Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23)
Washington, D.C. – As part of the ongoing federal response into the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, FL, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) has secured $22 million in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to conduct a technical investigation into the cause of the collapse that claimed at least 97 lives. Wasserman Schultz used her position on the House Appropriations Committee to include this funding in the Fiscal Year 2022 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill.
These funds will allow NIST to conduct an unprecedented investigation to understand the sources of failure, to provide recommendations for how to rectify any shortcomings in existing building standards in order to prevent future similar disasters, and to inform future building codes for similar structures, consistent with the Institute’s responsibilities under the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Act of 2002. Fellow Florida Congressman Charlie Crist (FL-13) will advance similar language to authorize this funding in a House Science, Space, and Technology Committee markup on Tuesday, July 27.
“Over a month after the deadly collapse, our community is still in shock,” said Wasserman Schultz, whose district includes Surfside, along with roughly 15 miles of coastal Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. “While we are still in the process of mourning all those lost, we’re simultaneously trying to assess just how widespread the issue may be. In South Florida and all across the United States, there are thousands of condos just like Champlain Towers, and we simply don’t know how many could have similar structural issues. The NIST investigation will be key to determining the scope of the issue and give us a roadmap to prevent similar catastrophes in new and existing buildings. I’m proud to have had the support my colleagues to secure the necessary funding to allow NIST to conduct such a thorough and necessary investigation in Surfside.”
The Surfside investigation is only the fifth NIST investigation conducted under NIST’s NCST Act statutory authority. Previously, NIST has used the authority to investigate the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, the 2003 Station Nightclub Fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island, the 2011 Joplin Tornado in Joplin, Missouri, and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017.