Last week, Congress approved a measure to fund the government into early December, staving off a shutdown. The funding stopgap includes $22 million for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology to conduct a technical investigation into the June 24 partial collapse of the Champlain Tower South condominium in Surfside, Fla.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, serving the Surfside district, pushed for the funding. “We have years in front of us to determine just exactly how this building collapse occurred and to adopt policies to make sure that it never happens anywhere in the country again,” she says.
The Champlain Tower South investigation will be the fifth investigation NIST has conducted using authorities granted by the 2002 National Construction Safety Team Act. The act gives NIST and its teams primary authority to investigate the site of a building disaster, access key pieces of evidence such as records and documents, and collect and preserve evidence from the site of a failure or disaster. It also calls for NIST to issue reports and make recommendations to improve building codes and standards.
“In response to the tragic events at Champlain Tower South, an accomplished team of experts has answered the call to help us determine the likely cause or causes of the partial collapse,” says James Olthoff, who is currently performing the duties of the undersecretary of commerce for standards and technology and NIST director. “I’m confident this team will work tirelessly to understand what happened in Surfside, and to make recommendations that will improve the safety of buildings across the United States to ensure a tragedy like this does not happen again.”
To learn more about the NIST investigation and to receive updates on the progress during the investigation, visit the NIST Champlain Towers South investigation webpages.
NIST invites members of the public to submit any information, including videos, photos or other documentation that might help the investigation via the NIST Disaster Data Portal.