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 November 2005 Global Notebook

Commerce’s NIST Coordinates Study of Structural Damage from Gulf Hurricanes

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology announced today that it has deployed the first of three teams of technical experts under a multiorganizational partnership to perform assessments of physical structures damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the nation’s Gulf Coast. The partnership — coordinated by NIST and made up of 26 engineers from 16 separate private-sector, academic and federal organizations — will document data from the field on damage to major buildings, infrastructure facilities and residential structures due to wind, wind-borne debris, storm surge, surge-borne debris and flooding. The damage assessment teams also will collect damage and environmental data from other sources, correlate damage data with environmental data, and identify building codes and practices used in the affected areas. Their efforts will result in a single report from the entire partnership documenting all findings, recommendations for any additional assessments needed of structural performance during the hurricanes, and any immediate implications for building practices, standards and codes.

Bright IDEAS

Entries are now being accepted for the revised Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel Awards (IDEAS2). Sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction, this program recognizes those projects where structural steel has been utilized in an innovative manner and recognizes the entire building team: architectural firm, structural engineering firm of record, general contractor, detailer, fabricator, erector as well as the project owner. Specialty consultants and contractors will be recognized at the discretion of the architect and structural engineer of record. Any member of the project team may submit a project for consideration. Joint submittals from project teams are encouraged. A panel of design and construction industry professionals will judge the entries in three categories according to constructed value in U.S. dollars: Less than $15 million; $15 million to $75 million; greater than $75 million. Both national and merit honors will be awarded. In addition, a Presidential Award of Excellence for structural engineering or architectural expression may be awarded at the judges’ discretion. All awards will be announced at the 2006 North American Steel Construction Conference in San Antonio, Texas in February 2006. Submission packets can be requested here. Submission packets can be requested until Nov. 15 and entries are due by Dec. 15.

NACLA Signs MOU with Inter-Americas Accreditation Organization

The National Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation and the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the coming months and years. Both organizations share the same goal: coordination and improvement of the work of laboratory accreditation bodies. The MOU cites “the need to foster national, regional, interregional and global schemes for operation and recognition of reliable accreditation programs.” It indicates several areas of cooperation and responsibility: training and development, proficiency testing programs, peer evaluations, information exchange, support on technical matters and projects and fund procurement. The text of the NACLA-IAAC MOU and other information about NACLA can be found on the NACLA Web site.

New California Cigarette Safety Law Relies on ASTM Test Method

The California Cigarette Safety and Firefighter Protection Act (AB 178) has been approved by the California State Legislature and will be enrolled into the section of the state’s Health and Safety Code relating to cigarettes. The measure requires all cigarettes sold in the state to be self-extinguishing in accordance with ASTM E 2187, Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes. Cigarette manufacturers must mark packages of cigarettes to be sold in California to show compliance. New York, Vermont and Canada have passed similar legislation. Legislation (H.R. 1850) has also been introduced in the U.S. Congress to require a national ignition standard for cigarettes based on the existing ASTM test method.

Intertek and Brazil’s National Standards Body Sign Agreement

The ETL SEMKO division of Intertek, a product testing, inspection and certification company, recently signed an agreement with Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas, the Brazilian national standards body. The alliance provides testing, factory inspection, and certification services for building products and component manufacturers exporting their products from North America to Brazil and from Brazil to North America. //

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