Thursday, November 27, 2014
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Statement of Task

Welcome to the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE) Web site, an operating unit of the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences of the National Research Council (NRC). Established in 1946 as the Building Research Advisory Board, BICE and its predecessor organizations have been the principal units of the NRC concerned with the built environment. In its work for and with units of government, private organizations, and the public at large, BICE has provided both comprehensive and specific policy and technical advice, monitored the research of others, organized conferences and symposia, stimulated research, correlated and disseminated information, and explored problems and opportunities for progress in its field. While advisory services make up the bulk of BICE activities a number of specific programs have been created and maintained over the years. Formed in 1953 as an outgrowth of an NRC study, the most significant and longest running of these activities is the Federal Facilities Council.

The NRC is the principal operating agency of The National Academies, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine--three honorific entities to which their respective peers elect distinguished experts. The parent entity, the National Academy of Sciences, was chartered by an Act of Congress in 1863, and signed by President Lincoln to further science and technology and provide advice to the government upon request. In order to expand the talent base involved in Academy activities, the NRC was created in 1916 and structured as a non-profit corporation. The National Academies identifier was adopted in 1999 to further strengthen the ties between the four organizations.

The Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE) advises the executive and legislative branches of government and the private sector on questions of technology, science and public policy; and, the relationship between the constructed and natural environments and their interaction with human activities. The BICE brings together in an independent forum expertise from a wide range of scientific, engineering, and social science disciplines to address problems and issues in these areas. It provides a unique structure to respond to specific requests from government, or to act on its own initiative with public or private sector support. In pursuit of its goals, the BICE develops strategic plans and oversees committee activities involving studies, briefings, workshops, symposia, and a variety of information dissemination activities.

Multidisciplinary expert committees sponsored by the BICE and its predecessor boards have produced a wide range of advisory studies that reflect the scope of the BICE statement of task. Many of these reports are available from the National Academies Press. The Federal Facilities Council (FFC) is a continuing BICE activity whose purpose is to promote continuing cooperation between federal agencies and organizations of the building community to advance building science and technology, particularly with regards to the design, construction, acquisition, evaluation, and operation of federal facilities. Information on FFC activities and publications can be found on the FFC Web site.