Institute President Addresses the Important Role
the Private Sector Plays in U.S. Standards Development
The Nation’s buildings have never been safer. Fire deaths have declined significantly and new buildings incorporate lessons learned from previous hazard events to better protect their occupants. These improvements are largely the result of strong building codes and a regulatory system focused at the state and local level. And the majority of these codes and standards for constructing safe, efficient buildings are developed by private-sector organizations. Read this letter from Institute President Henry L. Green, Hon. AIA, to understand the private sector’s role in U.S. standards development.
Comments on OMB Proposed Update of Circular A-119 Are Due May 12
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a proposed updated version of OMB Circular A-119, "Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities," for public inspection and comment. The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), of which NIBS is a member, strongly encourage representatives of standards developing organizations (SDOs), industry, academia, government agencies and other relevant stakeholders to review the proposed draft, which is expected to have a significant impact on future U.S. government use of privately developed voluntary consensus standards.
The current version of Circular A-119, which was last revised by the OMB in 1998, and the associated National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) of 1995 jointly serve to direct U.S. federal agencies to consider the use of private-sector-developed standards in lieu of government-unique standards whenever possible. The proposed changes focus on numerous topics, including the use of voluntary consensus standards in federal regulations, incorporation by reference and intellectual property rights, and government participation in standards development activities, among many other issues. Comments are due May 12. Read the ANSI release. View the Federal Register.
Save the Date: Building Innovation 2015
You won’t want to miss out on attending Building Innovation 2015 — The National Institute of Building Sciences Third Annual Conference and Expo, scheduled for January 12-15, 2015, in Washington, D.C. During Building Innovation 2015, the Institute will present quality programming to explore solutions for Creating High-Performing Resilient Communities and deliver five informative symposia covering four tracks. For four days, the entire team of building professionals will find insights into the different aspects of resiliency and high performance. Credit-building educational sessions, idea-sharing networking events and inspiring award ceremonies are all on the Conference schedule. Plan to be there where Science meets Design™. Sign up to receive Conference updates.
Focusing on the Job at Hand
Building operations professionals convene for a Job Task Analysis (JTA) Workshop in Orlando, Florida, to discuss what should be the tasks for their job category. These will eventually become voluntary national guidelines to improve the quality and consistency of commercial building workforce credentials. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Building Sciences are working with industry stakeholders and providers to develop the guidelines to improve the quality and consistency of commercial building workforce credentials for five key energy-related jobs: Energy Manager, Building Energy Auditor, Building Operations Professional, Building Commissioning Professional, and government certificate program for Energy Performance and Sustainability in Government Facilities. This, the Building Operations Professionals Workshop, is the third of five JTA workshops underway. Learn more about the program.
OSCC to Co-Host Modular Construction Forum March 6
The chair and other members of the Institute’s Off-Site Construction Council (OSCC) will be heading west next week for the Oregon BEST Modular Construction Agenda Development Forum, to be held Thursday, March 6, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (PST) in Portland, Oregon. OSCC is co-hosting the event in collaboration with Oregon BEST and the Modular Building Institute.
Modular construction has been touted as a means for providing quality construction with greater worker safety and material efficiency. Attendees of the Forum will address the question of what technological innovations or new understanding is necessary to bring this promise into practice at scale. Find out more.
MMC Revisits 2005 Landmark "Mitigation Saves" Study;
Seeks Funding for Future Research
In 2005, the Institute’s Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC) completed an independent study, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to quantify the future savings from that agency’s natural hazard mitigation efforts. The study results indicated that FEMA’s natural hazard grant mitigation programs were effective in reducing future losses. For every public dollar spent on mitigation, there is a savings of $4 to society. The study, which looked at the economic benefits of federal public-sector investments, estimated that total benefits to the nation from FEMA mitigation grants (from mid-1993 to mid-2003) yielded a present discounted value of $14 billion. Compared to the program costs of $3.5 billion, the overall benefit-cost ratio was 4.0.
The study provided compelling evidence that mitigation activities are cost-effective, but it did not examine the cost-effectiveness of increased building-code design requirements. The development of a follow-up study, focused specifically on private-sector investments, could be a valuable tool in stimulating disaster mitigation efforts, regardless of investment source. The MMC is prepared to conduct this valuable study with the support and engagement of the building industry, policymakers and other key stakeholders. View the Concept Paper.
