannot be answered strictly on the basis of what material was used. It is the way in which the materials are used that is important. So for any of the materials that are commonly used to enclose stairs, you would have to do an analysis of it, see how it is attached to the frame of the building, see what its resistance is to the impact and debris that was created by the planes crashing into the building, and you would have to answer that on the basis of how it was designed.
So it is not possible to just say if it was a different material, it would have worked, and with the materials used, it wouldn't work. You would have to do an engineering analysis.
Mr. EHLERS. And are you sure the insulation came off from the impact?
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Dr. CORLEY. We have very good evidence that it did. We have photographic evidence that shows steel that we have interpreted to be steel that no longer has fireproofing on it. In addition to that, though, we have the other buildings that did not burn where they were impacted by debris coming from the towers, and we found that the fireproofing was knocked off of the steel in the areas where the debris hit there. So that is additional evidence that drew us to our conclusion that it was knocked off in the towers.
NIST Subpoena Power
Chairman BOEHLERT. Thank you. And the gentleman's time has expired. There will be opportunity for another round of questioning. Dr. Bement, I want to just follow through for one moment before going to Mr. Shays on the subpoena power. As you know, our draft legislation, my bill, has
Dr. BEMENT. Yes.
Chairman BOEHLERT [continuing]. Subpoena power in there.
Dr. BEMENT. Yes.
Chairman BOEHLERT. But there have been officials within NIST that have suggested that that is very important. Have you made that formal request within the Administration, and what is the status of that request?
Dr. BEMENT. It is under active discussion at the present time.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. And how active and how long?
Dr. BEMENT. Hopefully not long and quite active.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Well, that is the answer I want to hear. But, at what level?
Dr. BEMENT. It is higher than my level at this point.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Well, I mean, to me it is a no-brainer. You absolutely need it. And we are going to give it to you in short order, I think, probably within a matter of weekswell, within a matter of weeks, rather than months. But I would like to think that the Administration would give it the priority attention it deserves so you can get it right away. Does it make much sense to start the investigation without that?
Dr. BEMENT. I live in hope.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Okay. You are a diplomat. The Chair recognizes Mr. Shays.
Stairwell Separation/Water System Redundancy
Mr. SHAYS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding these hearings. I am sorry I missed the beginning. I was chairing my own committee, the National Security Subcommittee. Gentlemen, what you all are doing is very, very important.
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And I found myself thinking that I am still one of those skeptics believing that it would have been impossible to prevent these buildings from collapsing given what attacked them, a gigantic plane with a tremendous amount of fuel, one plane traveling at close to 500 miles an hour. So when I hear a question about the redundancy of the water supply, I think, my God, it knocked out a few floors. You could have had ten redundancies and they all would have been wiped out in that instance.
But having said that, you all have learned things, it seems to me, that will be very helpful in what we do in the future, and some good lessons and some bad lessons. Can I make an assumption, from Mr. Weiner's question, that if we were to have the stairwells separated more, that that would be a positive thing in the future in any building?
Dr. CORLEY. Yes. In our opinion, that would be a positive thing to do. Then if there was an impact to the building, you would have a statistically better chance that the stairs would be available.
Mr. SHAYS. I mean, in a way, did we almost design this building like the Titanic, in that we didn't have enough life boats? I mean, is it even conceivable that you can get out of a building in time with the number of stairways that we had?
Dr. CORLEY. If I may address that. There is always the possibility of yet a larger aircraft hitting whatever building you design. So we concluded in our report that it is possible that you may not be able to design a building to resist anything that might happen in the future.
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What we do address, though, is that if you take advantage of what we are learning here, and that is that the stairwells appear that they would have done better if they were spread out more, then in the future, if another building is hit like this one was, at least you would increase the odds. We don't believe that you can guarantee, though, that it will resist all of the
Mr. SHAYS. Right.
Dr. CORLEY [continuing]. Things that are possible.
Mr. SHAYS. And, yet, it was a minor miracle that given all the people in this building, most were able to get out, certainly below. I mean, a minor miraclea major miracle. And I am told by one of my friends, a high school friend who was in this building, but was there in the first bombing when five floors were basically knocked out, as soon as the first tower was hit, he told his staff to leave the building. And he said that they had practiced, in a sense, what to do. They knew what to do. And he said, if the first bombing hadn't taken place, a lot more people would have lost their lives. Some would have stayed in the building and some wouldn't have known when to leave.
So with regards to, though, the redundancy of the water supply, notwithstanding that I could say three floors went out, so there is nothing that could prevent it. In the future for something not as catastrophic, would a redundancy in the water supply be helpful?
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Dr. CORLEY. Yes. That was what our report concluded, and I will allow Jonathan to add a little bit to that.
Dr. BARNETT. Thank you, Gene. The current standards for a sprinkler design are intended to address normal fires, normal situations, and they work. When sprinklers operate, when they are designed properly, they save lives. In fact, other than people intimately involved with
Mr. SHAYS. Yeah. I know they save lives and it is not a problem.
Dr. BARNETT. All right. Well
Mr. SHAYS. But the question is, should there be a redundancy. I want to ask one more question before my time runs out here. Should there be a redundancy in the future?
Dr. BARNETT. We doI think that for buildings subject to a potential terrorist event, you might want to include redundancies. The NFPA Standard 13 talks about redundant water supplies.
Mr. SHAYS. Let me ask this question then. In regard to stairways and the redundancy of the water supply, what needs to be done to get that to happen? Is that something NIST needs to do? Mr. Corbett, do you want to respond?
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. CORBETT. Yeah. Can I just comment on the redundancy issue?
Mr. SHAYS. Right. And then
Mr. CORBETT. Very important. Something that we identified back on March 6 was that we treat ten-story buildings the same way as we treat 100-story buildings under our building codes today.
Mr. SHAYS. Okay.
