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Global Notebook
2003 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Winners Named

Seven organizations have been named recipients of the 2003 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the United States’ highest honor for quality and performance excellence. This is the greatest number of Baldrige Award recipients since the program started in 1988 and the first time that recipients were named in all five Baldrige Award categories. The recipients are: Medrad, Inc., Indianola, Pa. (manufacturing); Boeing Aerospace Support, St. Louis, Mo. (service); Caterpillar Financial Services Corp., Nashville, Tenn. (service); Stoner Inc., Quarryville, Pa. (small business); Community Consolidated School District 15, Palatine, Ill. (education); Baptist Hospital, Inc., Pensacola, Fla. (health care); and Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo. (health care).

NIBS Issues Two Requests for Proposals

The National Institute of Building Sciences’ American Lifelines Alliance announced two projects in November that will provide valuable information about infrastructure responses to natural disasters. The ALA issued a request for proposals for the development of a report to be titled “Case Studies on Local Roadway Systems Subject to Flood Hazards.” This project will document and assess, through a series of case studies, past examples of flood-preparedness planning, flood occurrence, and post-flood repair/upgrade measures for local roadway transportation systems. It will focus on the decision-making process followed for each case study, including data describing alternative risk-reduction measures that were considered; the economic, legal, political and other factors considered; how the local transportation system fared during actual floods; implications of these experiences for future acceptable-risk assessments and decision-making; and the value of developing non-mandatory decision-making guidelines.

The ALA has also issued a request for proposals from those interested in developing guidelines that can provide clear and practical direction to water utilities for designing and constructing more earthquake-resistant pipelines. The guidelines to be developed will focus on such topics and issues as subsurface investigations, “standard” vs. “seismic” pipeline design, applicability of recommended practices, standard pipeline materials, alternate pipeline materials and methods, and special pipeline components. To obtain either request for proposals, contact Joe Steller, ALA program manager.

Nanotechnology R&D

The 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act has been signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush. The act authorizes funding for nanotechnology research and development over four years, starting in fiscal year 2005. Nanotechnology is the research and development of materials, devices, and systems approximately 1-100 nanometers in length, or 1/100,000th the diameter of a human hair, that exhibit physical, chemical, and biological properties that are different from those found at larger scales. Nanotechnology offers potential breakthroughs in the detection and treatment of diseases, and ways of monitoring and protecting the environment, producing and storing energy, and building complex structures as small as an electronic circuit or as large as an airplane. Nanotechnology is expected to have a broad and fundamental impact on many sectors of the economy, leading to new products, new businesses, new jobs, and possibly new industries.

Performance-Based Building Codes Global Summit

Participants from several nations discussed building regulations at a global summit held in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 3-5, 2003. The Global Summit on Performance-Based Building Codes, organized by the Inter-Jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee and co-sponsored by the International Code Council, provided opportunities to discuss international building regulations. Topics included terrorism and extreme events, multi-hazards, moisture and mold, energy efficiency, sustainability, security, accessibility and building life cycles. Performance building regulations can reduce trade barriers, address variations in cultures and practices of individual countries, and allow indigenous construction methods and materials. Such methods may not be addressed by most prescriptive regulations and associated standards. Unlike most prescriptive building regulations, which provide directions on how a building should be constructed, performance regulations focus on outcomes. A report of findings and conference proceedings will be available early this year. The Inter-Jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee is an unaffiliated committee of 10 of the leading building regulatory agencies from eight countries.

Understanding the WTO

The World Trade Organization has replaced its basic introduction to the organization, Trading Into the Future, with Understanding the WTO, a downloadable, 116-page PDF document that covers basic facts about the WTO, agreements (tariffs, agriculture, standards, anti-dumping subsidies, and so on), dispute settlement, the Doha Agenda, developing countries, and more. //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International