The National Institute of Building Sciences accomplishes its mission to serve the nation and public interest through the following councils and programs that work to support advances in building sciences and technology:
Industry Leadership and Advocacy
Consultative Council – The Consultative Council advises the Institute by making findings and recommendations for presentation to the President of the United States on developing and applying science and technology to improve the built environment. Members of the Council include the key organizations representing major aspects of the building community.
Coordinating Council – The Coordinating Council coordinates efforts among the different Institute programs and identifies areas of mutual interest to improve synergy and facilitate outcomes that are more productive and valuable to the building community.
Council on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (CFIRE) – CFIRE brings together building industry representatives that play a significant role in how buildings are procured, designed and constructed. Council participants include architects, engineers, contractors and owners; insurance representatives (including professional, property, casualty, environmental and surety); banking representatives (including construction and permanent); investment representatives (including real estate investment trusts, pensions and others); appraisal representatives; and testing and validation representatives. The Council works to promote collaboration and buy-in across these sectors and address the challenges of evaluating risks, benefits, technologies and practices associated with the achievement of cost-effective high-performance buildings.
National Council of Governments on Building Codes and Standards (NCGBCS) – NCGBCS brings together state, local and regional code agencies to work together to improve processes for handling building permits, inspections, energy codes, accessibility requirements and other codes and standards. NCGBCS provides a forum for addressing long-term policy issues, developing common education and training programs, researching codes and standards provisions and establishing a single point of engagement to communicate with federal agencies. This council serves as the reincarnation of the National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards (NCSBCS) for a wider, more inclusive audience.
Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council (CWCC) – CWCC, through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), leads development of voluntary national guidelines to improve the quality and consistency of commercial building workforce credentials. The purpose of the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines is to reduce the confusion and uncertainty around workforce credentialing; lower costs; and support better credentials, better workers and better buildings.
Off-Site Construction Council (OSCC) – "Off-site construction" is the planning, design, fabrication and assembly of building elements at a location other than their final installed location to support the rapid and efficient construction of a permanent structure. Such building elements may be prefabricated at a different location and transported to the site or prefabricated on the construction site and then transported to their final location. Off-site construction is characterized by an integrated planning and supply chain optimization strategy. The Off-Site Construction Council (OSCC) to serve as a research, education and outreach center for relevant and current information on off-site design and construction for commercial, institutional and multifamily facilities.
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education Program (STEM) - The Institute, the Total Learning Research Institute and NASA seek to engage and inspire K-12 students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics activities related to the building sciences through this program. The Institute is leading this joint program to create and inspire interest in careers within the built environment and leverage STEM K-12 challenge curriculum and utilize educational resources developed by NASA along with technical assistance from the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, the Chief Technologist, the Science Mission Directorate and others.
Low Vision Design Committee (LVDC) - The Institute established this committee to focus on the development of design principles and regulatory guidelines for creating safer and more accommodating environments for the growing population of people with low vision. LVDC emphasizes collaborative efforts between federal agencies, the design professions and the medical community.
Academy for Healthcare Infrastructure (AHI) – AHI is a collaborative research
program that brings leading healthcare professionals together to address
industry challenges at a national level. Affordable, quality healthcare is
essential to sustaining a vibrant society. Yet, the American healthcare industry
is facing overwhelming uncertainty in almost every segment. The Academy has been
formulated to utilize the power of interdisciplinary collaboration in order to
materially improve the processes used to create and maintain the incredibly
complex built environment required to effectively support America's healthcare
Haiti Toolkit – In the wake of the devastating 7.0–magnitude earthquake that occurred in Haiti on January 12, 2010, the National Institute of Building Sciences asked the United States codes and standards community to help provide guidance in the reconstruction of the island nation. The Institute put out a call to industry for assistance in the development of a toolkit to help guide Haiti in rebuilding.
High-Performance Building Data Collection Initiative – In response to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) decision to cancel release of its 2007 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey results and suspend work on its 2011 survey, the National Institute of Building Sciences established a High-Performance Building Data Collection Initiative to identify a method for collecting and disseminating data on all high-performance building attributes, not just energy use. This Initiative will allow the building community to still obtain the building energy data necessary to achieve national objectives for high-performance buildings and also gain additional data not currently captured through government sources.
Security and Disaster Preparedness Programs
Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) – BSSC, a building industry association-based council, develops nationally-applicable seismic design provisions through the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In addition, BSSC advocates practical NEHRP-based improvements to the nation’s model building codes.
Integrated Resilient Design Program (IRDP) - The Insitute established this program to focus on innovative approaches to the design, construction and operation of buildings and infrastructures that are resilient to natural and man-made disasters. IRDP projects are currently sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, whose High Performance Integrated Design Resilience program develops tools and resources so users can integrate resilience to reduce the impact of disruptive events and the duration of their effects.
Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC) – MMC advocates reducing the total losses associated with natural and other hazards by fostering and promoting consistent and improved multihazard risk mitigation strategies, guidelines, practices, and related efforts.
