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2004 ANSI Annual Conference

The 2004 Annual Conference of the American National Standards Institute, East Meets West: Facing Challenges and Making Connections, will be held in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 13 as part of the U.S. celebration of World Standards Week. Conference speakers and panelists, including standards and conformity assessment professionals, manufacturers, business leaders and government representatives, will explore several perspectives on the People’s Republic of China’s national standards system, including compliance with China’s standards and regulations, the challenges and complexities U.S. industries face in China, the cultural differences that contribute to differing standards, and threats to intellectual property. The Annual Conference will also feature special panels on homeland and global security and international recognition of product certification in Asia and beyond.

Fire Spread Analysis

As land prices continue to rise, homes are being built closer together, many without fire-resistant materials. Building officials need information about the rate of fire spread in communities under various conditions of house spacing, construction methods and materials, and weather. Fire departments also have to understand the time required for fire to spread from one house to another in order to provide adequate response. In a recent series of full-scale laboratory experiments at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, it took less than five minutes for flames from a simulated house with combustible exterior walls to ignite a similar “house” six feet [1.8 m] away. The experiments were conducted this summer at the NIST Large Fire Facility. The tests are part of a program to develop computer models for predicting the spread of fire in residential communities. NIST plans to summarize its results once an analysis of the tests is complete. Officials considering house separation regulations and/or the inclusion of fire-resistant barriers on exterior walls should find such fire spread data useful.

Risk Management for Lifelines

The American Lifelines Alliance has produced three draft guidelines for utility system owners and operators that will help them determine the appropriate level of effort needed to formulate defensible risk management decisions during and after hazard events. The draft guidelines cover electric power systems, oil and gas pipeline systems, and wastewater systems. Both natural and man-made hazard events are addressed. The ALA is managed by the National Institute of Building Sciences with funding from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. The guidelines were posted for review until mid-August; after review they will be used for developing national consensus guidelines within standards developing organizations. Contact Joe Steller, ALA Program Director (202/289-7800, ext. 130).

Baldrige Success Stories

The seven recipients of the 2003 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award have shared their success stories in a set of audiovisual materials showcasing the strategies each company used to earn the United States’ highest quality achievement. The set of three compact discs contains in-depth information about the winners’ management practices, including interviews with their chief executives and others. The 2003 recipients of the Baldrige Award are Medrad Inc., Boeing Aerospace Support, Caterpillar Financial Services Corp., Stoner Inc., Community Consolidated School District 15, Baptist Hospital Inc., and Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. Contact American Society for Quality, Milwaukee, Wis. (phone: 800/248-1946; fax: 414/272-1734).

Nanotechnology Standards Panel

The American National Standards Institute has created the Nanotechnology Standards Panel, a new coordinating body for the development of standards in the area of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology refers to the manufacturing or manipulating of matter at the atomic and molecular level, or nanoscale. The panel will convene Sept. 29-30 in Gaithersburg, Md., to focus its initial work on nomenclature and terminology. The Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President asked ANSI to address this area of standardization in support of academics, various industries, the investment community and government agencies that utilize nanotechnology. The ANSI-NSP is open to all interested parties. For more information, visit the ANSI Web site. //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International