September 12 2001 ASCE Investigation

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The Official Story

Chicago, IL – September 12, 2001 – The American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc. (AISC) has contacted FEMA and the leading structural engineering associations and is forming a special task force to investigate the structural collapses of the World Trade Center buildings resulting from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. AISC is the technical institute responsible for developing and maintaining the standards for design and construction of steel buildings in the United States. Information developed by this task force will enable AISC to determine if modifications are needed in existing standards. “AISC strives to create a steel building specification that makes use of the latest available design data and construction technology,” said Nestor R. Iwankiw, AISC’s Vice President of Engineering and Research. “The special task force of nationally recognized experts will investigate and determine the various factors that contributed to the collapses and make recommendations to AISC’s Specification, Blast and Fire Committees.”

Immediately following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers began planning a building performance study of the disaster. The week of October 7, as soon as the rescue and search efforts ceased, the Building Performance Study Team went to the site and began its assessment. This was to be a brief effort, as the study team consisted of experts who largely volunteered their time away from their other professional commitments. The Building Performance Study Team issued its report in May 2002, fulfilling its goal “to determine probable failure mechanisms and to identify areas of future investigation that could lead to practical measures for improving the damage resistance of buildings against such unforeseen events.” 1A.pdf NCSTAR_1A_p29

In the days and weeks following the tragic collapse of the World Trade Center, hundreds of structural engineers from the New York metropolitan area pitched in to help with the rescue and recovery operations as well as evaluating the stability of damaged buildings nearby. Rotating teams of engineers worked around the clock, first in 8 hour shifts, and later in 12 hour shifts to assist rescue workers in the removal of debris and the search for survivors. The volunteer efforts were directed by the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY), operating out of the offices of the nearby structural engineering firm of Gilsanz Murray Steficek. SEAoNY worked with the NYC Office of Emergency Management, the NYC Department of Design and Construction, and the NYC Building Department to deploy teams of engineers to critical areas of the World Trade Center site.


Engineers Report On Pentagon Building Performance Presents Significant Findings On Structural Resistance To Progressive Collapse

May 1st 2002 FEMA World Trade Center Building Performance Study

Lessons Learned From 9/11: The Report of the World Trade Center Building Code Task Force:

broken link:

As part of its Disaster Response Procedure, ASCE's Structural Engineering Institute began forming building performance teams within hours of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon. Because of this quick action, the ASCE/FEMA World Trade Center Building Performance Study was released only seven months later before the House Science Committee on May 1, 2002. The study team uncovered significant gaps in current standards for fire testing and rating. Their work will form the foundation of a multi-year study led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. ASCE's initiative in preparing the report also served as the model for draft legislation regarding future investigations into catastrophic building collapses.

FEMA Report


NSF Awards Grants to Assess Damage at Terrorist-Attack Sites

The ASCE has over 70,000 members. (source)

The ASCE Team has no access to blueprints.

The ASCE Team was not allowed to ask for help from the public.

The ASCE Team members were threatened with dismissal for speaking to the press.

The ASCE Team had no access to the steel until the first week of October.

The original (09/14/01) ASCE World Trade Center Team is the same team that covered up OKBOMB .

Initial ASCE Team Leaders:

Gene Corley

Charles Thornton

Paul Mlaker

Mete Sozen

OKBOMB Report Authors:

Gene Corley

Charles Thornton

Paul Mlaker

Mete Sozen

New York City put Thornton-Tomasetti in charge of the WTC Site.

The ASCE investigation expanded and was re-named the [FEMA Report FEMA BAPT Investigation]

The following people were added:

John Gross (NIST engineer with previous experience in the oil and gas industry)

Therese McAllister (From Greenhorn and O'Mara)

Allong with other government contractors from Arup and Hughes

When FEMA took over the ASCE investigation, ,000,000 was allocated, and by December 00,000 had been spent.

National Science Foundation 45,000 Grant:

Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl

Investigative Approach: The initial phase of the investigation will involve visual inspection of both sites, a careful review of existing photographs and video footage and creation of our own photos and video of the wreckage. At the Trade Center site, we’ve discovered pieces of structural steel that still bear identifying marks indicating their original position within the building.

Analysis of damage to critical structural elements will be helpful in understanding localized conditions and structural behavior following the attacks. If possible, samples of structural members will be removed for detailed metallurgical testing, with particular attention paid to members that were actually impacted by the planes if they can be found.We hope to learn where and how far the planes may have penetrated and damaged the interior structural core by impact as well as by the resulting fire. We’ve already begun and will continue to interview eyewitnesses to get their accounts of what happened to the buildings during and after the attacks. A variety of computer modeling tools will help the team study the impact of the crashes on the structures. One program will allow us to model the fire spread and temperature rise in different parts of the buildings over time. Another will show the effects of increasing temperatures on the steel columns to help determine how the collapse occurred. We also should be able to model the overall structure and predict how various modifications might have altered its behavior. These models will help predict both the relative effectiveness and cost of any changes to design or construction practice the team might recommend in its final report. -Gene Corley October 2001

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