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Quarterly Report of World Trade Center Collapse

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently released a quarterly report from the agency’s federal building and fire safety investigation into the World Trade Center disaster of Sept. 11, 2001. According to press materials issued with the report, NIST has consulted extensively with local authorities in New York, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Fire Department of New York, and the New York City Department of Buildings. NIST has received volumes of information from these agencies and from organizations representing the WTC building designers, owners, leaseholders, suppliers, contractors and insurers. NIST also has access to the expertise of a private-sector coalition that includes professionals from industry and standards and codes bodies to aid in the investigation’s data collection efforts. NIST expects to complete its investigation and issue a final report by the end of 2004.

Former ANSI Chairman Takes Office as ISO President

Oliver R. Smoot took office in January as president of the International Organization for Standardization. Smoot succeeds Mario Cortopassi of Brazil as the organization’s chief elected officer. Smoot’s term, which extends through Dec. 31, 2004, comes at a point when international standardization is called on to respond to the globalization of trade, the issues posed by new challenges such as sustainable development, and the requirements of the information society. Smoot served as chairman of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) board of directors from January 2001 through December 2002. He is succeeded in that position by George Arnold, recently retired as Standards and Intellectual Property vice president at Lucent Technologies.

Baldrige Award Winners Announced

The winners of the 2002 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award have been announced. They are Motorola Incorporated’s Commercial, Government, and Industrial Solutions Sector, Schaumburg, Ill. (manufacturing category); Branch-Smith Printing Division, Fort Worth, Texas (small business category); and SSM Health Care, St. Louis, Mo. (healthcare category). The Baldrige Award is given to U.S. organizations that have exemplary achievements in seven areas: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management, and results.

World Bank-WTO Assistance on Standards

The World Bank and the World Trade Organization are establishing a new fund, called the Standards and Trade Development Facility, as part of their efforts to link aid to trade opportunities in the fight against poverty. The fund, created in cooperation with other organizations, will provide a stimulus to important new projects for developing countries in this critical area, helping them shape and implement international standards on food safety and plant and animal health. The goal is to provide grants and financial support for technical assistance projects in developing countries through enhanced collaboration between the international organizations involved.

Study Shows Industries Taking a Big STEP to Savings

A number of U.S. industries already could save a total of more than $900 million annually, by using the Standard for Exchange of Product model data (STEP, formally known as ISO 10303), states a new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The report assessed the economic impact of STEP, which provides a neutral format that enables the exchange of data between proprietary systems. Some parts of STEP already are international standards, and other parts are still in development. Data from industry surveys and case studies were used to estimate that, within the industries studied, full implementation of STEP could save $928 million (in 2001 dollars) per year. More than half of the projected savings would be realized in the automotive industry — which has been a leader in STEP development — with the remainder
going to the aerospace, shipbuilding, and the tool and die industries. For a printed copy of the study, contact Denise Herbert, NIST (phone: 301/975-2667). //

Copyright 2003, ASTM