Post-9/11 Safety Provisions Challenged

Safety codes recommended by NIST after analyzing the collapse of the World Trade Center are being challenged by another federal agency on the grounds they will be too costly.
September 9, 2008, 7am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"A federal agency has joined some of the nation's biggest landlords in trying to repeal stronger safety requirements for new skyscrapers that were added to the country's most widely used building code last year, arguing that they would be too expensive to meet.

The new provisions, which include requiring tall office buildings to have more robust fireproofing and an extra emergency stairwell, were enacted as a result of an exhaustive federal study into the collapse of the twin towers at the World Trade Center seven years ago this week.

The General Services Administration, which serves as the federal government's property manager, is now opposing the tougher standards, even though they were based on a report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which issues recommendations for safety standards after investigating fires and other building catastrophes.

The matter will go to a vote next week at a meeting of the code council in Minneapolis, where more than 1,000 building-code officials from around the nation will gather to adopt the 2009 version of the so-called model code, which serves as a template for 20,000 jurisdictions in all 50 states, including skyscraper cities like New York, Houston and Philadelphia."

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Published on Monday, September 8, 2008 in The New York Times
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