Webinar to address building safety

nibsKeith A. Porter, PE, PhD, a research professor with the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Principal with SPA Risk LLC, will deliver the first in a series of webinars to be held by the National Institute of Building Sciences Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC). Entitled, “Safe Enough? How the Building Code Protects Our Lives but Not Our Cities,” the webinar will be held Wednesday, April 23, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm EDT.

Conventional wisdom holds that greater seismic resilience of the building stock is impractical; that the public would be unwilling to pay for it; that the public has no proper role in setting seismic performance objectives; and that current seismic provisions encode the proper measures and goals of seismic performance.

However, recent projects cast doubt on these conventionalities. In light of performance expectations for new buildings expressed in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) P-695: Quantification of Building Seismic Performance Factors and embedded in the International Building Code, current design objectives leave open the serious risk that future, large, but not-very-rare, earthquakes would damage enough buildings to displace millions of people and hundreds of thousands of businesses from a major metropolitan area. Such a catastrophe would have a more severe impact than Hurricane Katrina because it could affect larger, and more economically critical, metropolitan areas.

Projects such as the San Francisco Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) Soft Story Project; the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering (CUREE)-California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Woodframe Project; and the construction of buildings that exceed code-minimum seismic performance at marginal additional cost all suggest that better seismic resilience is practical, affordable and actually desired by the public. The way the public interpreted the 2008 ShakeOut scenario, an earthquake drill hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), suggests that Americans think about seismic performance differently than do structural engineers, and they expect better performance than building codes provide.

Dr. Porter will discuss how it is necessary to reconsider how to measure earthquake risk, how to properly balance risk and construction cost, and how to reflect that balance in code objectives.

A licensed professional engineer, Dr. Porter received degrees in civil and structural engineering from University of California, Davis; University of California, Berkeley; and Stanford University. He specializes in second-generation, performance-based earthquake engineering, seismic vulnerability and societal risk from natural disasters. Porter helped lead the MMC’s Mitigation Saves study, which estimated that FEMA’s natural hazard mitigation efforts save $4 per $1 spent. He served as the engineering coordinator for the USGS Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) scenarios, ShakeOut earthquake scenario, ARkStorm severe winter storm scenario, SAFRR tsunami scenario and the in-progress Haywired earthquake scenario. He also performed risk analysis for the CAPSS Soft Story Project and the CUREE-Caltech Woodframe Project.

To access the webinar, “Safe Enough? How the Building Code Protects Our Lives but Not Our Cities,” sign in on April 23 at 11:45 EDT and select the “Enter as a guest” option to join in. For audio, call 800-689-7800 and enter code 430588. Don’t be late. Only the first 125 participants will be admitted.

Workshop to Focus on Building Science Education in North America

Natl Inst of Building ScienceStudents, 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.

Sponsored by ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings; ASTM Subcommittees E06.55 on Performance of Building Enclosures and E06.41 on Air Leakage and Ventilation Performance; the ASTM Built Environment Advisory Council; the National Institute of Building Sciences; and the Joint Committee on Building Science Education, the workshop will provide an overview of building science education as it currently exists in North America. The one-day event will offer a critical review of graduate-level curricula currently available in building science and how that curricula can be further developed and refined to more effectively educate architects, engineers and construction professionals.

Speakers who are recognized as subject-matter experts in Building Science education, training and curriculum development—representing universities in Canada and the United States—will make presentations.

The workshop will conclude with an appraisal of the ASTM/NIBS Building Enclosure Certification and Training Program currently under development, which offers a new opportunity for professional development, certification and career advancement in architecture and engineering. Talks will address how that curriculum can be developed to align with curricula at Canadian and American colleges and universities to satisfy the certification requirements being developed.

View the list of speakers lined up for the event.

Registration is $110 USD online and $135 USD onsite. (ASTM members receive a $25 discount.) Presenters and students with a valid ID get in free. Online registration closes April 2. Register now.

For additional technical information, contact the workshop chairman, Daniel Lemieux.

LVDC guidelines now available for comment

nibsThe 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.

