Are Tall Buildings Safer As a Result of the NIST WTC Reports?

NIST had to admit that ICC did not adopt the recommendations that called for building professionals to “address areas such as designing structures to mitigate disproportionate progressive collapse.”[12]

In a January 2011 letter to NIST, the ICC confirmed that this was still the case.[13]  The only code changes that ICC adopted were:

“1) Luminous egress path marking required; 2) exit stairway enclosures required to be separated by no less than 30 feet; 3) enhanced inspection requirements for Sprayed-on Fire-Resistant Material (SFRM).”

And for buildings higher than 420 feet:

“1) Increased bond strength for SFRM; 2) a second, additional exit stairway, with a minimum separation between stairwells; 3) a requirement to increase structural integrity of exit enclosures and elevator hoist enclosures; 4) redundant sprinkler system risers with alternate floor requirements.”

Of these changes, only the two related to SFRM can be seen as linked to the official account of the collapse of the buildings. But even these changes were not planned for addition to the IBC code until release of the 2012 edition.  Apparently the concerns about the SFRM and its bond strength were not that great.

That might be because it’s tough to see how the SFRM code changes were related anyway.  That is, the ICC changes to require greater fireproofing bond strength cannot be reconciled with the fact that the fireproofing in the alleged failure areas of the towers was already far greater than what the code required.  Yet still the buildings suffered “progressive global collapse,” a phenomenon for which the ICC made no changes.

As for the inexplicable collapse of WTC 7, the ICC made no changes there either. The alleged root cause of floor beam thermal expansion is not addressed by any ICC code change.

How about New York City and government leaders in general?  Were federal and state leaders, municipalities and building professionals willing to put money into the relevant recommendations made by NIST, and thereby endorse the official explanations for what happened at the WTC? No, they were not.

The current (2008) NYC code includes changes that were said to be modeled after the ICC’s changes, which were said to be a result of the NIST WTC investigation.  However, the actual changes made were not related to NIST’s three root causes of the WTC destruction.  Instead, they focused on “widened stairwells in high-rise buildings, expanded sprinkler systems, and enhanced emergency voice communication systems.”[14]

The NYC building code includes a requirement for SFRM bond strength that clearly does not take the WTC investigation into account.  The requirement is that the bond strength “shall not be less than 150 pounds per square foot (psf).“[15] The problem is that the bond strength of the fireproofing in the WTC was known to be much higher than this and yet we’re told it was still widely dislodged.

The Port Authority of NY and NJ provided 64 bond strength measurement values to NIST, taken from the fireproofing in the impact and failures zones of the WTC.  NIST even listed these in its report.  None were as low as 150 psf and most were twice that value.[16]  The failure to increase the bond strength requirement in the building code, leaving it at a value that was far lower than what the WTC had in place, indicates that NYC officials are not in the least bit worried about bond strength.

Related to WTC 7, the 2008 NYC code also refers to the need to ensure that the fire-induced expansion of building components (e.g. steel beams) does “not adversely interfere with the system’s capabilities.”[17] But the 1968 code included similar requirements and even stated that the coefficient of expansion for all building materials needed to be addressed in test reports.[18]

More specifically, the 1968 code that WTC 7 was required to meet stated that the design “shall provide for forces and/or movements resulting from an assumed expansion corresponding to a change in temperature.”  Therefore not only was there no change as a result of the NIST WTC 7 report, given the NIST account we might wonder if the original WTC 7 was constructed outside of the NYC code requirements.

Another Reason the NIST WTC Reports Are False

Despite its grandiose claims, NIST knows that the building community has ignored the WTC investigation findings.  That’s clear from NIST’s own tracking sheet on its website.  This tracks all 30 recommendations from the NIST WTC investigation and lists the code “outcomes” from each.[19]  As of August 2011, the most recent update, not one NIST recommendation related to progressive global collapse, “widely dislodged” fireproofing, or linear thermal expansion has been adopted.

The two NIST recommendations that call for (unspecified) measures to prevent progressive global collapse have been completely ignored.  Other things like an additional exit stairway, a fire service access elevator, and stairwells with glow-in-the-dark markings are simply not relevant.[20]

NIST might argue that there is one ICC change that calls for fireproofing to have increased bond strength and be installed and inspected correctly.  But since bond strength was not a root cause of the WTC destruction, and measurements just before 9/11 showed that the fireproofing in the impact zones was far better installed and had far better bond strength than what was required, this is a red herring.  That’s not to mention that no tests were ever done to indicate what bond strength was needed to resist flying aircraft debris.

Are tall buildings safer as a result of the NIST WTC report?  No, they are most certainly not. And if people actually understood and believed the official account of what happened at the WTC they would not enter tall buildings because in doing so they would be putting their lives at risk.

The truth, however, is that the NIST WTC investigation was a politically motivated diversion that produced reports which are known to be false.  This fact is re-emphasized by the knowledge that the international building community, including that of New York City, has not adopted code changes that can be traced to the root causes cited by NIST for the WTC destruction.

