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Read about the latest information and news on the Institute, it's councils, committees, programs, projects and events. 
Updated: 23 hours 12 min ago

The WBDG Whole Building Design Guide® Gets an Overhaul

January 11, 2017 - 1:50pm

Today, the National Institute of Building Sciences officially launched its newly redesigned free web portal, the WBDG Whole Building Design Guide®.

Used by millions of building professionals each year, the WBDG contains design, construction and facility management information and criteria required by U.S. military and other federal agencies, along with substantial content on topics of interest to all building professionals.

Following a year-long effort, the WBDG now offers expanded search and browsing capabilities to narrow results; a restructured site menu to improve access to desired information; bookmarking capability for account holders; faster loading and increased performance; a responsive template for viewing on any device; improved readability and graphics; and increased security. 

The WBDG design team also replaced the Construction Criteria Base, the building industry’s oldest continuously operating electronic information system (which has run since 1987), with the newly structured Federal Facility Criteria library. The new library reorganizes documents by government agency and document type while expanding the collection with new criteria from additional agencies. With this upgrade, WBDG account holders are able to subscribe to either a specific document or document type to receive email notifications when it gets updated.

A new continuing education platform on the WBDG offers students the ability to browse courses by topic and offers a more robust user experience. The WBDG has added several new course selections; and students are now able to retake courses every two years.

WBDG account holders, take a look to see what’s new!

Haven’t used the WBDG before? Check it out.

Institute Unveils National BIM Guide for Owners

January 10, 2017 - 11:56am

Today, following a year-long development process, the National Institute of Building Sciences released its new guideline to help building owners utilize building information modeling (BIM). The National BIM Guide for Owners (NBGO) provides building owners with an approach, from their own profession’s standpoint, to create and fulfill BIM requirements for a typical project. Unveiled during the kickoff of Building Innovation 2017: The Institute’s Fifth Annual Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C., the Guide is now available free online.

The National Institute of Building Sciences, with the support of ASHRAE, Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) and financial support from the U.S. Department of Defense – Defense Health Agency, compiled a carefully balanced, integrated team that has worked for the past year to craft the NBGO. The team developed the Guide under the premise that BIM, in and of itself, is not the end but rather the means to a number of potentially valuable project delivery outcomes for the building owner.

The 36-page NBGO addresses three broad areas the owner should understand in order to work effectively with the Project BIM Team: process; infrastructure and standards; and execution. 

The Guide provides building owners with a documented process and procedure for their design teams to follow to produce a standard set of BIM documents during the design and construction of the facility, and for maintenance and operations of the facility upon handoff. Establishing the criteria, specifications and expectations in the design and construction process will help owners capture the full value of investing in BIM, while providing a uniform approach for institutional and commercial building owners to achieve consistent BIM requirements for their facilities.

Thanks go to the NBGO team, including the team’s chair, Dan Chancey, RPA, Senior Vice President, Asset Management, Cushman & Wakefield, Commercial Advisors; Ernie Conrad, PE, BOMA Fellow, representing BOMA International; Carrie Sturts Dossick, PhD, PE, Associate Professor and Executive Director, Center for Education and Research in Construction, University of Washington; Craig R. Dubler, PhD, DBIA, Manager, Facility Asset Management, Penn State University; Johnny Fortune, CDT, LEED AP, BIM/IT Director, Bullock Tice Associates; M. Dennis Knight, PE, FASHRAE, Founder & CEO, Whole Building Systems, LLC, representing ASHRAE; and John I. Messner, PhD, Charles and Elinor Matts Professor of Architectural Engineering, Director, Computer Integrated Construction Research Program, Penn State University.

The new guideline, which is based on a number of foreign, federal, state and local BIM guides that already exist, is geared to a generic facility with uniform requirements for use by a variety of government, institutional and commercial building owners. It references a range of documents and practices, including those contained within the National BIM Standard-United States®.

The next step will be to submit the NBGO for publication as an industry standard. Download the NBGO.

Worker, Water Shortages Primary Concerns in 2016 Moving Forward Report

January 10, 2017 - 11:51am

Consultative Council Releases Report at Building Innovation 2017

Today, the National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council released its 2016 report, Moving Forward: Findings and Recommendations from the Consultative Council, during its Annual Meeting, held as part of Building Innovation 2017: The National Institute of Building Sciences Annual Conference and Expo.

The National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council brings together leading U.S. building industry organizations to identify the policies, practices and trends that hinder achieving the nation’s goals of realizing high-performance buildings and communities. Each year, the Council develops a Moving Forward Report to examine some of these challenges and offer findings and recommendations on how to overcome them. The summarized report becomes part of the Institute’s Annual Report, which goes to the President of the United States and the U.S. Congress.

