Pushing The Envelope For Blast-resistant Building Design

It’s a pleasure when a client gives you free rein to run with a project, show what your product is truly capable of and design what the client really needs. When a client gave RedGuard such an opportunity, we were able to push the envelope for blast-resistant building (BRB) design.

Concept

We had some history on the project because the client had shown the foresight to give us a call a couple of years earlier when including replacement of an obsolete, brick and mortar building in its two-year plan. The client gave us an overview of the needs and told us, “You’re the authority.Show us the best possible solution and make it fit the same footprint as the old building.” We analyzed the client’s site plan and existing building, studied the client’s operation and percolated ideas.

Design

When the client gave us a green light a few months ago, we showed a BRB design that represented a significant departure from traditional building design. A SAFETYsuite BRB concept is designed to serve specific functions in specific operations, in addition to protecting personnel during a blast. It provides efficiencies that can improve everything from communications to man-hour utilization.

It was also important we designed the building in a way that allowed us to meet the client’s time constraints. The client wanted our modules on site before a planned threeweek shutdown and configured in a way that would facilitate tear down and move in during that three-week window. There is no way this could be done with a site-built structure. Because SAFETYsuites’ modular design makes them extremely flexible, we were able to design the BRB in a way that allowed us to place modules near the old building and provide the client with access to move in equipment before the shutdown.This required some creative design and planning decisions on our end.

Build

This client needed more room, so we are building a two-story facility to replace what was a one-story structure. The three modules used for the first floor were oriented at a 90 degree angle to those used for the second floor because this allowed us to minimize exposed interior support posts and fine-tune the size and shape of every room to fit its intended use.

Again, the concept/design/build approach offers an entirely new way of thinking about building use and is one that requires a certain amount of engineering expertise. This particular client expected us — as the authority on BRB design — to do what, before now, was not possible. Our team enjoyed the challenge immensely, and we were able to shatter many preconceptions about what a BRB can do to help streamline a petrochemical operation.

We did all of this with the world’s best blast protection, in a short time frame and at a fraction of the cost of traditional building construction.

Three-week move in challenge:

With a limited time to transition the client from the old building to a new BRB, we had a lot of pieces to put into place:

  • Two control rooms instead of one (but made to fit into the same footprint)
  • Computer lab
  • Kitchen facilities (not installed in the old building)
  • Restrooms
  • Power backup systems
  • Pressurization systems
  • Fresh air stacks with gas detection
  • Computer flooring for both first and second floors
  • Room dimensions specifically designed for the equipment that would go into them
  • Meet all site study specifications for blast pressure, duration and response requirements