Summary: H.R.4687 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (09/09/2002)

National Construction Safety Team Act - Authorizes the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish National Construction Safety Teams for deployment within 48 hours after events causing the failure of a building that has resulted in or posed significant potential for substantial loss of life.

Declares the purpose of Team investigations to be to improve the safety and structural integrity of buildings in the United States. Requires Teams to: (1) establish the likely technical cause(s) of the building failure; (2) evaluate the technical aspects of evacuation and emergency response procedures; (3) recommend specific improvements to building standards, codes, and practices; (4) recommend research and other appropriate actions needed to improve the structural safety of buildings and evacuation and emergency response procedures; and (5) consist of at least one NIST employee and other experts who are not NIST employees.

Authorizes a Team, in investigating a building failure, to: (1) enter property where a building failure has occurred or where relevant materials are located; (2) inspect related records, facilities, and building components and materials; (3) move appropriate records, components, and materials; and (4) subpoena necessary witnesses and evidence. Requires a Team to: (1) conduct its actions in a way that does not interfere unnecessarily with building services or materials and that preserves evidence related to the building failure; (2) coordinate its investigations with search and rescue efforts and with qualified researchers conducting engineering or scientific research relating to the building failure; and (3) cooperate with State and local authorities carrying out any activities related to a Team's investigation. Directs NIST to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the head of each Federal agency that may conduct or sponsor a related investigation, providing for coordination of investigations. Grants a Team investigation priority over any other investigation of any other Federal agency, with the exception of related investigations conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board or building failures that may have been caused by criminal acts. Requires Teams to ensure that evidence of such criminal acts is preserved.

Requires: (1) the Director, on behalf of a Team, to hold public briefings on investigations, including final briefings after public reports required by this Act are issued; and (2) Teams to issue public reports after completing investigations, including an analysis of the cause of the building failure and any recommendations for changes to evacuation and emergency response procedures, improvements to building standards, and actions needed to prevent future failures. Requires NIST to review such reports, to conduct or encourage appropriate recommended research, and to promote adoption of Team recommendations by the Federal Government and other agencies and organizations.

Requires the Director to: (1) report to specified congressional committees on Team investigations and recommendations, including on the extent to which those recommendations have been implemented, and on NIST actions to improve building safety and structural integrity in response; and (2) establish an advisory committee to advise the Director on carrying out this Act and to review the procedures developed for the establishment and deployment of Teams and Team reports. Requires such advisory committee to transmit to such congressional committees annual reports that include: (1) an evaluation of Team activities, along with recommendations for improving Team operation and effectiveness; and (2) an assessment of the implementation of Team recommendations.

States that the authorities and restrictions applicable under this Act to the Director and Teams shall apply to the NIST's activities in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Authorizes NIST to use funds otherwise authorized by law to carry out this Act.