Mr. CORBETT. I think we need to have a lot more redundancy when we are talking about very tall buildings. That is not just water supply. That is not just egress. And I think we need to have a much better protected building for very tall buildings. We can't rely on the firefighters to fly up in helicopters to attack these fires, and we need to have the ability for that building to stay intact and get the people out long enough for the fire service to do the job they need to do.
Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, could I just ask a follow-up just to conclude this issue?
Chairman BOEHLERT. By all means.
Mr. SHAYS. Given that the stairways maybe need to be further apart, given that you may need to have redundancy, what needs to be done to get the codes to require that to happen? Is that something NIST needs to do? What is going to make that happen?
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Dr. CORLEY. If I may address that. First of all, there need to be additional data collection done and studies made of what you would gain with additional stairways, if anything. And we need to find out what to recommend.
Mr. SHAYS. Right.
Dr. CORLEY. And then it needs to go through the consensus process so the public can get their say in this also and develop the wording that would go in the codes if changes are found to be necessary.
Mr. SHAYS. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Dr. Corley, you know, some of the fire safety codes are based on studies dating back to 1926. Why can't we go ahead right now and make some recommended changes in building codes while the study is going forward? Dr. Bement, can you respond to that?
Dr. BEMENT. Well, redundancies
Chairman BOEHLERT. Then I would like to ask Professor Corbett to respond too.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Dr. BEMENT. Redundancies come up and redundancy of active fire suppression is absolutely essential. On the other hand, one also has to look at defense in depth. And that involves compartmentalization. It involves passive insulation. It involves a disciplined limitation of flammable materials, fire loading. It involves all these things. And I think taking a simplistic approach in just talking about redundancy of water systems doesn't go far enough.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Uh-huh.
Dr. BEMENT. It has to go much further.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Yes. I would agree with that. You know, for every complex problem, there is always a simple solution, and it is usually wrong. Complex problems anywhere
Dr. BEMENT. Well, I don't want to characterize it as being simple either.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Yeah. I understand that. But, Professor Corbett, let us hear some more from you.
Mr. CORBETT. Well
Chairman BOEHLERT. I like your style.
Mr. CORBETT. Okay. Well, from a redundancy standpoint, again, to go back to the issue of how we treat buildings and building codes, there is very little relationship, in my opinion, between how we fight fires in buildings and how buildings are built. For example, when we talk about firefighter communication systems, our current codes require hard-wired systems in which the firefighters have to take telephone handsets up into buildings and plug them into walls in specific locations to communicate with the chief officers down in the command post.
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That is not the way fire departments operate. They use radios, you know. We don't use these type of systems because they don't work. And, yet, this particular requirement has been the code for over 20 years. So I think the reason why I called for the comprehensive investigation here is because we have got to integrate the firefighters, the emergency responders, with the engineers and things. And I think NIST certainly understands that. And that is what should have been going on in September.
But as far as the redundancies go, again, we need to look at what specific things need to be changed. But this is a belt and suspenders situation here. You need to have both the belt and a suspender when you are dealing with very tall buildings. You cannot rely on one specific thing to work properly or we are going to have the problems that we had at the Trade Center.
NIST Funding Needs
Chairman BOEHLERT. And I couldn't agree more that the comprehensive nature of the study is essential, which leads me to conclude that you have some money to start now, Dr. Bement, and there is going to be a $16 million supplemental request. I hate to be accused of being a big spender, but that is not going to be enough.
Dr. BEMENT. No. It won't be enough.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Tell me what you need.
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Dr. BEMENT. Well, that only takes care of one of the three elements of our response plan. And the remaining elements have to do with research and development, which will address many of the other recommendations that came out of the BPAT study. It will deal with connectors. It will deal with floor truss structures and their response to fire. It will deal with different materials that might be used for passive fire protection. It will deal with the issues that have been raised with regard to the robustness and the adherency of sprayed-on fire insulation on painted steel.
If we are going to be dealing with protection against blastit doesn't have to be an airplane, in factit could be blastwe have to find better ways in which to apply some of these insulation materials so that they will be reliable and they can live up to whatever design code one is using for those kinds of
Chairman BOEHLERT. Where does the $40 million figure come from? Is that a NIST
Dr. BEMENT. Well, that was Dr. Corley's number, and I would defer to him to speak to that.
Chairman BOEHLERT. And, Dr. Corley, you are saying, what, 40 million over the next 3 years would be needed?
Dr. CORLEY. No, sir. That $40 million was intended for the additional analysis and study that we have identified needs to be done at this point. It did not include such things as the research on connections and things like that that need to be done to be able to make proper code changes in the future.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. Okay. Well, Dr. Bement, I have got this chart, which I understand is an internal working document within NIST, that outlines the 40.4 million through fiscal year '05. And is that generally accepted within NIST, what Dr. Corley is suggesting?
Dr. BEMENT. We currently have identified, including the $16 million for the investigation, $30 million, part of which will be used for research and development. There will be additional needs to cover all the research and development that we have currently scoped, and those requests will come through in our '04 budget request and the outyear budget request as well.
Chairman BOEHLERT. But are you operating under the assumption that you are probably going to get those? Because
Dr. BEMENT. Well, we thought
Chairman BOEHLERT [continuing]. Those dollars, because if you don't get those dollars, then you have got to rearrange the priorities for your 16 million, it seems to me.
Dr. BEMENT. We have had excellent support from this Administration in supporting our response plan, as you well know, through our supplemental request, through our reprogramming request.
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Chairman BOEHLERT. But that is only the beginning.
Dr. BEMENT. And that is only the beginning.
Chairman BOEHLERT. But are you operating under the assumption that the 16 million supplemental is the beginning? This is like chapter 1 and 2 and
Dr. BEMENT. That will cover the investigation. That is correct.
Chairman BOEHLERT. And are you gettingyou must have had at least preliminary discussions within OMB.
Dr. BEMENT. It is under very active considerations.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Yes. Right. Fine. And are you
Dr. BEMENT. I am optimistic.
Chairman BOEHLERT. And you are optimistic. That is good. That is very important. Dr. Ehlers.