The Guidelines address planning and design of a building and facility site, including features used to access the building or facility, such as walkways and pathways, stairs and ramps; interior spaces, including finish materials and fixed and moveable furniture; and lighting design, including the use of daylighting and electrical lighting. It contains chapters on general design principles; site and landscape design; and architecture, interior and lighting design.

“Through the Institute’s process of public review, the Low Vision Design Committee expects to be able to refine the Design Guidelines for the Visual Environment before its official public release for use by designers,” said James E. Woods, PhD, PE, the committee’s chairperson. “We encourage everyone to make comments, suggestions and edits to the draft. We also hope that reviewers will be able to contribute supporting information, such as published data, to help us validate the accuracy of the content.”

The Guidelines were developed by the LVDC with generous support from the Hulda B. and Maurice Rothschild Foundation and the James H. McClung Lighting Research Foundation.

Persons interested in reviewing the Guidelines can obtain a copy on the Institute’s website. Please submit comments by using the “Track Changes” function in Word, marking up the draft or providing other written forms of comments to Stephanie Stubbs on or before April 4, 2014.

Download the Guidelines.

Generate BIM files for any glass configuration

ppgPPG Industries is trying to make designing with glass easier for architects. It has created a new library of building information and modeling (BIM) files and enhanced PPG Glass eVIEW, its suite of Web-based design tools to allow architects and designers to generate custom BIM files for any conceivable PPG glass configuration.

The BIM library, which is hosted on third-party specification sites such sweets.com and Autodesk Seek, contains downloadable REVIT(R) architectural files with colors and specification data for more than 170 commonly specified PPG glass configurations.

Architects and specifiers can use the files to configure customized monolithic or multi-pane insulating glass units (IGUs) combining PPG clear and tinted glasses with SOLARBAN(R) solar control, low-emissivity (low-e) glasses; SUNGATE(R) passive low-e glasses; or STARPHIRE(R) ultra-clear glass.

For energy modeling, the files can be individually imported into modeled buildings using Revit file parameters such as ultraviolet (UV) light transmittance, visible light transmittance (VLT), solar heat gain coefficients (SHGCs) and U-values. PPG glass configurations also can be modeled with other building materials and components to forecast the complete aesthetic and functional characteristics of buildings using three-dimensional (3-D) modeling and two-dimensional (2-D) drafting tools.

For more information, visit the PPG Ideascapes website or call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332).

Port Canaveral’s Exploration Tower features color-changing, iridescent exterior

The Exploration Tower is a symbol of Port Canaveral's revitalization.

Exploration Tower is a symbol of Port Canaveral’s revitalization.

Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral beckons visitors with its unique appearance as its color changes in different light and at different angle. Opened in November 2013, the Port’s iconic welcome center showcases the first use of Valspar’s new Kameleon Color mica coating as spray-applied to Firestone Metal Products’ UNA-CLAD metal wall panels by Linetec.

An integral part of Florida’s Space Coast and Canaveral Cove’s revitalization, Exploration Tower is owned by Canaveral Port Authority. Its opening coincided with the Port’s 60th anniversary of its establishment and the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s landing on Florida’s east coast.

Taking its cues from the shapes and hues of the port, GWWO Inc./Architects designed the $23 million, seven-story, sail-shaped structure to express the common characteristics of “transience, function and imagery.” The building’s southern elevation soars from the water to the sky. It narrows in scale and reduces its exterior coverage until only the steel frame remains to outline the curvature and comes together at a peak 60-feet above the main roof level.

Kenpat USA was the subcontractor responsible for the exterior metal façades and wall system. Working closely with Kenpat, Firestone engineered and fabricated the façade’s metal panel system. Radius Track Corporation fabricated the curved structural faming and provided the 3-D building information modeling (BIM) to coordinate the connection points for each panel in the building’s parabolic curve. In total, Kenpat installed 42 pre-fabricated structural panelized units as sub-structure for the cladding, with the largest being 36 feet by 10 feet.

The Blue Pearl II color-changing paint captures the revitalization of Port Canaveral. Along with its unique appearance, the finish must withstand Florida’s hurricane wind speeds, unrelenting sun and salt spray. For enhanced durability, Linetec also applied a clear coat over the Blue Pearl II paint.

