February 18, 2022, Update: NIST Champlain Towers South Investigation adds new members to its expert panel

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has added new experts to the National Building Safety Team (NCST) investigating the June 24, 2021 partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Florida. NIST also scheduled the next meeting of the NCST Advisory Committee in June.

Miami-based N. Emel Ganapati will serve as the social science team leader on the Evidence Preservation Project and lead interviews with residents, first responders, family members and others with knowledge of the building’s condition and collapse events. Janapati is associate professor of public policy and management and director of the Social Sciences Research Laboratory, International Hurricane Research Center, Florida International University. It specializes in disaster recovery and mitigation, as well as adaptation to sea level rise. She holds an MA in Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Planning from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

“The social science component of the investigation will support the technical work by helping us refine or refute hypotheses developed by the team, or perhaps give us new leads,” Ganapati said. “Hearing from a diverse group of people who have different perspectives and memories of the event and building over time, can help fill in any gaps in our understanding that quantitative measurements cannot fill.”

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Presented by N. Emel Ganapati from Miami, who will be the Social Science Team Leader for the Evidence Preservation Project. You will lead interviews with residents, first responders, family members and others who have knowledge of the building’s condition and collapse.

NIST expects the investigation to take at least two years, as every evidence must be thoroughly analyzed, and all hypotheses evaluated. The team will release a draft report for public comment once the potential cause of the collapse has been identified and any recommendations for improving building standards, codes and practices have been established, as well as for research and other appropriate actions that can improve the structures’ structural integrity.

“This is one of the most complex investigations into construction failures ever conducted,” said Judith Mitrani-Reiser, who co-led the investigation. “We have an amazing team of experts who are working hard to study the evidence that will help us understand exactly what happened in Champlain Towers South and how we can make buildings safer.”

Janapati joins a team of eminent experts, including one of the newest elected members of the National Academy of Engineering, Youssef Hashash, who joined the team last year and is a co-leader of the geotechnical engineering project for the investigation.

Resumes of the 21 support team members have been added to the team page, which provides details of their experience in building failures, a deep understanding of structural engineering, materials science, data collection and analysis, and more.

“Hearing from a diverse group of people who have different perspectives and memories of the event and building over time, can help fill in any gaps in our understanding that quantitative measurements cannot fill.” -n. Emil Janapati, Social Science Team Leader, Evidence Preservation Project

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) received $22 million in supplemental funding from Congress to support the investigation. As of the end of January 2022, NIST has committed approximately 40% to fund activities this fiscal year.

In November 2021, Team Leader Mitrani Reiser and Glenn Bell gave presentations to the NCST Advisory Committee, which includes experts selected for their technical expertise and experience, proven records of outstanding professional service, and knowledge of issues affecting disaster studies at the National Institute of Science. Technology (NIST) and NCST. investigations. The slides and video of their presentations detail this complex investigation.

On December 15, 2021, the Advisory Committee submitted a report to Congress noting that “NIST has assembled a very strong team of experts, both within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and outside, who have experience and achievement in their respective fields.” .

The commission also wrote, “Unlike previous NCST investigations, the cause of the failure of Champlain Towers South will not be known until the investigations have been completed, as there was no apparent exceptional initiation event. This complexity is important for the public to understand while families and other community members await answers. Many will not be able to Projects being implemented by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are able to provide solid answers until they are close to completion.”

NIST will continue to provide public updates on the progress of the investigation through a variety of media. All prior updates and related materials on the investigation at Champlain Towers South can be found on the investigation web pages, under ‘News and Updates’.

NIST’s annual report to Congress was recently published on the NIST website, and details the criteria NIST used to begin its investigation under the NCST Act.

The next meeting of the NCST Advisory Committee will be held from June 8-9, 2022. The meeting is open to the public, but those who wish to attend must register in advance by May 31, 2022, as instructed in Federal Register The notice was posted today.

NIST continues to collect and review information from the public and encourages anyone with photos, videos, or other information to submit their materials through the NIST Disaster and Failure Studies Data Portal.

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