15 U.S. Code § 7303 - Authorities

(a) Entry and inspection
In investigating a building failure under this chapter, members of a Team, and any other person authorized by the Director to support a Team, on display of appropriate credentials provided by the Director and written notice of inspection authority, may—
(1) enter property where a building failure being investigated has occurred, or where building components, materials, and artifacts with respect to the building failure are located, and take action necessary, appropriate, and reasonable in light of the nature of the property to be inspected to carry out the duties of the Team under section 7301 (b)(2)(A) and (B) of this title;
(2) during reasonable hours, inspect any record (including any design, construction, or maintenance record), process, or facility related to the investigation;
(3) inspect and test any building components, materials, and artifacts related to the building failure; and
(4) move such records, components, materials, and artifacts as provided by the procedures developed under section 7301 (c)(1) of this title.
(b) Avoiding unnecessary interference and preserving evidence
An inspection, test, or other action taken by a Team under this section shall be conducted in a way that—
(1) does not interfere unnecessarily with services provided by the owner or operator of the building components, materials, or artifacts, property, records, process, or facility; and
(2) to the maximum extent feasible, preserves evidence related to the building failure, consistent with the ongoing needs of the investigation.
(c) Coordination
(1) With search and rescue efforts
A Team shall not impede, and shall coordinate its investigation with, any search and rescue efforts being undertaken at the site of the building failure.
(2) With other research
A Team shall coordinate its investigation, to the extent practicable, with qualified researchers who are conducting engineering or scientific (including social science) research relating to the building failure.
(3) Memoranda of understanding
The National Institute of Standards and Technology shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with each Federal agency that may conduct or sponsor a related investigation, providing for coordination of investigations.
(4) With State and local authorities
A Team shall cooperate with State and local authorities carrying out any activities related to a Team’s investigation.
(d) Interagency priorities
(1) In general
Except as provided in paragraph (2) or (3), a Team investigation shall have priority over any other investigation of any other Federal agency.
(2) National Transportation Safety Board
If the National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation related to an investigation of a Team, the National Transportation Safety Board investigation shall have priority over the Team investigation. Such priority shall not otherwise affect the authority of the Team to continue its investigation under this chapter.
(3) Criminal acts
If the Attorney General, in consultation with the Director, determines, and notifies the Director, that circumstances reasonably indicate that the building failure being investigated by a Team may have been caused by a criminal act, the Team shall relinquish investigative priority to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The relinquishment of investigative priority by the Team shall not otherwise affect the authority of the Team to continue its investigation under this chapter.
(4) Preservation of evidence
If a Federal law enforcement agency suspects and notifies the Director that a building failure being investigated by a Team under this chapter may have been caused by a criminal act, the Team, in consultation with the Federal law enforcement agency, shall take necessary actions to ensure that evidence of the criminal act is preserved.


(Pub. L. 107–231, § 4,Oct. 1, 2002, 116 Stat. 1472.)

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