As identified in the 2014 and 2015 reports, the availability of a skilled building-related workforce now and into the future remains a significant challenge to the U.S. building industry. While the issue of water also has been covered in prior reports, a recent increase in droughts and infrastructure issues in places such as Flint, Michigan, have underscored the importance of potable water and the efficient and healthy use of this limited resource. While many of the other challenges identified in earlier reports remain, and those associated findings and recommendations still are relevant, the two issues of workforce and water continue to weigh heavily on the building industry, and are the primary focus of the 2016 Moving Forward Report.

Developing a Skilled Workforce

To maintain its contributions to the U.S. economy and the health, safety, welfare and resilience of the nation’s citizens, the building industry requires the availability of a skilled workforce. Yet, over the past several years, almost all sectors of the U.S. building industry have reported a growing shortage of skilled construction workers. In the 2016 report, the Consultative Council identifies several causes of this disturbing trend and offers recommendations to address them, some of which include:

  • Promoting technical and trade programs in K-12 and technical schools, emphasizing the good career opportunities available
  • Encouraging women and veterans to enter the construction sector
  • Establishing programs that employ building industry professionals to work in underserved communities in exchange for a reduction in their student debt
  • Developing state and/or national reciprocity programs for certified trade professionals, allowing them geographic mobility to follow career opportunities
  • Allowing low-interest federal loans to be used for industry credentials/certifications and post-secondary education

Water Resources and the Built Environment

Regardless of how well the nation’s homes and commercial buildings are designed and constructed, how sustainable and energy-efficient they are or how vital they are to a community or a local economy, all buildings require a connection to a safe, reliable and continuous water supply in order to fulfill their purpose. When a building does not have a safe and secure water supply, normal building functions stop, the conducting of commerce ends, people are displaced and jobs are lost. In the report, the Consultative Council offers recommendations, with the goal of initiating a dialogue to develop a holistic water strategy for the United States. Some include:

  • Expanding and adequately funding federal water programs to help utilities improve infrastructure while also meeting federally mandated water quality requirements
  • Allowing federal and state government funds to be used for projects relating to water reuse
  • Developing best practices for utilities to reference when changing their water treatment processes to reduce unwanted consequences
  • Modernizing the existing water pipe-sizing calculations, which were developed in the 1930s and 1940s
  • Incentivizing the removal of water-guzzling plumbing fixtures and installation of new, high-efficiency models
  • Requiring utilities to provide and install smart water meters
  • Requiring compliance with standards to mitigate outbreaks of legionellosis and other water-borne diseases in building water systems
  • Issuing uniform water-treatment and water-quality requirements for the use of non-potable water

As highlighted in the 2016 Moving Forward Report, both the public and private sectors in the United States can take a number of steps to address the challenges of developing the U.S. building industry’s workforce and improving the nation’s water safety and efficiency. Now is the time for action. Continuing to neglect these problems makes them exponentially more expensive to resolve. Implementing solutions will significantly impact the nation’s ability to thrive economically and socially. Through the Consultative Council and other cross-industry groups, the building industry stands ready to create actionable policies and practices that support improving the building industry workforce and the safe, efficient and responsible use of water.

Download the Consultative Council’s 2016 Moving Forward Report.

Learn more about the Consultative Council.

2017 FEDCon® Keynote Will Highlight National Park Service

December 13, 2016 - 9:10am

Celebrates Agency’s 100 Years of Stewardship to America’s National Parks

Each year, FEDCon® gives private-sector architects, engineers, contractors and manufacturers insight into what one federal agency in the U.S. federal government has on its list of construction projects. The 2017 FEDCon® Keynote Breakfast, scheduled for Thursday, January 12, 2017, from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, during Building Innovation 2017: The National Institute of Building Sciences Fifth Annual Conference & Expo, will spotlight the National Park Service, in celebration of its centennial anniversary.

For more than two decades, FEDCon®—The Annual Market Outlook on Federal Construction, has provided a valuable forum for federal agencies to present forecasting information to the building industry and to share the latest in processes and procedures with the architectural/engineering/construction (AEC) community. Due to fiscal constraints put on federal agencies in recent years, the National Institute of Building Sciences has transitioned FEDCon® to provide attendees with an inside look, from one agency’s perspective, on current operations and any construction projects for the coming year.