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to address the same issue. This horrible, terrible tragedy that happened, and I wish it had never happened, has also given us an opportunity to really learn a great deal more about how to prevent such things, not, as you say, just from impact of an airplane, but from a blast. We, as a Nation, are susceptible to terrorist bombings, but also earthquakes, which is quite a different animal.
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Dr. BEMENT. Yes.
Mr. EHLERS. It doesn't happen too frequently in New York, but many of the stresses that occurred would also be important in an earthquake situation, particularly the destruction of the sprinkler system, which is not too hard to imagine in earthquakes. I think it is absolutely essential that we do as much research on this as we can and that you have the resources you need to do that. Because something like this, thankfully, doesn't come along very often, and we can learn
Dr. BEMENT. Yes.
Mr. EHLERS [continuing]. An immense amount about it. And also the point made, I believe, by Professor Corbett, that designing tall buildings is different than designing small buildings, and there are some basic facts we have to learn there. I am fascinated, for example, by the connections of the transverse beams, which seem totally inadequate in this situation, but obviously are adequate in the normal life of the building. We can learn a lot there. And I certainly encourage you to work as diligently as you can with the Administration to get whatever resources you need for this. And I am sure this Committee will be happy to support you in that effort.
Dr. BEMENT. Thank you very much, sir.
Mr. EHLERS. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Witness Comments on the National Construction Safety Team Act
Chairman BOEHLERT. Thank you. Let me ask all of you the very obvious question. You have had my proposed bill for a few days to look at. Can you give us an instant reaction? Are there some voids there that you think we should address? Are there some things that we are trying to address that you think our wasting our time? Give us sort of an instant reaction to the proposed legislation. Let me start with Professor Corbett.
Mr. CORBETT. Yeah. I want to congratulate you on a very important bill. And I have been in the fire service for over 20 years now, and I can't think of a more important thing, as far as lessons learned, to have that kind of capability, you know, within our Federal Government, because these are national lessons. These are not New York City lessons. These are national fire service lessons that are going be learned, as well as many other things.
A couple comments that I had about it: I would suggest that perhaps some of the language that relates to the scope of the team, as far as specific types of disasters they would respond to. The word building failure, for example, was used in the proposed legislation. I think there are other issues or other situations where perhaps a building doesn't collapse or it doesn't fail in the sense that it falls down, but fails, perhaps, in a design concept. And let me give you a couple examples.
Several years ago there was a crowd crush incident in New York City. I believe it was at the City College where several students were killed at a concert at the base of a stairwell because they were going to this concert and the doors were not opened and theyand the doors opened out. And they were at the bottom of the stairwell trying to get in and the crowd crush behind them killed several people. I think that is an example of a kind of thing that NIST needs to look at, you know, in terms of building failures. Again, not collapse, but the design perhaps.
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The other, I think, perhaps, even more important issue today is that, God forbid this should happen, but if we had a biochem attack in an existing high-rise building, I think it is important that the team would also respond to an incident like that. For example, if a terrorist would use some type of chemical or biological agent and released it through the heating and ventilation system, I think we would have to learn about what happened at that kind of incident as well. So if there is some way you can work with the language to accommodate that
Chairman BOEHLERT. I guess it is a matter of definition. I mean, failurewe have got to have the broadest
Mr. CORBETT. Right. And that is why I suggested back on March 6 that maybe calling it disaster, I think, would allow it to be much more comprehensive. And that is the other big thing I would encourage is that, again, not look at just the building, but what are the other issuesthe fire fighting or the search and rescue or the other issues that will come up. And it is the comprehensive nature of that, as well. And by calling it disaster team, I think you get a little bit more of that, but it may be an issue for lawyers to deal with. I am not really sure, to tell you the truth. So
Chairman BOEHLERT. Professor, let me assure you, you haven't heard the last of us. I mean, we are going to be in constant communication, because we value your input, and that is very important. I would ask that we refrain from any applause, although I love it. But the fact of the matter is this is very serious business and we are trying to be as professional and as unemotional as we can on a very emotional subject. But the witnesses are just so helpful to us as resources, andwell, you get the point. Dr. Bement.
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Dr. BEMENT. Yes. I would say, first of all, I applaud the Committee with what it has done so far. I think it is serious and responsive. We have just received the draft of the bill. We are looking at it very carefully, and I would like to give my response in a much more thoughtful way. So I will work with you and the Committee as we go forward with this bill.
Chairman BOEHLERT. But you agree, for example, that you need the subpoena power.
Dr. BEMENT. I don't want to go there yet.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Is there a doubt in your mind? I do mean to put you on the spot on this one. I mean, there was some information, I think, that would have been of use, you know, the videotapes from the news outlets. For the life of me, I don't understand why they weren't cooperative when asked for them. Also the 911 tapes. I can think of a lot of things where subpoena power would have been very, very beneficial.
Dr. BEMENT. Yes.
Chairman BOEHLERT. But you feel you are constrained by your position that you
Dr. BEMENT. I do feel somewhat constrained, but let me comment more openly. We have been in this position before in previous investigations. We found in previous investigations that we were able to operate effectively with those involved and we were able to get the information that we required. Furthermore, in this case, where we do have a Federal Advisory Committeeand I will say, in response to Dr. Corbett's comments that such a Federal Advisory Committee has already been scoped. We already have guidelines for that committee. We will be going out with the Federal Register very soon, soliciting comments and also specific suggestions for membership on that committee. So we will move just as quickly as we can on that.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. But let me ask you, do you and Professor Corbett have a relationship?
Dr. BEMENT. No. But I have to say that most of the comments that he made in his testimony, I felt, were on target because there are procedures that we had anticipated. We have talked with a lot of groups and some of these suggestions have already been made, especially in some of the interest groups involved. And we have taken it very seriously. And I think almost everything that he commented on are things that we have
Chairman BOEHLERT. I guess my point in asking that is I would hope that when the hearing is over and you shake hands and say ''see you around,'' maybe there will be future telephone calls. We are thinking about this. What do you think?
