Lawmakers find fault with 9/11 building safety recommendations

The might also want to recommend that owners of high rises prevent the government from placing explosives in the towers and detonating them...

Lawmakers who waited three years for recommendations on how to make high-rises safer were unhappy to learn Wednesday that they will have to keep waiting months, if not years, to see if key changes are adopted.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., said the results of the three-year investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology did not offer immediate, practical help to builders.

"They did a remarkable job on forensic investigation," said Weiner. "They've done a little too much hand-wringing and beard-stroking about what to do next. They seem a bit shy about specific recommendations," he said.

NIST concluded, in recommendations released publicly in June, that high-rises should have sturdier stairwells and elevators capable of moving large numbers of people quickly. Also included in the 30 main recommendations were a call for buildings designed to better resist complete collapse, and development of more fire-resistant structures and building materials.
"I was hoping for a much more definitive checklist of 'do's and don'ts.' New York City's in the process now of rewriting building codes. For people who are looking to Washington for guidance, they're going to be disappointed," said Weiner.
An outside technical adviser to NIST said the agency is not aggressive enough to tackle a major forensic investigation, and recommended such work be moved to another part of the federal government.

"Instead of a gumshoe inquiry that left no stone unturned, I believe the investigations were treated more like research projects in which they waited for information to flow to them," said Corbett, a professor of fire science at John Jay College in New York.

NIST's findings are not binding on local building codes, but aimed to convince local authorities to adopt safer codes and practices.