Reginald DesRoches, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering and professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University, has been named a member of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Advisory Committee, charged with evaluating major infrastructure failures and making safety recommendations.
NCST is administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within the U.S. Department of Commerce. DesRoches attended his first meeting of the six-person advisory committee on Sept. 28 in Washington, D.C.
“They briefed the new members on our responsibilities. It’s our job to evaluate failure of infrastructure, such as buildings, and make recommendations to building codes based on lessons learned from the failure,” DesRoches said.
He was nominated for the post on the six-person panel by Judith Mitrani-Reiser, director of NIST’s Disaster and Failure Studies, and was approved by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Commerce Department. He will serve a three-year term on the committee and his appointment can be renewed for an additional term.
NIST is currently conducting a study of the infrastructure failure from the May 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo., that killed 158 people and resulted in $2.8 billion in damages. .
A fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, DesRoches became dean of engineering at Rice on July 1 after serving as chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research focuses on the design of resilient infrastructure systems under extreme loads and the application of smart and adaptive materials.
DesRoches, who was born in Haiti, served as technical leader in the U.S. response to the 2010 earthquake in that country. He was a member of an early response team which traveled there soon after the earthquake to conduct building safety assessments for the United Nations. He later led a team of 28 engineers, architects, city planners and social scientists to study the impact of the earthquake. This visit resulted in a series of recommendations on the recovery and rebuilding of Haiti.