Symposium Aims to Increase Life-Cycle Savings

Natl Inst of Building ScienceSmart buildings and building analytics are increasingly of interest within the facility operations and maintenance community. The National Institute of Building Sciences Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee (FMOC) was founded to develop the information exchange standard known today as the Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) and to support the adoption of COBie as a standard practice within the building industry.

Today, the need for additional information exchanges is apparent. During the Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee (FMOC) Symposium: Improving Life-Cycle Savings through Intelligent Building Data, to be held Wednesday, January 8, 8:45 am – 11:45 am, as part of Building Innovation 2014: the National Institute of Building Sciences Conference and Expo, attendees will become acquainted with activities that provide a solid foundation for communication and analysis. Speakers will present and then converse in a moderated panel about three related areas in which FMOC members are engaged: OmniClass tables, equipment inventory standards and building sensor information exchange standards.

OmniClass tables emerged from the realization that a common classification of objects was needed to better support communication and use of project information. The presenters will explain how a number of legacy classifications and information standards fed into the development of the OmniClass tables; the process used to create these new standards; and practical applications and benefits to users; as well as provide an early view of several new tables being submitted to the nation’s building information modeling (BIM) standard, the National BIM Standard –United States®,as well as other tables that are being revised.

Smart buildings typically involve periodic monitoring and comparing to some static benchmark. COBie organizes the static product information provided by the manufacturer and installer; the equipment inventory organizes the data within the maintenance management system; and automated control systems and other inspection methods provide the periodic data. Presenters will discuss developing standard information exchanges pertinent to sensor systems, as well the benefits of having a complete and comprehensive equipment database.

Speakers include:

  • Chris Bogen, Computer Scientist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • William Brodt, Chair, Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee
  • Greg Ceton, Director, Technical Services, CSI
  • Alan Edgar, Workgroup Program Manager, Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate
  • Robert A. Keady, Jr., CEM, FMP, Facility Manager, Author

Register to Attend
Register now to attend Building Innovation 2014 and the FMOC Symposium and save. Online registration rates end 12/31/13.

E-book version of NBIMS-US available for $5

Natl Inst of Building ScienceThe National Institute of Building Sciences buildingSMART alliance has officially released the e-book version of the National BIM Standard-United States® (NBIMS-US™) Version 2 (V2), the first-ever consensus-based standard governing building information modeling (BIM) for use in the United States. It was first released in spring 2012 as a free, online standard. With this new release as an eBook, the Alliance helps the NBIMS-US V2 advance the art and science of the building life cycle by making the standard that much easier to reference anywhere, anytime.

Developed in response to requests for an off-line and portable form of the standard, the eBook contains the fixed content of the NBIMS-US™ V2, as well as internet-accessible links to reference supporting material online. NBIMS-US™ V2 covers the full life cycle of buildings—from planning, design and construction to operations and sustainment. Part of an international effort, the standard is serving as the kick-off point for a number of other countries around the world to adopt as their own BIM standard, as well as the basis of NBIMS-US™  V3, which is currently under development here in the United States.

The standard is arranged into three main categories: reference standards, information exchange standards (which are built upon the reference standards) and best practice guidelines that support users in their implementation of open BIM standards-based deliverables.

The Alliance, which is both a council of the Institute and the North American chapter of buildingSMART® International, is working with several other nations on BIM standard development. The United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Korea, Australia and New Zealand are all using the NBIMS-US™ V2 as the basis for their own standards. The NBIMS-US™ V2 eBook is compatible with MAC and PC devices, Android Tablets, Kindle and Nook eReaders, and related formats. The application is available online through the Institute Store for just $4.99. Download the NBIMS-US™ V2 eBook now.

Consultative Council releases recommendations to advance building industry

Natl Inst of Building ScienceThe High Performance Buildings Caucus, recognizing the unique nature of the publication, recently announced the National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council 2012 Report, “Moving Forward: Findings and Recommendations from the Consultative Council.”

The Consultative Council, a representative council of the nation’s building community, prepares the report annually, as required by the Institute’s enabling legislation. This year’s report is a pathway toward high-performance buildings. It offers specific recommendations, implementable in the near term, which can serve as the basis for a national buildings policy.