Dr. BEMENT. Oh, you bet.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Okay. I mean
Dr. BEMENT. I don't think there is any doubt about that. We will use the best minds we can find on this investigation.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Dr. Corley, what do you think about the draft legislation? Were there any voids? Do you think we are missing the boat?
Dr. CORLEY. Mr. Chairman, I do have a few comments on it, a few things that I think will improve it even more than it is already. First of all, my initial observation is that it addresses many of the things that we ran into, not just on this study, but having done others in the past, I always run into the same types of difficulties in getting information.
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There is one item that was not clear to me, and that is whether or not the intent is to cover things such as earthquake, tornado, hurricane. Those types of building damage, as well as the fire and impact and the unexpected type of loads that were on this.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Well, we are still reviewing that issue. But my gut reaction would be, yes.
Dr. CORLEY. That is something that, I think, needs to be defined, whether it would or wouldn't cover those things. Then specifically when it comes to the composition of teams, there is some specific wording that I will be happy to share, but specifically, I think the team should be identified as having a minimum of ten experts on itand this is from my experience in the pastand that these need to cover the areas of structural engineering, forensic engineering, and then, appropriately, fire protection engineering, geotechnicalthose things that might have been related to the collapse. I believe that should be in the bill.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Thank you. Because that is so very important that we get input from respected professionals like you and the organization that you represent. That is what the whole process is all about. We are not the source of all wisdom up here.
Dr. CORLEY. And there is a fourth item that I would just like to mention at this time, and if you will permit me, after I have had time to read it more, I will no doubt have a few other suggestions.
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Chairman BOEHLERT. Sure.
Dr. CORLEY. But in Section 4.3, there is some specific wording about what to do with code changes. And I think that will need a little bit of modification because it would require that the team come up with code changes without having the benefit of public input. And I think the appropriate way to do this is to come up with those areas and the substance of the code changes, then go out to the public to get their input so we can address those things that we technical people may not recognize. Those are just the first four items that I wanted to mention at this point.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Thanks. Professor Corbett, would you react to that?
Mr. CORBETT. You know, that is a very important issue is. The foundation of why we are doing this, is to make change in the codes. And that is such a critical piece that has to be looked at. I mean, that is a large issue of how we develop codes in this country. You know, we develop them privately. This is not developed by the Federal Government.
But there has got to be some type of very formalized relationship between the code-writing organizations and this very special construction safety team. Because I think the issues that come out of a disaster investigation are at a much higher level than the typical individual who goes before a code-writing organization to present a code change. This will be the work of a lot of people. And I recognize that the public input is certainly important, but I think there needs to be a fast track right to the code-writing organizations because these are issues that are looked at, again, by the most esteemed people that we can find for this team. So I think, again, that we need to treat it differently than the way we treat code changes today.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. Mr. Shea, do you have any comments?
Mr. SHEA. Just real briefly. As a 25-year veteran of the Federal Government, what I did after the last hearing was to go and pull the NTSB authorizing legislation and then I visited the leadership of the NTSB as part of the process. My litmus test was very simple, which is that I asked them whether it worked, whether it gave them the range of authorities that they needed. They indicated to me that it did. I can see that the legislation you are proposing parallels that.
The only other thing I would add is that the issue of the coverage of the legislation, in terms of wind, earthquake, and other things, is certainly a subject of discussion in some of the communities out there right now. So I think it does appear to do what your intentions are.
The final thing I will say is it does, I see, is specifically call for the involvement of the U.S. Fire Administration. And I think that is an extremely important part of this effort to involve fire service professionals as we look at these issues.
Chairman BOEHLERT. You better believe it. Very, very important. And we used the NTSB model for our drafting purposes. The Chair is pleased to recognize Ms. Morella.
NIST Building Research Capabilities
Page 155 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Ms. MORELLA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to thank the panel. Thank you for the excellent testimony you presented, the experience and commitment that is behind it too. Dr. Bement, I want to applaud NIST for its comprehensive effort in putting together a first-rate plan. I think that everybody on this Committee believes that NIST is the ideal agency for this research, and we will all work hard to ensure that you have the adequate resources for the study.
I would like to, in terms of the resourcesDr. Bement, the letters that you provided the Committee supporting NIST activities also support an additional $10 million to expand NIST large-scale fire facility to enable structural testing under fire conditions. Currently, this research capacity does not exist in the United States.
Dr. BEMENT. That is correct.
Ms. MORELLA. This research capacity is critical, it appears, to the development of advanced test measures, predictive tools, and performance standards. All three of these areas are highlighted by the BPAT as needing immediate work. So I would ask you, what are NIST's plans at this point?
Dr. BEMENT. At present, we have a two-pronged plan. We have begun immediately to do design studies of our existing fire facility to see how that might be expanded in order to help support the type of studies on large structural elements that we feel are essential.
But in addition to that, we also have an investigation worldwide to find existing facilities in Canada and the United Kingdom which might be available to us as we get into our research and development program should we not have an expanded facility in time. So we are going to do the testing one way or the other. But we feel it is absolutely essential for this Nation to have its own test facility that is adequate for these types of structural investigations.
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Ms. MORELLA. You said that if you didn'tif you didn't get the necessary resources, you would reach outwhat did you say, Canada
Dr. BEMENT. In time.
Ms. MORELLA. In time. Uh-huh.
Dr. BEMENT. In time. Yes. We are looking at alternate approaches to do the testing that we feel would be essential for the World Trade Center.
Ms. MORELLA. And would that $10 million be part of that $41 million, or would it be over and above? When I say 41 million, I am talking about the 16 million plus another 25.
Dr. BEMENT. I will have to get back with you on that, Ms. Morella. The studythe design study is underway and I am not sure we have a definite number yet. But I will certainly respond to you on that question.
Ms. MORELLA. Good. We would like to know, you know, how that is going to be done. And, again, commend you. I think that NIST would be the very appropriate laboratory for this particular study.
