The U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology has added a remote sensing and visualization project to its roster of queries into the June 24 partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South residential condominium in Surfside, Fla., which killed 98 people. The new project will analyze data collected at the building collapse site by providing 3D geospatial data management to compile, organize, visualize and communicate surface and subsurface data. It will also support the other Champlain Towers South NIST probes, all authorized under the 2002 National Construction Safety Team Act.

NIST will present an update on its condo collapse work at a Nov. 8 public meeting of the National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee. “The update will not provide any conclusions, as the investigation is ongoing,” but will introduce the new project, states NIST in a release.

It will also introduce new members of the National Construction Safety Team carrying out the work. The meeting will be led by the NCST co-leaders, Judith Mitrani-Reiser, associate chief of NIST’s materials and structural systems division in the engineering laboratory, and forensic structural engineer Glenn Bell, director of Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures-US (CROSS-US) and former CEO of Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger.

NIST Studies Underway

The new project joins NIST studies already underway, including the 40-year-old building’s performance history; evidence preservation, tagging and cataloging; materials science to evaluate the strength and deterioration of materials in the building; geotechnical engineering to evaluate the foundation and soil factors; and structural engineering to generate computer models that will simulate the failure initiation and progression.

Co-leaders of the total nine-person remote-sensing team are Georgette Hlepas, national geotechnical adviser for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Kam Saidi, a mechanical engineer in NIST’s intelligent systems division. Work will include analyzing data on structural features, such as concrete columns, piles, floor slabs and beams, as well as site geology. The project also will bring together data collected at the collapse site, including surveys, remote sensing and subsurface investigations, as well as data from other sources, such as drawings, reports and historical photos.