ASTM International Joins in Congressional Briefing
Coalition Organizes Meeting to Provide Better Understanding of Earthquake Devastation
ASTM International joined with 23 organizations, including the American Institute of Architects, the International Code Council, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association to conduct a briefing for the U.S. Congress on rebuilding in the wake of an earthquake. The Feb. 4 program, “After the Earthquake: The Role of Building and Infrastructure in Mitigating Disaster,” was organized by the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition to provide Congressional staff with a better understanding of the devastation brought on by earthquakes and how the U.S. building community can help Haiti and other nations construct safer buildings and infrastructure.
Statistics from Haiti following the earthquake are staggering: 20,000 commercial buildings collapsed, 225,000 residential buildings beyond repair, and 180 government buildings destroyed. According to Anne Kiremidjian, Ph.D., of the Stanford University School of Engineering, the tallest building in Haiti still stands because it was built to modern building codes similar to those required by many U.S. cities.
The destruction of buildings in Haiti was also attributed to poor quality of materials such as concrete and wood, and poor design and construction techniques. There is also growing concern that debris from the destruction will be used to rebuild substandard housing to serve as shelter in the coming weeks.
Haiti does not have a national building code nor the necessary enforcement mechanism required for constructing and maintaining structures. Along with many other Caribbean islands, Haiti faces risk annually from hurricanes and earthquakes, and for this reason buildings have to be designed to withstand the effects of these two potential natural disasters. The Caribbean Uniform Building Code was developed to serve as a regional consensus on appropriate building standards for the Caribbean region to harness the expertise of many countries that develop codes.
Although the destruction is great, speakers at the briefing suggested that Haiti presents an opportunity to rebuild, not only better but greener, if focusing on the environment and sustainable practices is factored into the rebuilding equation.
The briefing highlighted a need to work with the Haitian community by creating partnerships to help them rebuild through education and exchange programs and training experts on building codes, standards for materials and regulatory requirements. Many of the co-sponsors of the briefing reached out several years ago to support a bill sponsored by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) entitled the Codes and Safety for the Americas Act, which would translate code books and offer training to experts in the designated country. The bill was passed and signed into law by former President George W. Bush, though funding was not appropriated to support the efforts.
NOTE: The catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake that occurred in Haiti on Jan. 12 affected an estimated three million people, with hundreds of thousands among the dead and injured. In addition, thousands of commercial and residential buildings were destroyed, leaving many people homeless. Joining the worldwide wave of humanitarian aid that followed the earthquake, ASTM International has made a $10,000 donation to the American Red Cross to continue relief efforts in Haiti.
Continuity of Care Record Standard Becomes Part of U.S. Policy for Health Information Technology
ASTM Standard E2369 Included in Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act
An ASTM International standard used for effective and timely electronic messaging of healthcare records has now been adopted as a standard for a structured summary health record exchange included in new regulations associated with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
ASTM E2369, Specification for Continuity of Care Record (CCR), was included as a patient summary record standard in the interim final rule, document 45 CFR Part 170 RIN 0991-AB58, published Dec. 30, 2009. ASTM E2369 is now part of the formal U.S. Department of Health and Human Services certification criteria for electronic health record technologies.
The CCR, developed by Subcommittee E31.25 on Healthcare Data Management, Security, Confidentiality and Privacy, presents a way to create flexible XML documents that contain the most relevant and timely healthcare information about a patient and to send these records electronically from one caregiver to another and to patients with the goal of creating better coordination and quality of care.
On January 22, ASTM International hosted a Chinese delegation representing a variety of provincial quality and technical supervision bureaus as well as the China Association for Standardization. The discussion focused on occupational health and safety standards as well as the ASTM standards development process.
ASTM International hosted a delegation from the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 14, 2009. The visit was highlighted by a virtual presentation by Donald Marlowe of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and lifetime member of ASTM, about standards for pharmaceutical products, packaging and medical devices. ASTM staff also discussed the history and long-standing partnership ASTM International has had with China. In 2004, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China as well as cooperative agreements with Chinese research institutes in both Beijing and Shanghai.
ASTM Annual Business Meeting June 9
The 2010 ASTM Annual Business Meeting will be held at the members’ breakfast on Wednesday, June 9, during the ASTM June committee week meetings in St. Louis, Mo. The complimentary breakfast begins at 7 a.m. at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand and Suites Hotel. For further information, contact Maureen Houck (phone: 610-832-9594).
Courses Presented in Bahrain, Jordan, Botswana
As part of ASTM’s Memorandum of Understanding program, the Bahrain Standards and Metrology Directorate presented the Standards for Asbestos Control course in Manama, Bahrain, on Oct. 29, 2009. The instructor was Andrew F. Oberta of the Environmental Consultancy, who serves as chairman of Task Group E06.24.03 on Asbestos Management. Thirty attendees representing government and industry in the Gulf Region countries took the one-day course.
Three of the countries — Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia — have banned the use of asbestos, and the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization has withdrawn seven standards on the manufacture and testing of asbestos-cement products. The course presented attendees with the state-of-the-art methods for managing asbestos-containing materials already installed in buildings and industrial facilities that are described in seven standards developed by ASTM Committees E06 on Performance of Buildings and D22 on Air Quality.
Concrete and Concrete Aggregates
In October 2009, members of ASTM International Committee C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates presented a technical assistance training program at the Jordan Institution for Standards and Metrology in Amman, Jordan. The program dealt with ASTM standards on concrete, cement and reinforcing steel that are referenced in ACI 318, Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete and Commentary, the American Concrete Institute design standard for structural concrete. Many construction projects in Jordan are based on the ACI design standard, which refers to ASTM specifications and test methods for concrete and its constituent materials.
Nicholas J. Carino, Ph.D., past chairman of Committee C09, and Anthony E. Fiorato, Ph.D., former chairman of the ASTM board of directors and current chairman of C09, presented the three-and-a-half day training program at JISM headquarters. The 25 participants included JISM staff and representatives from local municipal agencies, the ready-mixed concrete industry, testing agencies and the Royal Scientific Society.
Jayakumar Gopalakrishnan, ASTM International trainer and technical services consultant for textiles, conducted a technical assistance training program for the Southern African Development Community — Cooperation in Standards (SADCSTAN) Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 2009, at the headquarters of the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) in Gaborone, Botswana. ASTM has memorandums of understanding with both SADCSTAN and BOBS.
Representatives of small manufacturers, purchasers of special uniforms, university lecturers and BOBS staff participated in courses on quality and performance standards and ASTM textile standards for yarns and sewing threads.
For more information on the technical assistance program, contact Sarah Naouri, manager, global cooperation, ASTM International (phone: 610-832-9693).
On Dec. 15, 2009, ASTM International hosted a delegation sponsored by the China Association for Standardization. The discussion centered around ASTM and the role of standards in the U.S. government. The delegation also expressed interest in the citation of the ASTM standard, F963, Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, in U.S. law.