President Obama will nominate Patrick Gallagher, the acting head of the Commerce Dept.’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, to be NIST’s director, the White House announced on Sept. 10.

For construction, NIST’s key unit is its Building and Fire Research Laboratory, which includes the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, applied economics, materials and construction research, building environment and fire research offices. The lab’s work included a three-year building and fire safety probe of the 2001 World Trade Center disaster.

Gallagher, 46, joined NIST in 1993 in its Center for Neutron Research. He became NIST deputy director in September 2008 and also has served as its acting director since that time.