NIST establishes expert team to investigate the Champlain Towers South collapse
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced the expert team members who will conduct a technical investigation into the June 24, 2021, partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida. The technical investigation will be organized around specific projects that will seek to understand the full history of the building, including its design plans, construction, materials, modifications, site and environment, from its design to the moment of collapse.
The team will be led by Judith Mitrani-Reiser, associate chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division in NIST’s Engineering Laboratory. She manages and provides oversight on building failure investigations and coordinates work with other federal agencies to reduce losses in the U.S. from disasters and failures of our built environment. Glenn Bell, co-director of the safety organization Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures and co-founder of the American Society of Civil Engineers Technical Council on Forensic Engineering, will serve as associate lead. Bell has more than 45 years of experience evaluating existing structures, investigating structural failures and taking the lessons learned from them to ensure those failures are not repeated. Full biographies of the team members and descriptions of each project can be found on the NIST Champlain Towers South investigation webpages. Projects and team members may be added as needed.
The Champlain Towers South investigation will be the fifth investigation NIST has conducted using authorities granted by the 2002 National Construction Safety Team Act. The act gives NIST and its teams primary authority to investigate the site of a building disaster, access key pieces of evidence such as records and documents, and collect and preserve evidence from the site of a failure or disaster. It also calls for NIST to issue reports and make recommendations to improve building codes and standards.