The National Institute of Building Sciences accomplishes its mission to serve the nation and public interest through the following programs and projects that work to support advances in building sciences and technology:
Industry Leadership and Advocacy
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
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.
Off-Site Construction Council (OSCC) - "Off-site construction" is the planning, design, fabrication and assembly of building components at a location other than their final installation to support the rapid and efficient construction of a permanent structure. The Institute established 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.
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
Integrated Resilient Design Program (IRDP) - The Insitute establed 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 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
Low Vision Design Program (LVDP) - The Institute established this program 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. LVDP emphasizes collaborative efforts between federal agencies, the design professions and the medical community.
Information Resources and Technologies
Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) – 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.
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.