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The Future of High-rise Building Design

The Future of High-rise Building Design



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Published by shrikant

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: shrikant on Feb 19, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 The Futureof High-RiseBuildingDesign
The Future of High-Rise Building Design
 By BOM Editorial Staff 
 January 2006In the weeks following theterrorist attack on the WorldTrade Center, media reportswere filled with as manyquestions as they were facts.How did terrorists bypassairport security? How didterrorists gain access toairliner cockpits? How didforeigners learn to flycommercial airliners while living in the United States? The answers to most of thequestions resulted in changes that were evident in longer airport security lines and thecreation of aDepartment of Homeland Security.But even as measures to thwart future attacks were put in place, one issue remainedshrouded: Why did the towers collapse? Now, after nearly four and a half years of intensive study, there is consensus about howthe towers collapsed. But even today, there is no agreement on the lessons that can bedrawn from that tragedy. The most ambitious attempt to define those lessons came in thefinal report on the collapse of WTC 1 and WTC 2 by the National Institute of Standardsand Technology(NIST). That report offered 30 recommendations on ways that tall buildings can be made safer.Some recommendations are concerned with structural stability. Others discuss howemergency responders should react to situations involving high-rises. Others lay outimproved procedures for evacuating buildings.The most far reaching of the recommendations have provoked a debate among facilityexecutives, code officials and others involved in building, designing and operating high-rise structures.This series of articles explores some of the issues that will determine how high-rises areconstructed in the years to come. The first article looks at the NIST effort as a starting point for the discussion on how high-rises can be made safer. The second article looks atthe issues surrounding a single recommendation — full building evacuation — thatwould change how building occupants and emergency workers respond to emergencies inhigh-rises. A third article looks at an element of building operations that NIST was notcharged with investigating: building security.
Forming codes and standards
Elements of future high-rises
New evacuation procedures proposed
Security guidelines to keep high-rises safe
As industry bodies grapple with possible changes to codes and standards, they will haveto decide what sorts of disasters high-rises should be designed to survive. Although NISTofficials say the recommendations were not developed solely on the basis of the terroristattacks, others question whether they go too far in protecting against other kinds of threats. Those critics say that the World Trade Center attacks are unique, and thereforeshould not be used to justify taking very costly steps to implement some of the NISTrecommendations.Some industry observers might also use the contents of a forthcoming NIST reportinvestigating the collapse of a third World Trade Center tower — WTC 7. Because thattower was spared the impact of an airliner, many are viewing its collapse as more typicalof the type of emergency high-rises around the nation might face. That tower was sparedthe impact of an airliner. Although the NIST report due out in spring will detail the causeof the tower’s collapse, the agency has already reported fires resulting from the initialattack on the other two towers played a role.Decisions of whether to require building codes that call for thicker fire-resistive coatingson high-rise structural members, use of redundant sprinkler systems, for example, will beinfluenced by whether such improvements are worth the expense. Many of the NISTrecommendations will cost building owners money. In the case of somerecommendations, perhaps a lot of money.The codes and standards groups reviewing the recommendations face an arduous task. Onone side, they’ll hear from a group of people who say nothing in the NIST report is worthimplementing. On the other side, they’ll hear that everything in the report is not onlyvalid, but that some specific recommendations don’t go far enough toward protecting buildings.Code groups will be charged with plotting the middle ground without knowing exactlywhat future terrorist acts or natural disasters will test the limits of high-rise design. Thosegroups are charged with finding the elusive answer to the question, “How safe is safeenough?”

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