Multihazard Risk Assessment / HAZUS – HAZUS (short for Hazards U.S.) is a geographic information system (GIS)-based software program that estimates the consequences of a natural disaster before it happens. The Institute produced the HAZUS Earthquake Model for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1997 and added models for riverine flooding and hurricane wind hazards in 2004. The program is available from FEMA for free. With this information, community decision makers, emergency managers, police and fire officials, and government administrators can better ready a region for disaster events. The Institute periodically updates HAZUS to support mitigation planning, respond to user needs and offer new and refined capabilities.
Facility Performance and Sustainability Programs
Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council (BETEC) – BETEC fosters public/private cooperation for environmental quality and energy efficiency in buildings. BETEC-developed publications such as the Envelope Design Guide are available on the Whole Building Design Guide, www.wbdg.org. The Council is developing a commissioning guideline for building enclosures. Through a cooperative agreement with the American Institute of Architects, BETEC has formed and organized Building Enclosure Councils in numerous U.S. cities.
Building Enclosure Council (BEC) National – BEC facilitates a network of affiliated architects, engineers, contractors, manufacturers and others located in major cities across the United States. The local Councils provide a forum for the construction industry to address building enclosures—the exterior systems of buildings that play such a critical role in building performance and energy efficiency. BECs offer industry professionals an opportunity to exchange valuable information relating to successful building enclosure design through meetings and sharing of resources. BEC was established as an initiative of the Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council (BETEC) of the National Institute of Building Sciences and the American Institute of Architects.
High Performance Buildings Council (HPBC) – The Council’s overall goal is to put standards in place to define the performance goals of a high performance building in order to facilitate the design, construction, financing, and operating buildings with an emphasis on life cycle issues rather than initial costs. The HPBC identifies the metrics and level of required performance for specific design objectives (energy, security, durability, moisture, acoustics, etc.) for building products, subsystems and systems; and references industry standards for validating these performance requirements.
National Mechanical Insulation Committee (NMIC) – The Institute formed the NMIC to provide a forum for the improvement of information on the performance, use, testing and standardization of mechanical insulation in buildings and industrial facilities. The committee developed the Mechanical Insulation Design Guide (MIDG) on the Whole Building Design Guide website.
Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) – The SBIC focuses on achieving high-performance buildings through the efficient use of energy and resources. SBIC works to unite and inspire the building industry toward higher performance—through education, outreach, advocacy and the mutual exchange of ideas—and to dramatically improve the long-term performance and value of buildings by advancing a whole building approach to design, construction and operation.
Information Resources and Technologies Programs
buildingSMART allianceTM – This council provides industry-wide, public and private leadership and support for the development, standardization, and integration of building information modeling technologies to provide for full automation of the entire life cycle of buildings. The Alliance, in association with the American Institute of Architects and the Construction Specifications Institute, develops and publishes the consensus-based United States National CAD Standard®. The Alliance also sustains the consensus-based National BIM Standard-United States™. The Alliance coordinates projects establishing best business practices, enterprise architecture, education transformation, research and development throughout the industry. The Alliance acts as the North American chapter of buildingSMART International a consortium of 30 countries with like goals.
WBDG Whole Building Design Guide – WBDG is a comprehensive, Internet-based portal to a wide range of federal and private sector, building-related guidance, criteria & technology. It creatively links information across traditional professional disciplines to encourage integrated thinking and a "whole building” performance. Users can access WBDG information through a series of "levels” by way of three major categories: 1) Design Guidance (including Building Types, Space Types, Design Objectives, Design Disciplines, and Product and Systems); 2) Project Management (including Delivery Teams, Planning & Development, Delivery and Controls and Commissioning) and 3) Operation and Maintenance (including Real Property Inventory and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems.) The WBDG includes a comprehensive library of over 12,000 design criteria, other construction documents and executable programs from federal and private organizations.
ProjNetSM – Project extranet (ProjNetSM) is an internet-based service that allows the secure exchange and processing of design and construction information among authorized business partners. ProjNetSM offers a suite of tools to manage owner-related business processes including design reviews, bidder inquiry, requests for information and construction submittals reviews. ProjNetSM facilitates the formal oversight, control, review, management, and secure exchange of complex project documents among and between all project stakeholders.
Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee (FMOC) – The FMOC works within the industry to improve the performance and longevity of buildings and building systems through consistent, effective and proper facility maintenance and operation. The committee provides industry-wide, public and private support for the creation of high-quality facilities. It promotes the sharing and integration of procedures and disseminates best practices. FMOC also actively provides feedback on a number of National Institute of Building Sciences programs and interacts with outside agencies to improve facility maintenance.
Building Research Information Knowledgebase (BRIK) – The National Institute of Building Sciences and the American Institute of Architects are collaborating on the development of BRIK, an interactive portal offering online access to peer-reviewed research projects and case studies in all facets of building, from pre-design through occupancy and reuse.
Total Building Commissioning – This Institute program is an industry wide process to develop a comprehensive set of building system commissioning guidelines. Total Building Commissioning is the systematic process of ensuring that the performance of the facility and its systems meet the design intent and the near- and long-term functional and operational needs of the owner and occupants.
National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) – NCEF provides comprehensive information on planning, designing, funding, constructing, improving, and maintaining safe, healthy, high-performance schools on the NCEF website. NCEF identifies, abstracts, and disseminates information on the planning, design, construction, renovation, operation and maintenance of the nation’s schools.
Councils and Committees Manual (PDF)