Benefits and Costs of Research: A Case Study of the Fire Safety Evaluation System.
Benefits and Costs of Research: A Case Study of the
Fire Safety Evaluation System.
Chapman, R. E.; Weber, S. F.
NISTIR 5863; 85 p. July 1996.
Available from: National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB96-202288
benefit cost analysis; building economics; construction;
economic analysis; fire safety; impact evaluation; life
cycle costing; performance standards; research impacts;
The National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) is improving its resource allocation process by
doing "microstudies" of its research impacts on society.
This report is one of a series of microstudies prepared
by NIST's Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL).
This report focuses on a critical analysis of the
economic impacts from past BFRL research efforts leading
to the development and introduction of the
performance-based Fire Safety Evaluation System (FSES)
for health care facilities. The FSES was developed as
an alternative to prescriptive compliance to the Life
Safety Code for hospitals and nursing homes
participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
This study of the FSES illustrates how to apply in
practice a series of standardized methods to evaluate
and compare the economic impacts of alternative research
investments. The study is presented in sufficient
detail to understand the basis for the economic impact
analysis and to reproduce the results. It is an ex post
study in that it is based on past research efforts. The
results of this study demonstrate that the FSES has
generated substantial cost savings to hospitals and
nursing homes across the nation. The present value of
savings nationwide attributable to the FSES is nearly $1
billion ($987 million in 1995 dollars). Furthermore,
because of BFRL's timely involvement and leadership, the
FSES was adopted into the Life Safety Code in 1981. The
first fully-documented use of the FSES was in 1983. If
BFRL had not participated in the development of the
FSES, adoption into the Life Safety Code would likely
have taken place in 1988. Consequently, potential cost
savings accruing to hospitals and nursing homes over the
period 1983 through 1989 would have been foregone.
These cost savings are $564 million in 1995 dollars.
These cost savings measure the value of BFRL's
contribution for its research investment of
approximately $4.5 million.