The National Institute of Building Sciences was authorized by the U.S. Congress in the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, Public Law 93-383. In establishing the Institute, Congress recognized the need for an organization that could serve as an interface between government and the private sector. The Institute's public interest mission is to serve the Nation by supporting advances in building science and technology to improve the built environment.
Through the Institute, Congress established a public/private partnership to enable findings on technical, building-related matters to be used effectively to improve government, commerce and industry.
The Institute is a non-profit, non-governmental organization bringing together representatives of government, the professions, industry, labor and consumer interests to focus on the identification and resolution of problems and potential problems that hamper the construction of safe, affordable structures for housing, commerce and industry throughout the United States. The Institute provides an authoritative source of advice for both the private and public sector of the economy with respect to the use of building science and technology. Congress recognized that the lack of such an authoritative voice was a burden on all those who plan, design, procure, construct, use, operate, maintain and retire physical facilities, and that this burden frequently resulted from failure to take full advantage of new useful technology that could improve our living environment.
The Institute has provided the opportunity for free and open discussion of issues and problems where there was once conflict and misunderstanding between government and the private sector construction industries. The Institute brings together representatives of regulatory agencies, legislators and representatives of the private sector to open working sessions that seek a consensus solution to problems of mutual concern.
The Institute is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and is directed by a 21-member Board of Directors, 15 of whom are elected and six of whom are appointed by the President of the United States subject to the approval of the U.S. Senate. The Institute operates a number of councils which advise key aspects of many of the Institute's technical programs. The Institute's professional staff provides essential technical, managerial and administrative support for all of the Institute's programs.
The Institute's councils and standing committees—the Consultative Council, established as mandated in The Institute's authorizing legislation; the Coordinating Council; the Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC); the Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council (BETEC); the buildingSMART Alliance; the Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC); the High Performance Building Council; the Council on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (CFIRE); the National Council of Governments on Building Codes and Standards (NCGBCS); the National Mechanical Insulation Committee (NMIC); and the Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee (FMOC)—are integral and vital components of the Institute. They focus on broad-based and specialized building process issues. Each specialty council is governed by a voluntary board of direction comprised of nationally recognized leaders in appropriate disciplines.
The Institute operates with a balanced blend of public and private funding. Private sector contributions and membership dues are augmented by contracts and grants with federal and state agencies and the sales of Institute publications. These funds have made possible numerous programs which have brought together the nation's finest expertise available from the public and private sectors to identify and resolve issues affecting the building process. This blend of public and private funding and the Institute's balance and representation requirements assures that no single interest area will dominate or hold undue influence over the Institute and its work and assures the maintenance and free exchange of information and views between the private and public sectors.