The BSSC Board, PUC Meet in Washington, D.C.
The Provisions Update Committee (PUC) of the Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) met January 7-8 in Washington, D.C., during Building Innovation 2014, to continue assessing proposals to update the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program’s (NEHRP) 2009 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures, and specifically to assess the results of Ballot E. Following the two-day PUC meeting, the BSSC Board of Direction met January 9, and voted to ballot a number of items to the BSSC member organizations. See what was included in the vote.
LVDC Design Guidelines for the Visual Environment
Now Available for Public Comment
Review Period Ends April 4
The National Institute of Building Sciences Low Vision Design Committee (LVDC) has released a draft of Design Guidelines for the Visual Environment for public review and comment. The 60-day review period closes April 4. The first of its kind in the United States, the Guidelines will provide assistance to design professionals and others in accommodating a growing segment of the population who live with the spectrum of vision disorders contributing to low vision. All stakeholders are invited to provide comments on the document. Read the release.
Workshop to Focus on Building Science Education in North America
Students, professors and lecturers of building science, as well as practicing architects, engineers and risk management professionals interested in building science education, should attend an upcoming workshop from ASTM International and the National Institute of Building Sciences. The ASTM/NIBS Workshop on Building Science Education in North America will be held April 6 at the Sheraton Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Learn more about this event.
GSA to Hold Free FBPTA Event at NFMT
Federal facility management professionals and facility management, energy and sustainability education providers can learn more about the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act (FBPTA) when they attend “Understand the FBPTA and what it means to you as an education provider or consumer” event, to be held March 5, from 9:00 am – to 5:00 pm, at the NFMT in Baltimore. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is hosting this free event for the industry. Learn how the FBPTA will affect you, your training offerings and your employees. Find out how you can submit your courses, certifications and certificate programs to be mapped to the competencies in the FBPTA. (Facility Engineering Associates is a contractor working with GSA on FBPTA implementation and this event.) View the agenda.
BEST4 Promises to Deliver Cutting-Edge Research in All Facets of Building Enclosure
Mark your calendar now to join us in Kansas City, April 13-15, 2015
Some 60 abstracts for papers covering all aspects of building enclosure—from design to commissioning to operations—have been accepted for presentation at the triennial Building Enclosure Science and Technology (BEST4) Conference, to be held April 13-15, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. Join the industry’s premier practitioners, researchers, and educators as they explain work that defines excellence of building enclosure materials, components, and systems throughout a project’s life cycle. In the works and new to BEST4, the fourth in the series of BEST Conferences, will be a session on fire performance centering on the NFPA 285 fire test, as well as a session on living buildings and net-zero energy design. And to help keep it real, BEST4 also will feature an on-site exhibition of the latest building enclosure products and services offered by conference exhibitors and sponsors offering one-on-one demonstrations and recommendations.
BEST4 registration will open in the fall; until then, keep up-to-date with the conference’s plans and features as they develop by visiting the BEST4 website. Sponsors: Download the event prospectus for rates and exhibition details.
Virginia Students Complete Phase I: Mars City Project Pilot Program
The National Institute of Building Sciences along with the Total Learning Research Institute (TLRI) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) presented high school students with a challenge to develop a plan for sustainability on Mars. The three organizations are working to advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to engage K-12 students in building sciences. Through the STEM program, they have developed curriculum that uses the Mars City Virtual Base as a “Sustainable Smart Building Laboratory” to provide students a hands-on opportunity to create a sustainable building environment. According to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Phase I of the pilot program of the Mars City Facility Ops Challenge curriculum has been completed in Fairfax, Virginia. Forty students from the Edison Academy and Edison High School CTS heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration class and electrical construction and engineering courses, along with technical education and engineering students, completed the first phase in June 2013. The team-based project challenges students to plan and work with real-world problems and introduces them to the concepts of smart building systems that control water, heat and cooling systems, lights, electricity, air supply and air quality, all based on the actual atmospheric conditions on Mars. Phase II of the program is underway. Read the DHCD blog post.