I know a lot of the questions have been asked. I have some others, but could I ask each of you, is there anything that we have not asked you that we should ask you? Anything that Congress should be doing? We are going to be launching this bill that the Chairman has worked so hard on. Professor?
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Mr. CORBETT. Yeah. I think thewell, I know the plan that we have got before us today is the way to go. You know, I think we need to get that team together very quickly, as I mentioned before. But as far as other things we need to be doing right now that is perhaps the most important thing, as Chairman Boehlert indicated, is to get moving on this, because there are issues aboutyou know, especially with the evacuation, that we need to contact people right away, and we need to have that plan in place. So I would just make the comment that, again
Ms. MORELLA. Very good.
Mr. CORBETT [continuing]. Time is of the essence.
Ms. MORELLA. Very good. Mr. Shea, any final comments or, Dr. Corley? Everybody seems to be pretty happy. Dr. Barnett? Very good. Then, Dr. Bement? Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Yes. I hate to do this, but we have a vote on. And we do want to come back because there are some more questions. And I hope you all would be able to stay. And with that, recess and be back after this vote.
NIST Funding of the Investigation
Page 158 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Chairman BOEHLERT. Can we resume deliberations, please? Ask a few questionsI have a few. To start with, we all keep referring to the $16 million. And I have a letter to me from the FEMA General Counsel that I want to put in the record that provides legislative language that is needed if FEMA is to transfer the money to NIST. As I have already said, I would rather appropriate the money directly.
But let me ask some questions about the way this has been set up in the Administration request. Mr. Shea, can you explain why the Administration has requested the NIST money through FEMA? This isn't to claim that this $16 million should count as money going to help New York City. Is it?
Mr. SHEA. Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding that what was done was that a number of different initiatives were collected by the Office of Management and Budget and packaged, in effect, like this. And I am not aware, although I have heard what you just said, about the money being packaged for the City of New York and the State of New York, but I am not aware of any direct conversations, certainly none that I have been involved in where that was the case.
Chairman BOEHLERT. But why couldn't they just request the money go directly to NIST?
Mr. SHEA. Well, there were discussions of that nature when the proposals first surfaced. And, of course, I talked to Dr. Bement about it as part of that process, and we did talk about different ways of doing it. The fact of the matter is, for whatever reason, it ended up in the FEMA appropriation. As I have said previously, there should be no concern or hesitancy. FEMA will transfer the funds when the funds are appropriated.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. How quickly can you do it? Instantly?
Mr. SHEA. Within days. Normally, just procedurally, there is what is called a treasury warrant that is issued. And what I would seek to do is do actually what is called an appropriation transfer where both the funding and the authority goes directly to NIST and there would be no reporting relationship with FEMA as a result of that.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Is NIST getting anything in the supplemental, Dr. Bement?
Dr. BEMENT. Yes. There are other elements in the supplemental
Chairman BOEHLERT. That go directly to NIST?
Dr. BEMENT [continuing]. That will come directly to NIST.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Can you help
Dr. BEMENT. That is correct.
Chairman BOEHLERT [continuing] me understand why this wouldn't go directly to NIST? Why do we have this convolutedwhat concerns me, I just hope there isn't lurking back there someone who is suggesting that this money somehow would count against the commitment to the City of New York for the recovery effort. No one is suggesting that. Are they?
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Dr. BEMENT. Well, I am not going to assume that there wasn't a good reason. I just don't know what it was.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Okay. Okay. Well, the letter from FEMA to me says, ''Any resulting codes and standards will not apply to the recovery efforts for this major disaster and are not particularly targeted to benefit the affected disaster area of New York City and the State of New York.'' That is sort of curious language. We are going to be following up on that.
The actual submission hasn't come to the Hill yet. Has it, for the supplemental?
Mr. SHEA. Yes, sir. It was transmitted to the Hill quite
Chairman BOEHLERT. Is it? It has been. Okay.
Mr. SHEA. Quite a while ago now. Yeah.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Okay. Are you guys going to take a broker's fee or is the whole 16 million going to NIST?
Mr. SHEA. I assure you, Mr. Chairman, the entire $16 million will go to NIST.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. The entire $16 million. And you expect it within days, not anything longer than days.
Mr. SHEA. Days is what I would predict at this point.
Chairman BOEHLERT. All right. Let me go to Mr. Shays because I will have a few more. One last thing, no strings attached?
Mr. SHEA. No, sir. As I said, my intention is to do what is called an appropriation transfer. It is a special mechanism used between Federal agencies. It means both the money and the authority go directly to the transferee, in this case, the National Institute of Standards and Technology. There are no strings on it. It is simply
Chairman BOEHLERT. Will anyone have any objection if we weigh in with the appropriators and say this seems to be a sort of a silly way to do it. Why don't we just go directly to NIST? It wouldn't cause you any heartburn. Would it, Mr. Shea?
Mr. SHEA. No, Mr. Chairman. Not at all.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Okay. Well, I don't want to cause anybody heartburn. Mr. Shays.
Fire and Building Failure
Page 162 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. SHAYS. And, Chairman, if there was going to be a broker's fee, there certainly wouldn't be after you asked your question. You really covered the bases on that one. There was no angle that one would get around that one.
I have still a number of questions and we only have two. So I might come back after you, Mr. Chairman, and just do a few now. One of my concerns is that when the people went out of both towers, they went out in a fairly orderly way. In fact, it is pretty extraordinary from what I have read and the people I have spoken withthe respect that each had for the other as they tried to go down. Some people were slow; others carried them down, and so on.
But I think it is fair to say that they didn't quite think it would implode or collapse. And I would like to just have for the record, if it is accurate, that a building on fire isn't necessarily going to collapse within the first hour, and that these clearly were pretty extraordinary events. And my fear is that if we don't establish that for the record, we are going to have fires where people are just going to think they have to get out in the next 20 minutes and then no one gets out.
