PEER Colleagues Lead NIST Investigation of Champlain Towers South Collapse

August 31, 2021

In this July 1, 2021, photo NIST staff members examine pieces of concrete removed from the debris pile at the site of the Champlain Towers South building partial collapse.The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced the team to conduct a technical investigation into the June 24, 2021, partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida. The team includes PEER colleagues Judith Mitrani-Reiser, Youssef Hashash, and Jack Moehle.

The NIST team will be co-led by Judith Mitrani-Reiser, associate chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division in NIST’s Engineering Laboratory.

“This team has an incredible amount of experience in forensic engineering, having studied many building failures,” Mitrani-Reiser said. “We are going into this with an open mind and will examine all hypotheses that might explain what caused this collapse. Having a team with experience across a variety of disciplines, including structural and geotechnical engineering, materials, evidence collection, modeling and more, will ensure a thorough investigation.”

Dr. Mitrani-Reiser was on the PEER-EERI-GEER Reconnaissance Briefing panel for the April 2015 Gorkha (Nepal) Earthquake, and she gave a special presentation at the 2020 PEER Annual Meeting.

Dr. Youssef Hashash will co-lead the NIST team’s geotechnical engineering effort. He was on the PEER-EERI-GEER Reconnaissance Briefing panel for the April 2015 Gorkha (Nepal) Earthquake. He was a member of the PEER-NGA East research team, and he recently gave a presentation at the PEER-DOE Workshop in May 2021.

Professor Jack Moehle will co-lead the NIST team’s structural engineering effort. He is the founding Director of PEER and is on PEER’s Institutional Board.

Full biographies of the team members and descriptions of the investigation studies can be found on the NIST Champlain Towers South investigation webpages.