Notes

[1] NIST, Safer Buildings Are Goal of New Code Changes Based on Recommendations from NIST World Trade Center Investigation, October 1, 2008, http://www.nist.gov/el/wtc_100108.cfm

[2] Marc Jacobsen, The Ground Zero Grassy Knoll, New York Magazine, Mar 19, 2006, http://nymag.com/news/features/16464/

[3] NIST NCSTAR 1-1F, Executive Summary, p XXV, http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/fire05/PDF/f05176.pdf

[4] The NIST WTC reports can be found at http://wtc.nist.gov

[5] Kevin R. Ryan, Another amazing coincidence related to the WTC, 911Blogger.com, January 6, 2008, http://www.911blogger.com/node/13272

[6] For the SFRM thickness and adhesion values, see NIST WTC report NCSTAR 1-6A, figure A-60, http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build05/PDF/b05035.pdf

[7] Kevin R. Ryan, The Short Reign of Ryan Mackey, Journal of 9/11 Studies, December 2007, http://www.journalof911studies.com/letters/b/MackeyLetter.pdf

[8] Public Comments Received by NIST on DRAFT Reports, August 2008,http://www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/wtc/upload/combined2008publicComments-2.pdf, See also – Fire Safety Researchers at Victoria University Disagree with NIST’s WTC 7 Report, http://uwaterloo911.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/fire-safety-researchers-at-victoria-university-disagree-with-nists-wtc-7-report/

[9] An easy way to see to understand the falsity of the NIST WTC reports is to watch my two short videos on the subject — Why the NIST Report for the Towers is False,http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/08/16/why-the-nist-report-on-the-wtc-towers-is-false/   and Why the NIST WTC 7 Report is False,http://digwithin.net/2011/07/09/why-the-nist-wtc-7-report-is-false/

[10] NIST WTC Recommendations Are Basis for New Set of Revised Codes, June 9, 2010

[11] Wayne Barrett, Rudy Giuliani’s Five Big Lies About 9/11, The Village Voice, July 31, 2007, http://www.villagevoice.com/2007-07-31/news/rudy-giuliani-s-five-big-lies-about-9-11/full/

[12] NIST, Safer Buildings Are Goal of New Code Changes Based on Recommendations from NIST World Trade Center Investigation, October 1, 2008, http://www.nist.gov/el/wtc_100108.cfm

[13] National Institute of Standards and Technology: Request for Information, International Code Council, Docket No. 0909100442-0563-02, January 12, 2011, http://standards.gov/upload/35_ICC.pdf

[14] The Real Deal, New York City Real Estate News, New buildings must meet latest NYC construction code, July 01, 2009, http://therealdeal.com/blog/2009/07/01/new-buildings-must-meet-latest-nyc-construction-code-robert-limandri-nyc-construction-codes/

[15] 2008 New York City Building Code,  section 909.4.2 Temperature Effect of Fire, section 1704.11.5 http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/newyorkcity/Building/Building-Frameset.html

[16] NIST NCSTAR 1-6A, p 45

[17] 2008 New York City Building Code,  section 909.4.2 Temperature Effect of Fire, section 909.4.2 http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/newyorkcity/Building/Building-Frameset.html

[18] 1968 New York City Building Code,  Article 2: Fire protection test Procedures, http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/codes_and_reference_materials/code_internet.shtml

[19] Status of NIST’s Recommendations Following the Federal Building and Fire Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster, NIST WTC website, August 8, 2011, http://www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/wtc/upload/WTCRecommendationsStatusTable.pdf

[20] Building design and Construction (Staff), NIST WTC recommendations finally adopted in the model building codes, August 11, 2011, http://www.bdcnetwork.com/nist-wtc-recommendations-finally-adopted-model-building-codes

Read the 1st chapter of Obstacle to Peace for free!

Kevin Ryan

Homepage
Kevin R. Ryan began to investigate the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 through his work as Site Manager for a division of Underwriters Laboratories (UL). He was fired by UL in 2004 for writing to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), asking about its World Trade Center investigation and UL’s work to ensure the fire resistance of the buildings. He now serves as co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies, and is a former board director at Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Ryan has co-authored several books and peer-reviewed scientific articles on the subject. 

Comments are encouraged, but please respect the rules. Click here for terms of use.

  • Michael Baker

    NIST doesn’t write building code and NIST doesn’t compel cities and states to do anything. Their research will impact building codes over time but it’s a long row to hoe. Building codes change as a result of bad experiences (loss of life), which often results in research, and the continuous pushing back and forth between the building stakeholders, primarily the building owner and the fire service. The fire service wants complete fire protection and the building owner doesn’t want to pay for any of it. The result of this pushing match is the building code, as it’s adopted locally. For example, the IRC (International Residential Code) requires sprinkler systems in new 1- and 2-family dwellings, but builders’ PACs have gutted that requirements in nearly every state.

    • Of course building owners want to pay for their buildings to be safe, because it’s obviously in their own interests to do so.

  • 1,700+ Engineers and Architects says the WTC buildings fell down due to a controlled demolition. NIST has not said how, only it was not due to a pancake theory.

    9/11 Truthers Demand a New Investigation
    http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/911TruthInvestigation/

    Here is a good u-tube that show all the lies being put out about the nano-thermate found in the dust from the World Trade Center collapse.

    Yes, thermate can cut steel beams
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d5iIoCiI8g

    check out my online book – a work in progress:
    SOME UNKNOWN HISTORY OF THE U.S.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SomeUnknownUSHistory/messages
    and learn about the crimes of the CIA and US war crimes, Department of Justice- cover-up of drug trafficking, etc.

    Dick McManus
    Chief Warrant Officer -3 /counterintelligence special agent, US Army, retired.

  • blind freddy

    the whole nist report is a demonstrably unscientific false coverup of some sort of controlled demolition, evidenced by, but not limited to, their begrudging admission of free fall acceleration for ~2.25 seconds.

    there is NO evidence that can withstand scrutiny that proves any part of the governments theory of the events of 9/11, and there is a preponderance of evidence that proves their version is impossible.

    if a proper transparent independent unfettered investigation with subpoena power were ever held into the events of 9/11, it would take no time at all to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that on 911, and since, governments have been lying to their citizens, for the benefit of a few, at an incalculable cost for people worldwide.

    you dont need to be a scientist, you dont need a degree in engineering.. all you need is the innate intellectually integrity you were born with, and to look at the explosive destruction of the towers honestly, and without fear.