I would like to knowI mean, we do accept the fact that this was pretty extraordinary, correct? Nodding the heads doesn't get on the record.
Dr. BARNETT. Yeah.
Mr. SHAYS. Yes.
Page 163 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Dr. BARNETT. Yes. This was extraordinary. This was the first time that we had the collapse of a protected steel structure. And I think that is the whole point as we move ahead, and particularly with this proposed legislation, that we move ahead in a carefully planned approach, and we don't just change building codes because of one incident.
WTC Building 7
Mr. SHAYS. Now, Building 7 is a building that, I guess, coincidentally, stayed standing for 7 hours. What did we learn about that building and why it was able to endure the fire for 7 hours? I would first like to know how it caught on fire.
Dr. CORLEY. I will address that question. First of all, in discussing with the New York City Fire Department, we determined and concluded that it started on fire after or as Building 2 collapsed, that there was debris from that building that was propelled into Building 7 and that the fire started at that time.
Mr. SHAYS. And in some cases that debris could have had aircraft fuel on it and so on. Were these lighted timbers that
Dr. CORLEY. No. We think it was building contents that was propelled over there.
Mr. SHAYS. Okay.
Dr. CORLEY. That by the time Building 2 collapsed
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Mr. SHAYS. Okay.
Dr. CORLEY [continuing]. The aircraft fuel would not have
Mr. SHAYS. Okay.
Dr. CORLEY [continuing]. Been there anymore. It would have been consumed by that time. Then, from that point on
Mr. SHAYS. And how tall a building?
Dr. CORLEY. It is 47 stories
Mr. SHAYS. Wow.
Dr. CORLEY [continuing]. For Building 7. It is a big building. The fire that we were able to follow from that point on was throughout the building, but it was particularly of long duration in the lower floors around where the very large transfer elements, trusses and beams and columns, were located. This building had to be built with a very random spacing of foundations because of what was there before it.
Mr. SHAYS. Was it a pretty traditional type building, unlike the two towers?
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Dr. CORLEY. Above the transfer area was a very traditional building. At the transfer area in the lower floors, over the substation for Com-Ed, it had these enormous trusses that took the loads and brought them to the columns. That is the area where the fire burned for a long period of time, and it does result in one of our recommendations. And that is for key elements of that where the collapse of an element might result in the collapse of an entire building. We recommend that they be reviewed to see if they should have longer fire duration for those elements than would be necessary in the rest of the building.
Mr. SHAYS. And now, my understanding is, in the case of Building 7, there was no water pressure because of the breaking of water mains and so on, with the collapse of the towers. Is that correct?
Dr. CORLEY. That is what we determined. That it, Building 7, collapsed prior to the time they were able to get the water pressure back up to higher levels. They didn't really get it up to normal levels, but at least got some water pressure back.
Mr. SHAYS. And the water we were taking out of the Hudson River, we were trying to put into the debris on the towers to try to get people out, get them out alive.
Dr. CORLEY. Yes.
Mr. SHAYS. So what we have, though, is this incredible case study. When do you burn a 47when do you allow a building 47 stories tall to just burn until it collapses? So there are tremendous lessons to be learned about structures from these buildings in particular.
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Dr. CORLEY. Yes. We put a great deal of emphasis on Building 7 in our report, and we conclude that we have an understanding, we believe, of how it performed, but that we need to pin down what the source of fuel was that allowed it to burn that long.
Mr. SHAYS. Now, I don't know the answer to this question. But, maybe I should. How many people, it is thought, were killed in that building. Did most get out?
Dr. CORLEY. We were not able to determine that there were any fatalities in that building. There may have been, but we could not determine that there were.
Mr. SHAYS. But minimal compared to, obviously, elsewhere.
Dr. CORLEY. Yes.
Mr. SHAYS. And so that should be some reassurance to people if they are in a building, a more typical building on fire, that they do have time to get out of the building.
Dr. CORLEY. Oh, yes. We believe that without the damage that occurred to the two towers, that buildings will performwill stand up for a significant period of time without collapse, with the fire requirements that are there now.
Mr. SHAYS. Now, are you able to determine if you did have proper water pressure and so on, whether that you could have prevented the fire from consuming the building?
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Dr. CORLEY. We looked into that, discussed it quite a lot. And while we did not make a strong statement in the reportit was really beyond the scope of what we were doingwe do believe if it had been fought, they could have put it out, and if they could have put it out, that there would not have been that risk of collapse to that building.
Mr. SHAYS. Now, I have a particular bias that the actions against us weren't criminal acts, they were acts of war, acts of terror. And I kind of bristle when I think of our treating this as a criminal act in which we have to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that someone did it and they were at the scene or whatever you need to deal with in a crime. But there areI have constituents who are interested in knowing, given that it is technically a criminal site. I have constituents who are interested to know how we can justify beginning to build on that site. Is it that all the debris is entirely taken away and so therefore there is no evidence at the site that is helpful?
Dr. CORLEY. I am not an expert in the legal side of it, but you are, indeed, correct, that the debris will soon have been all removed and that there would not be a substantial amount of information there that I would anticipate would be useful in any trial.
Mr. SHAYS. Sir, I want toand since there are only two of us, do you want me to go? Or do you want to go and then I will come back. I have about 10 more minutes of questions at the most, then I will be done.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Okay. All right. Let me go. Just a couple very
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Mr. SHAYS. Can I just say, Mr. Chairman, that your staff has written some incredible questions that I do think we need to put on the record. And I hope you don't underestimate the value of your great staff.
NIST Follow-up Investigation
Chairman BOEHLERT. I never underestimate the value of the staff. Dr. Corley, as far as you know, do the NIST plans for the follow-up investigation and research cover the areas you highlighted as needing further work?
Dr. CORLEY. I have reviewed their plan and have concluded that they are covering the majority of the things that we have recommended in the report. My belief is they intend, in the overall program, to include all of them, and have put priorities to include the ones that they consider most important first.
Chairman BOEHLERT. What would youwhat is missing?
