...absolutely no deaths due to wind tunnel testing problems."

Recommendation 3. NIST recommends that an appropriate criterion should be developed and implemented to enhance the performance of tall buildings by limiting how much they sway under lateral load design conditions (e.g., winds and earthquakes).

Magnusson: "Building sway standards had absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the WTC attack. Standards already exist for building sway in wind and earthquake and have proven to result in good building performance."

Group 2. Enhanced Fire Resistance of Structures

The procedures and practices used to ensure the fire resistance of structures should be enhanced by improving the technical basis for construction classifications and fire resistance ratings, improving the technical basis for standard fire resistance testing methods, use of the "structural frame" approach to fire resistance ratings, and developing in-service performance requirements and conformance criteria for spray-applied fire resistive materials.

Recommendation 4. NIST recommends evaluating, and where needed improving, the technical basis for determining appropriate construction classification and fire rating requirements (especially for tall buildings greater than 20 stories in height)–and making related code changes now as much as possible–by explicitly considering factors including:

  • timely access by emergency responders and full evacuation of occupants, or the time required for burnout without local collapse;
  • the extent to which redundancy in active fire protection (sprinkler and standpipe, fire alarm, and smoke management) systems should be credited for occupant life safety;
  • the need for redundancy in fire protection systems that are critical to structural integrity
  • the ability of the structure and local floor systems to withstand a maximum credible fire scenario without collapse, recognizing that sprinklers could be compromised, not operational, or non-existent;
  • compartmentation requirements (e.g., 12,000 ft (24)) to protect the structure, including fire rated doors and automatic enclosures, and limiting air supply (e.g., thermally resistant window assemblies) to retard fire spread in buildings with large, open floor plans;
  • the impact of spaces containing unusually large fuel concentrations for the expected occupancy of the building; and
  • the extent to which fire control systems, including suppression by automatic or manual means, should be credited as part of the prevention of fire spread.
  • Magnusson: "Actual fire safety records prove that buildings already achieve the performance objective of reaching "burn out" of the contents without structural collapse. Records by the National Fire Protection Association show that in the 14-year period of 1985-1998 there were only 7 deaths due to fires in high-rise office buildings.

    If creating "compartments" in open space offices is required for safety, is NIST recommending that all buildings be retrofitted with these fire walls? The NIST findings talked about 5,000-sq-ft compartments, why have they increased this to 12,000 sq f t?

    Where is the actual fire data showing that existing fire codes do not provide safety?"

    Schulte: "The high-rise provisions presently included in the model building codes used in the United States since 1975 have reduced the number of fatalities which occur in high rise building fires to less than those caused by lightning. The fire record of high rise buildings, particularly high-rise office buildings, is excellent. NIST simply hasn't provided any rationale to justify the changes to the model building...