During the 2017 event, Mr. Shawn Norton, Branch Chief for Sustainable Operations and Climate Change at the National Park Service, will share his insights into the work currently underway at the federal agency. Tying into the conference theme of Collaborating for a High-Performing Future, Mr. Norton also will discuss how the National Park Service’s team of architects, planners, park rangers, contractors and consultants effectively work together with federal, state and local agency representatives to preserve America's treasures for future generations.

Come to the FEDCon® Breakfast Thursday, January 12, 2017, and get an inside look at the National Park Service as it heads into its next hundred years of providing stewardship to America’s national parks.

In addition to Mr. Norton’s FEDCon® Keynote, Building Innovation 2017 will include 44 presenters organized into 16 sessions worth a total of 24.5 learning units (LUs) from the American Institute of Architects.

On Monday, participants will get a first-hand view of how the Institute works to improve the built environment and find ways to get involved in the process by attending leadership meetings. Other opportunities to hear from industry leaders include the Tuesday Opening Keynote by Judson McIntire, Smithsonian’s Program Executive for the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture; the Tuesday Exhibit Hall Walking Lunch, where exhibitors will present the latest industry technologies; the Wednesday Plenary Luncheon, where Jonathan F.P. Rose will look at the “Well-Tempered City” ; the Institute’s Annual Reception and Awards Banquet, where the Institute will recognize industry leaders with Institute awards; and the Thursday Beyond Green™ Awards Luncheon, where the 2016 recipients will present their award-winning projects.

View the full schedule of events.

Come for the FEDCon® Keynote Breakfast or attend the full Conference. Online registration ends December 31. Register now and save $150 off the onsite registration rates. Don’t wait. Sign up today!

BSSC Schedules 2017 Webinar Series on Construction Materials

December 12, 2016 - 2:27pm

The National Institute of Building Sciences Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) will host, under the sponsorship of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a new 2017 webinar series focused on construction materials addressed in the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) publications. 

The webinars will be based on three documents produced by the BSSC and published by FEMA in the 2015 NEHRP Provisions cycle, including FEMA P-1050, 2015 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures; FEMA P-1051, 2015 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions: Design Examples; and FEMA P-1052, 2015 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions: Training and Instructional Materials.

The series of one-hour webinars will address reinforced concrete; precast concrete; structural steel; composite steel and concrete; wood; and masonry.

The schedule is as follows:

  • January 27: Reinforced Concrete, presented by Peter Somers
  • March 17: Precast Concrete, presented by SK Ghosh
  • April 21: Structural Steel, presented by Rafael Sabelli
  • May 26: Composite Steel and Concrete, presented by Bob Pekelnicky
  • June 30: Wood, presented by Kelly Cobeen
  • August 25: Masonry, presented by David Sommer

All webinars are free of charge and will be held on Fridays at 2:00 pm ET/11:00 am PT.

Attendees are eligible to earn one health/safety/welfare (HSW) learning unit (LU) professional development hour (pdh) for each webinar. People are encouraged to watch the webinar together as a group or a firm, but all viewers must sign up individually to receive learning unit verifications.

Mark the calendar to save the dates. Sign up now to register for the January 27 webinar on Reinforced Concrete.

About the NEHRP Recommended Provisions

Under the sponsorship of FEMA, BSSC administers an ongoing consensus-based process of updating and maintaining the NEHRP Recommended Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures. The NEHRP Recommended Provisions and its Commentary, and resource papers embody the state-of-knowledge criteria for design and construction of new buildings subject to earthquake hazards. The new knowledge and technologies contained in this resource document are diffused into the model building codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC) and several national standards, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) ASCE/SEI-7 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures. Learn more about the 2015 NEHRP Provisions.

Experience Mars City at Building Innovation 2017

December 12, 2016 - 9:16am

Help Inspire the Next Generation of Building Professionals

Take part in a special session to help build the future workforce during Building Innovation 2017—the National Institute of Building Sciences Fifth Annual Conference & Expo. On Day 1 of the Conference, Monday, January 9, 2017, at 3:30 pm, attendees can participate in a presentation of the Institute’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Program and the Future Workforce Program to discover ways to inspire, engage, educate and employ the next generation of building industry professionals.

Across many sectors of the building industry, there is a rising concern over the decreasing availability of a skilled workforce. Addressing this concern will take an industry-wide approach. Many organizations, including the Institute, are undertaking efforts to introduce the next generation of workers to various building professions. Join members of the Institute Board of Directors, representatives of the Consultative Council and other industry leaders as we explore a unique path forward to developing the future generation.