Dr. CORLEY. I don't think there is anything missing in the full program, presuming that gets done. In the early stage of the program, there are a couple of areas that could have heavier emphasis, just to be sure that they get done in case the program doesn't get carried out.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Have you had additional input into the plan after you have seen the initial plan? I mean, have you said, now, look atNIST, we think that you should give a higher priority to this, more emphasis on this? Have you had an ongoing dialogue?
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Dr. CORLEY. The dialogue has been started and we hope to have continual dialogue as the program gets finalized.
Chairman BOEHLERT. And, Dr. Bement, would you concede that maybe this added input would be valuable? Have you talked this thing through, and Dr. Corley may say, we think you are missing the boat on this one. Why don't you give more emphasis? And then you talk it through and maybe you would agree with him and maybe you wouldn't. But I mean
Dr. BEMENT. Our plan is still malleable. It changes. It will probably change some more. I am sure that when we have our public hearing in New York and get further input on our plan, it will change still more.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Can you give us some indication on how you decided what you would include, what you wouldn't, how you prioritize? And then also, I would like to know the central goal of the investigation.
Dr. BEMENT. I think going back to the central point, why these were unique incidences and why collapse occurred, there have been instances where buildings have had major fires that have burned to completion without the buildings collapsing. I mean, there are several such incidents on record. I think in this particular instance, because of the singular nature of the collapse and the effect of the fire on that collapse, we really have to understand that in much better detail. And so that is, far and away in our minds, the most critical thing to understand first; and then begin to anticipate what type of technical basis we are going to have to develop in order to bring about code changes in buildings that may be subjected to either blast or terrorist attack of one kind or another.
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In addition to that, of course, we are very much concerned that firefighters have all the access that they need and all the tools that they need in fighting fires in tall buildings. And, of course, communications have been mentioned, but protective clothing is another issue. Having access to the fire is another issuenot being blocked in trying to enter a building and do the work that they have to do. So I would say that we consider that to be a very essential part of our early investigation.
Now, there are a lot of other elements that are also critical, and that has to do with the behavior of connections under fire, the behavior of open truss structures under fire, that are central to understanding in detail just the exact sequence of the events that led up to the collapse. We think that also is essential to do early.
So our initial attention is on Buildings 1, 2, and 7, but the lessons learned from that part of the investigation will apply broadly to other buildings as well because these elements are in general use in
Chairman BOEHLERT. But shouldn't the Bankers Trust be reviewed, because that is more typical of what might be expected to happen.
Dr. BEMENT. Well, in the case of Bankers Trust, there is no mystery about what the initiating event was. It was the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings and the debris that came from the World Trade Center buildings. Now, you are absolutely right in your understanding of how that impact was absorbed and how it was dampened and also the pathways in which the load was propagated through the building. That has to be subjected to finite element analysis and further testing.
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And those are the specific tests that will be part of the research and development program, a lot of which, incidentally, will be done in parallel with the investigation. So it is not as if it is being overlooked.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Finally, and this seems like an appropriate way to wind up. I want to be sure we all understand what is at stake in terms of building safety, in terms of the results of these efforts we have been talking about today.
Building Codes/Code-related Research
Dr. Corley, what changes in codes and research related to codes is the highest priority in following up on your investigation? You know, obviously we are not going to design against planes hitting buildings at high speed. What changes can we design for?
Dr. CORLEY. The items that we saw that need the most attention, other than those that deal strictly with buildings that can be identified as potential targets for terrorists, are those dealing with the fire resistance of connections. That was the one. Also related to that is the amount of fuel that is in a building and there is a need to look into that the fuels that go into buildings today are different than they were at the time the
Chairman BOEHLERT. That is your highest priority?
Dr. CORLEY. Those are the two highest prioritiesthe connections and the amount of fuel.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. Okay.
Dr. CORLEY. And
Chairman BOEHLERT. Dr. Barnett.
Dr. BARNETT. Thank you. I would like to add something about the connections. In Building 5, we had major collapses due to connection behavior in the fire. That is why it is a priority. Building 5's construction was similar to buildings around us every day.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Uh-huh.
Dr. BARNETT. We need to look into this. We talked about building codes. This may or may not result in a building code change. It certainly, in my opinion, will result in a design practice change. Design practice by professionals can occur at once. As soon as professionals realize there is an issue, they can make the change. Building codes are minimum standards. It is really not where we ought to be heading, or at least just not that alone. We need to look at the whole picture.
But Building 5 was a normal building and it had a fire and it had major collapses. This has never happened before. We need to understand why. And I think that is why Dr. Corley has identified the connection issue as a very significant issue.
Chairman BOEHLERT. But the changes are very important and I am glad you have pinpointed that. Because when all is said and done and we come up with model codes, but no one is forced to do anything to put those codes into practice. Is that correct?
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Dr. CORLEY. The code process is that model codes are put together and then the local jurisdictions have to adopt them. And while they are not forced to do that, there is wide adoption of those codes. So
Chairman BOEHLERT. But they are not mandates.
Dr. CORLEY. They are not mandated to adopt those codes. And, in fact, when the local jurisdiction adopts one, they can even make exceptions
Chairman BOEHLERT. Uh-huh.
Dr. CORLEY [continuing]. To the code. But in practice, once it goes into the model code, it is unusual for a local jurisdiction not to pick it up.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Dr. Bement, would you agree with Dr. Corley's priorities?
Dr. BEMENT. Yes. I think it is very consistent with what I said earlier, that we do want to pay particular attention to connections and also the fire resistance of these connections. I think his point on fuel loading in buildings is a point that I made earlier in my testimony. We feel very strongly about that.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Well, how come Building 5 isn't part of your investigations then?
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Dr. BEMENT. Building 5 is part of the research and development program. We want to actually do tests on the connections to understand the failure modes. And it is not being overlooked.
Chairman BOEHLERT. But is there any money for that? R&D, I mean.
Dr. BEMENT. We will have money in our '03 request if it is passed.
