Initiating their investigation shortly after the disaster, while search and rescue operations were ongoing, the NIST team initially conducted non-destructive testing on debris removed from the site. This phase of the investigation took place in a warehouse, where scientists and engineers examined the collected materials.
Currently, the NIST team, operating under the U.S. Department of Commerce, has moved approximately 400 substantial sections of steel-reinforced concrete, along with additional evidence, to a larger workspace. Here, specialized teams equipped with heavy machinery are commencing the process of extracting and testing concrete cores and samples of the reinforcing steel (rebar).
The overarching objective of the investigation is to comprehend the reasons behind the sudden collapse of a segment of the 12-story building. By uncovering the root causes, NIST aims to make recommendations for regulatory changes and building code revisions that could help prevent similar disasters in the future. The focus of much attention has been on potential construction defects that could have contributed to the deterioration of the building’s concrete and its reinforcing steel, as reported by the Miami Herald and other news outlets.
NIST acknowledges that the investigation into the Champlain Tower South collapse represents one of the most intricate and challenging endeavors of its kind, given the absence of an obvious initiating event for the collapse. The agency anticipates the completion of its investigation by the spring of 2024, followed by the issuance of a comprehensive report with recommendations one year later.
Original Article By Greg Allen NPR