Growing political pressure and technical demands involved in enhancing infrastructure security are pushing industry interests to do something they rarely do: work together.
The draft of a technical "roadmapping" document was well along a year ago to analyze the state of technology in the industry, identify gaps and development priorities, and then kick-start researchers down those paths. But the project got a swift kick itself last year--from the national campaign to address homeland security issues.
And now, with Congress poised to create a new cabinet-level agency to drive the process, industry leaders are feeling the hot wind of top-down regulation. They are fielding demands from government for answers about their abilities to apply hardening materials, embed sensors, improve design and analysis tools, and employ smarter project management and operation systems.
The growing pressure was obvious, and faced squarely Nov. 13-15, during a three-day Capital Project Technology Roadmap workshop in Lansdowne, Va. The agenda was to define "a path, a schedule, a project plan," says Ric Jackson, executive director of FIATECH, the host.
The non-profit, industry-led consortium is focused on development and deployment of technologies. It is fast expanding from its process industry origins. The workshop drew representatives from a range of construction interests, including companies, scientists, academia and regulators.
The groups are preparing reports and action plans. They will include pledges from participants to lead targeted research and development. Proceedings will be posted at www.fiatech.org.