Chairman BOEHLERT. Well, we are talking about intentions rather than reality. All right. Mr. Shays.
NIST Subpoena Power
Mr. SHAYS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Think of me as the PS here, Mr. Chairman. I said think of me as the P.S. at the end of your final questions. I have some questions that some of my constituents have a particular interest in. And like New York City and Long Island and New Jersey, 60 constituents in my district, the 4th Congressional district, lost loved ones.
With regard to the subpoena power, Dr. Bement, that you didn't seem to advocate, I am really unclear as to what your position is.
Page 175 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Dr. BEMENT. Well, I didn't
Mr. SHAYS. And let me just finish.
Dr. BEMENT. Sorry. Yes.
Mr. SHAYS. Yes. I can't imagine takingI am expressing a bias, but I want to at least warn you of my bias. I can't imagine taking seriously any investigative organization that doesn't have the power to demand information when they need it. Otherwise, you are going to get the information that people want you to have, not necessarily information you need to have. That is my bias. And I would like to know what you
Dr. BEMENT. I don't want anyone on the Committee to conclude that I made a specific statement for or against the subpoena power at this time. As long as it is under active consideration, it is very difficult for me to characterize what the position of the Administration would be.
Mr. SHAYS. Fair enough. I will leave it at that. I mean, so it is not that you oppose it. It is that the Administration hasn't yet made up their mind.
Dr. BEMENT. I would like to leave it there. Yes. I would agree with that.
Mr. SHAYS. Okay. So we need to get the Administration to weigh in on this. That is not your responsibility. That would be ours. With regard to a testing facility, are there testing facilities overseas that we could utilize and could we have our own facility?
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Dr. BEMENT. Well, there is one actually in Canada that we could use. So it is not that far away.
Mr. SHAYS. Is that a possibility?
Dr. BEMENT. Yes.
Mr. SHAYS. Okay.
Dr. BEMENT. We have already entered into discussions.
Mr. SHAYS. All right. What role is ASCE going to play in the investigation?
Dr. BEMENT. Well, first of all, let me establish the principle that NIST will do an independent and objective investigation and we will stand behind our findings and recommendations. We will, of course, engage individual experts, many of whom will be members of ASCE, as well as other professional societies and the academic community at large. So we are not, at this stageand it could very well be that some members will be part of our Federal Advisory Committee. So at this point, we don't see a formal relationship in the investigation, but we could very well have a formal investigation in the follow-up research and development program.
Building Performance Information Repository
Page 177 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. SHAYS. Thank you. Is there a repository for building performances, prior studies of building failures, either from natural disaster or human error in the design of the building, or, a malicious attack or something? Does such a repository of information exist anywhere?
Dr. BEMENT. Yes, sir. NIST has a building and fire information system that has a general knowledge base on past investigations, past events, technology developments, codes, etcetera. All the information that we will collect and even all the reports that we will generate as part of the investigation will be part of that information system. And that is available to the public in general. And I think, going forward, as we continue to be involved in these types of disasters or these types of investigations, they will also be a part of that repository.
Mr. SHAYS. Does that include NSF and BPAT investigations as well in the past?
Dr. BEMENT. I would have to consult withnot yet, I am told.
Mr. SHAYS. Okay. Is this something that the general public is able to turn to as a resource?
Dr. BEMENT. I think it is on our website. Yes. It is on our general website.
Page 178 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 3 Mr. SHAYS. But it is not as complete as it could be. And so there will be an attempt to make it more complete and then also provide it to the general public?
Dr. BEMENT. Yes.
Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, let me just conclude by just making a comment: in Bridgeport, we lost 29 workers when they were putting up a lift slab at L'Ambiance, and it was determined that the lift slab method was not a very safe way to do it. I mean, you literally molded each one and then you lifted each floor up. And workers were in down below as they kept lifting up the other floors.
And what the Bush Administration actually didit was under the Bush Administrationthey set up an office of construction safety within OSHA and promulgated new regulations to protect workers. I mean, we learned a great deal from that experience. And I would imagine that we are going to learn a ton of information.
And I have to say to you that when I attended your first hearing, I was really wondering, what is the point? I mean, you have two planes go into a building. But this is a wealth of knowledge that you are so right in making sure, and others obviously, that we pursue.
And obviously the victims who have suffered from this, I think, also deserve to know that we will learn a lot and that their loved ones willthat some good things will happen from this horrific event, that we learn things that can save lives in the future.
And so I just really appreciate what the gentlemen here are doing. I appreciate what many in your audience have done, because they have been catalysts for this effort as well. And, thank you.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. Thank you very much, Mr. Shays, particularly for your attentiveness and active involvement. And I want to thank all the witnesses, but particularly Dr. Corley and ASCE. You have given countless hours, and it is not over yet, on something that is very important for us all.
I want to remind everyone that there is going to be a press availability in Room 2325. The witnesses and the members of the Committee who areoh, it is going to be right here? It is going to be right here. See how flexible we are? We can adjust.
We will have a press conference next week to announce the introduction of the bill. We are still working it and we are getting suggestions. We are very open to any good ideas that will come along. But we intend to really pursue this to its logical conclusion in short order.
And I want to remind NIST, Dr. Bement, that we are going to help you get that $16 million and hope we can avoid the convoluted path that some have charted for it. We would like to get it directly for you.
And I can appreciate it sometimes. It puts someone like you in a difficult position, some of the questions we ask, because obviously the Administration is weighing various policy options. But we are going to get you subpoena power because we think it is very important. And we are going to get you the resources because we think that is very important.
Dr. BEMENT. Thank you very much.
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Chairman BOEHLERT. And on behalf of the entire Committee, I want to thank all of you for spending so much of your timejust not today, but throughout this whole processthank you for being very candid, particularly Professor Corbett. I like your style. Thank you very much. This hearing is adjourned. Yeah. Now you can clap.
[Whereupon, at 3:31 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
Additional Material for the Record
Next Hearing Segment(3)