Representatives David McKinley (W.Va.) and Peter Welch (Vt.), co-chairs of the High Performance Buildings Caucus, hosted the briefing on Capitol Hill May 13, 2013, as the kickoff event for High Performance Building Week.

Ron King, immediate past chair and National Insulation Association representative for the Consultative Council, moderated the event, which included presentations by Pete DeMarco, chair of the Council’s Energy and Water Efficiency Topical Committee and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials’ Council representative; Richard Wright, chair of the Council’s Sustainability Topical Committee and a representative of the American Society of Civil Engineers; Sara Yerkes, Consultative Council vice chair and the International Code Council’s representative; and Ryan Colker, director of the Consultative Council.

Findings & Recommendations
Key findings and recommendations from the report are as follows:

  • The building industry and policymakers should identify baseline metrics to measure the achievement of high performance and coordinate existing efforts in this area.
  • The building community must engage with climate and weather scientists to help identify the information required to adapt buildings to climate change, and to develop the practices, standards, codes and guidelines needed to implement that adaptation into the built environment.
  • All stakeholders should work to identify areas for streamlining the regulatory process and finding and applying solutions that eliminate overlap, duplication, inconsistencies and inefficiencies in the application of regulations, processes and procedures applied to the built environment.
  • The building industry and regulatory community should identify ways to improve the current process of code compliance, as well as look for alternative processes—particularly as state and local governments are faced with shrinking budgets.
  • Building owners must recognize the value of retro-commissioning and the importance of well-qualified retro-commissioning authorities.
  • Policymakers should support the building industry in quantifying the impact of retroactive application of requirements on the existing building stock.
  • Policymakers, foundations and research institutions should provide financial, political and technical support for multi-disciplinary research that supports achievement of high-performance buildings.
  • Utilities, policymakers, code developers and the industry at large should focus on developing an approach to time-dependent valuation of energy, conducting research to support guidance on proper pipe sizing to save resources and protect human health, and determining how thermal insulation on potable and other hot water delivery systems impacts both energy and water use.

The Institute’s 2012 Annual Report, which is submitted to the President of the United States, contains a summary of the Consultative Council Report.

View the briefing agenda.

Download the Consultative Council Report.

Learn more about the Consultative Council.

Terracotta and cement roofs vulnerable in wildfires, NIST study finds

From the May 14, 2013 NIST Tech Beat.

Although made of fire-resistant materials, terracotta and cement roof tiles are vulnerable to penetration by windblown embers generated in wildfires, according to new research findings* from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

In scoping experiments conducted in the Fire Research Wind Tunnel Facility at Japan’s Building Research Institute, NIST fire scientist Samuel Manzello found that the embers—or firebrands—infiltrated gaps between certain types of roofing tiles and, once trapped, proceeded to melt the underlayment below.

Of the four roof styles studied, the flat tile terracotta roofing assembly performed best probably due to its interlocking design. For these tiles, the firebrands were observed to become trapped within the interlocking sections of the tiles and, as a result, the firebrands did not penetrate past the tiles towards the underlayment.

Manzello cautions, however, against a false sense of security with this type of roofing assembly.

“Over time, gaps can develop in roofing assemblies due to settling of the structure, aging of the materials, earthquakes or other causes,” he says. In an earlier study,** Manzello and colleagues simulated this effect and observed greatly reduced performance of ceramic roofing assemblies as compared to well-aligned Spanish tile roofing assemblies.

This infiltration of embers through gaps, he explains, ultimately could lead to ignition of materials in an attic space immediately below.

The research findings suggest that one potential approach to reducing wildfire risks would be to install continuous, fire-resistant underlayments. This hypothesis, Manzello says, requires further investigation.

In the new research, Manzello studied roof assemblies made of flat and profiled (wave-like) cement and terracotta tiles. The assemblies were exposed to firebrand showers generated by the NIST-developed firebrand generator. Devised by Manzello, the generator, or NIST Dragon, shown in the video below, is a two-meter tall, goose-neck-shaped apparatus that breathes in wood chips and exhales firebrands at a controlled rate.*** The novel device supports NIST’s program to improve the fire-resistance or hardening of structures in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), with the ultimate aim of reducing property damage and the threat to life safety associated with WUI fires.