Take a COBie Course from the Experts Who Developed the Standard
National Institute of Building Sciences Rolls out Building Sciences Online Academy
The National Institute of Building Sciences’ buildingSMART alliance presents its first course—“The Introduction to COBie”—on the Institute’s newly launched Building Sciences Online Academy. The two-hour, self-paced course, developed by the Alliance with funding and oversight provided by ACAI Associates, focuses on the Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie). “The Introduction to COBie” course, approved for 2.0 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Continuing Education System learning units (LUs) for registered architects, is perfect for planners, architects, engineers, construction contractors, sub-contractors, facility operators, maintainers and owners around the world to learn the benefits of this valuable new standard. Learn more.
NBIMS-US™ Ballot Voting Period Now Open
Runs through March 18
The voting period to weigh in on the nation’s building information modeling (BIM) standard is now open. Members of the Project Committee for the National BIM Standard – United States® Version 3 (NBIMS-US™ V3) are called to vote during the voting period, which closes March 18. There are 27 items on the ballot: six Information Exchange ballot items, 11 Reference Standards ballot items, four Standard Practice ballot items and six Terminology ballot items. Only members who have been on the Project Committee for at least 84 days prior to the opening of the ballot voting period are eligible to participate. All eligible members must vote yes, no or abstain on all items on the ballot. Those eligible members who fail to vote will lose their membership on the NBIMS-US™ V3 Project Committee. Don’t wait until the last minute. Vote now.
FMOC to Meet March 4 at NFMT
The Institute’s Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee will meet Tuesday, March 4, during the National Facility Management and Technology (NFMT) Conference at the Baltimore Convention Center. Members of the committee will meet in in Room 335 at 2:30 pm to discuss the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Mars City Project; the Federal Building Employees Training Act; the integration of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Sustainable Facilities Tool (SFTool) into the WBDG Whole Building Design Guide™; and the Application of the Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) and Specifiers Properties information exchange (SPie) into building commissioning and sustainability standards. This event is free and open to the public. Register for NFMT now.
Just 1 Week ‘til NFMT
Where You Want to Be for FMOC, WBDG and COBie!
The National Facilities Management and Technology Conference and Expo (NFMT) starts in one week – March 4-6 at the Baltimore Convention Center. NFMT is a great place to learn the latest about facility management (FM) and building operations and keep up with some related National Institute of Building Sciences activities, including the Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee (FMOC), WBDG Whole Building Design Guide®, and Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie). The FMOC meeting; two sessions on COBie; a session on the WBDG; and other FMOC related sessions will all take place at NFMT. And members of the National Institute of Building Sciences can attend NFMT for FREE. See what’s on the Institute’s schedule.
NCS Ballot Results Released
Thanks to all the members who participated in the U.S. National CAD Standard Version 6.0 (NCS V6) ballot process. On February 4, the NCS Steering Committee reviewed and approved the ballot results of the NCS Project Committee (NCSPC). Of the 256 ballot items submitted to a vote of the eligible members, 248 were approved; six were rejected; and two, conditional upon the passing of ballots items rejected by the Symbols Task Team, were removed. The finalized NCS V2 is scheduled to be released later this year. See which ones were rejected.
Construction Executive Article Shares the Benefits of the WBDG in Optimizing Energy Performance
Richard Paradis, director of the Institute’s WBDG Whole Building Design Guide®, penned an article highlighting the benefits of the WBDG for Construction Executive, the award-winning magazine published by Associated Builders and Contractors. The article details the WBDG resources that work to guide the construction process to help contractors optimize energy performance throughout the planning, design, construction and commissioning phases. Along with its design objectives for projects to be accessible, aesthetic, cost-effective, functional/operational, productive, secure/safe and sustainable, the WBDG provides an extensive list of resources on energy-efficient lighting, high-performance HVAC, water conservation, alternative energy strategies, and codes and standards. Major sections include building envelope design, project management, mechanical insulation design, and construction waste management, building commissioning, and facilities operations and maintenance. Each WBDG section includes links to relevant codes and standards, related professional and industry organizations, and additional government and private sector resources. Read the full article.
Four Projects Awarded for Exemplary use of BIM
Each year, the HOK buildingSMART team awards projects that exhibit exemplary use of integrated and interoperable building information modeling (BIM). The National Institute of Building Sciences buildingSMART alliance Director Dana “Deke” Smith, served on the jury of industry experts who reviewed the presentations from the twelve finalists selected by HOK’s buildingSMART directors. The four-year-old program is successful in inspiring project teams to develop innovative solutions. Awards were given in four categories: Best Design Process, Best Project Delivery, Best Collaboration and Special Project Type. Meet the winners.