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Building and Fire Research Laboratory Activities, Accomplishments, and Recognitions.

pdf icon Building and Fire Research Laboratory Activities, Accomplishments, and Recognitions. (4715 K)
Beall, K. A.; Hill, J. E.

NIST SP 838-19; 96 p. March 2006.


building technology; fire research; construction; building materials; fire losses; building performance


The Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the nation's primary resource for measurements and standards for the building and fire safety communities. We strive to be the primary source of critical tools - metrics, models, and knowledge needed to support innovation and industrial competitiveness in this sector of the economy. The industries we serve are huge and disaggregated. U.S. construction and buildings was a $1.4 trillion industry in 2004, representing 13% of the gross domestic product and employing between 5 and 7 percent of the U.S. workforce or 10 million workers. This value consists of the new facilities put in place plus significant investments in renovation and maintenance and repair. During the same period, fire costs totaled more than $200 billion, equivalent to 2% of the gross domestic product. These costs include property losses, injuries and deaths, the cost of engineering fire safety into today's buildings, and the operating costs of the U.S. fire services. Our investments are focused on reducing losses from fire and potential losses due to terrorism, as well as supporting the industry to innovate and improve performance of materials, products, and processes of construction. We are a leading advocate for the development of performance standards as a method of enabling innovation. The development of fundamental understanding and knowledge and its translation into accurate performance prediction is critical before effective performance standards can be put in place. BFRL is involved in a wide range of scientific, engineering, and investigative work for the building and fire safety communities. The time has long passed when any single organization like ours can act alone and expect to make a major impact on the numerous issues facing the industries we serve. We must build an extensive network and work together to tackle these issues. This will greatly enhance all our chances for success. I encourage you to contact us to explore joint work.