* S.L. Manzello, The Performance of Concrete Tile and Terracotta Tile Roofing Assemblies Exposed to Wind-Driven Firebrand Showers, (NIST Technical Note 1794) March 2013. Available at:http://dx.doi.org/10.6028/NIST.TN.1794.

** S.L, Manzello, Y. Hayashi, Y. Yoneki and Y.Yamamoto, Quantifying the vulnerabilities of ceramic tile roofing assemblies to ignition during a firebrand attack. Fire Safety Journal 45 (2010), pp. 35-43.

*** See the Sept. 27, 2011 Tech Beat item, “In Unique Fire Tests, Outdoor Decks Will Be Under Firebrand Attack” at  www.nist.gov/public_affairs/tech-beat/tb20110927.cfm#fire.

BEST 4 Technical Committee Calls for Papers

Natl Inst of Building ScienceThe Technical Committee of the fourth Building Enclosure Science and Technology Conference (BEST4) is now accepting abstracts of potential papers to be considered for presentation at the event.

Hosted by the National Institute of Building Sciences Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council (BETEC) and the Building Enclosure Council of Kansas City (BEC-Kansas City), BEST4 will be held April 12-15, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. The conference will address critical issues related to the performance of the building enclosure, in conjunction with whole building performance.

With the theme, “Performance-Driven Architectural Design,” BEST4 serves to enhance attendees’ understanding of critical design changes and provide a forum for discussion of unresolved issues.

Suggested Topics
Potential speakers are requested to submit a paper and share their experience with others. The following list is indicative of the topics the Technical Committee is encouraging potential speakers to consider for submission:

  1. Strategies and technologies needed to meet whole house savings of 50%.
  2. Efficient thermal upgrade of existing building envelopes.
  3. Innovative materials and systems, high-performance insulations.
  4. Thermal performance of assemblies under field conditions (thermal bridges and phase-change materials).
  5. Predicting and testing to ensure the performance of the building enclosure (BE).
  6. Commissioning and quality management in design and construction of the BE.
  7. Hygrothermal performance of the BE under service conditions.
  8. Thermal upgrade of existing buildings.
  9. Energy efficiency, lighting and other aspects of small building performance.
  10. High performance and dynamic building enclosures for large buildings.
  11. Reflective assemblies, exterior continuous thermal insulation systems, and advanced insulation concepts.
  12. Durability of masonry structures and plasters, the effect of water on durability.
  13. Control of indoor environment, air tightness, the effect of air flow on building performance.
  14. Glazing and fenestration.
  15. Measured house performance as compared to design.

Submission Guidelines
In their abstracts, potential speakers should address new or existing building issues they consider important. Abstract must be 300 to 500 words in length. Presenters should prepare the abstract using MSWord 2003 – 2007, and email it, along with their author contact information and affiliation, to the Technical Committee via email, as well as upload it to ProposalSpace. Abstracts may be submitted any time before August 1, 2013.

Program Timeline
If selected, presenters must agree to meet the following program timeline:

August 1, 2013 — Abstracts are due to Technical Committee
October 15, 2013 — Technical Committee notification of abstract acceptance
January 15, 2014 — Send draft of paper to Technical Committee for review
May 30, 2014 — Technical Committee sends review comments to authors
November 1, 2014 — Final paper due date
January 15, 2015 — PowerPoint Presentation due date

Abstracts for all of the papers to be presented at BEST4 will be included in a book of Conference Proceedings, which will be available to registered participants. Select conference papers, after a successful peer review, will be considered for publication in several industry journals. Members of the Technical Committee are available to answer questions about abstracts and papers. The BEST4 Technical Committee includes: Mark Bomberg, PhD, PE (Chair); David Yarbrough, PhD, PE (Co-Chair); and Jan Kosny, PhD (Co-Chair).

Download the BEST4 Abstract Template.

View the BEST Conference Manuscript Preparation Guidelines.