The session will feature a demonstration of the MARS CITY Facility Operations (Ops) Challenge created by the Institute, Total Learning Research Institute (TLRI) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Facility Ops Challenge was designed to introduce high school students to facility management by teaching them to operate a virtual base on the planet Mars and to inspire them to consider one of the many careers in the building sciences. 

On Day 2, Tuesday, January 10, during the exhibition hours from 10:00 am until 6:30 pm, Conference participants can take a virtual tour of the MARS CITY Facility Ops Challenge. Come have an out-of-this-world experience—navigate the building information model (BIM) of the futuristic MARS CITY base developed by KieranTimberlake, Gilbane Building Company and Alderson Engineering. Since the base was first revealed at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in April 2016, KieranTimberlake has enhanced both the curriculum and the BIM, using an immersive environment to engage students with hands-on learning opportunities to give them the ability to play out scenarios in virtual reality.

Don’t miss your chance to experience the MARS CITY Facility and find out how you can inspire the next generation to work in the building sciences. Register to attend the Conference today!

Last Chance to Get the Building Innovation 2017 Hotel Discount

December 9, 2016 - 11:08am

Special Rate Ends Tonight at 6:00 pm ET

If you plan to stay over in Washington, D.C., next month to attend Building Innovation 2017: The National Institute of Building Sciences Fifth Annual Conference and Expo, Collaborating for a High-Performing Future, January 9-12, 2017, at the Mandarin Oriental, today is your last day to reserve your room and guarantee the low rate and availability.

It's your opportunity to get five-star luxury accommodations at less than the government rate. But if you don’t reserve your room today, you’ll miss out on the special conference discount.

For Conference attendees, the Mandarin Oriental, located at 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024, is providing a special Conference rate of $175, but you must reserve your room by the deadline, today, December 9, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. ET, to secure this rate and availability.

Stay at the Mandarin Oriental for the convenience and easy access to all of the Building Innovation 2017 events, including educational sessions, keynote speakers, networking events and awards ceremonies.

Make your reservations online or call (202) 787-6140. Be sure to mention the "Building Innovation Conference & Expo" when making reservations to get the special $175 rate.


Haven't registered for the Conference yet? Registration savings end on December 31, 2016. Register now and save $150 off the onsite registration rates.

December 14 Webinar Helps You “Get in the Game” to Save Resources

December 6, 2016 - 4:16pm

Looks at Energy, Water Performance in Sports Venues

Attend the upcoming webinar, “Get in the Game: Working Together to Advance Energy and Water Performance in Sports Venues,” next Wednesday, December 14, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET, and find out more about how the National Institute of Building Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy and Green Sports Alliance have teamed up on a ground-breaking initiative to identify opportunities for sports venue owners and operators to reduce their energy and water usage.

During the webinar, members of the project team will provide an update on the project’s findings so far, including the current state of energy and water performance across the industry.

Speakers also will discuss how sports teams and venues can contribute to the project by participating in the first-of-its-kind Energy & Water Efficiency of Stadiums and Arenas Survey. The survey is an effort, coordinated in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to identify ways to promote high-performance sports facilities and lead the way to possibly developing a new ENERGY STAR® score and certification for stadiums and arenas.

In addition, a Green Sports Alliance member who has participated in the Energy & Water Efficiency of Stadiums and Arenas Survey will share his experience and why he has engaged in the project.

Register for the December 14 “Get in the Game” webinar.

Own or operate a sports venue? Take the survey.

Building Innovation 2017 Hotel Discount Rate Ends This Friday

December 5, 2016 - 11:09am

With an impressive lineup of speakers on the program, Building Innovation 2017: The National Institute of Building Sciences Fifth Annual Conference and Expo, January 9-12, 2017, in Washington, D.C., is going to be a great event for industry professionals to focus on Collaborating for a High-Performing Future while earning continuing education units (CEUs). And the impressive five-star luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel, the Conference location, is a great place to stay. But if you don't reserved your room soon, you’ll miss out on the great savings.

For Conference attendees, the Mandarin Oriental, located at 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024, is providing a special Conference rate of $175, but you must reserve your room by the deadline, this Friday, December 9, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. ET, to secure this rate and availability.

Stay at the Mandarin Oriental for the convenience and easy access to all of the Building Innovation 2017 events, including educational sessions, keynote speakers, networking events and awards ceremonies.

Reserve your room today and save. Make your reservations online or call (202) 787-6140. Be sure to mention the "Building Innovation Conference & Expo" when making reservations to get the special $175 rate.

Haven't registered for the Conference yet? Registration savings end on December 31, 2016. Register now and save $150 off the onsite registration rates.