Because our bottom line is safety.
Whether you choose to get your blast-resistant buildings from us, or one of our competitors, we want to do whatever we can to help you save lives. With that in mind, we’ve compiled all of the information you need to make the safest decision possible – for both you and your employees. From what to look for in a manufacturer and key product attributes to demystifying complex industry terminology, you’ll find it all right here.
If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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Blast Testing 101
At RedGuard, we can never overstate the importance of blast testing. If the manufacturer you’re considering doesn’t do it, or simply doesn’t openly share their results, we strongly recommend you look elsewhere.
In most cases blast tests are conducted by detonating an explosive charge a set distance from the building being tested. The entire process is filmed by a high-speed camera and afterward the footage, as well as the building’s interior and exterior, is closely examined to determine any damage. In addition, measurements are taken to see how much the entire building shifted during the test.
For comparison, we field-test our buildings for a 10-psi (25 msec duration) blast using a 1250+ high explosive ANFO charge at a standoff distance of 110 feet.
The importance of blast-pressure ratings
While blast pressure is a key component of a blast-resistant building (BRB) design formula, it’s the duration and response-level ratings that tell the real story of how a BRB will hold up to an explosion. Simply put, a blast-pressure rating is virtually meaningless if the BRB doesn’t sustain that rating throughout the entire event, to truly understand a BRB’s ability to save lives, you must look at its overall response-level rating.
Understanding response levels
Understanding response levels is a critical component in selecting the right blast-resistant building (BRB), unfortunately it can also be incredibly confusing and sometimes even misleading.
While it’s natural to assume that a building given a “high response” rating would stand up well to a blast and offer a high level of protection, in reality the opposite is true. Established by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), response levels were originally created to predict the extent of repair a building would require following an explosion, not its overall level of protection. So when comparing BRBs, it’s generally a good idea to always replace “response level” with “damage level.”
The following is how the ASCE defines each response level:
- Low response: Localized component damage. Building can be used, however repairs are required to restore the integrity of structural envelope. Total cost of repairs is moderate.
- Medium response: Widespread component damage. Building should not be occupied until repaired. Total cost of repairs is significant.
- High response: Key components may have lost structural integrity and building collapse due to the environmental conditions (i.e. wind, snow, rain) may occur. Building should not be occupied. Total cost of repairs approaches replacement cost of building.
All blast-resistant buildings produced by RedGuard meet the criteria for low or medium response ratings depending on individual blast pressures.
Unfortunately, the overall category of blast-resistant buildings (BRB) is so new that there is not—as of yet—an official regulatory board, so buyer be ware. Before choosing a BRB for your operation it is extremely important to take a close look at its overall response (damage) rating, how well it performed in controlled blast tests and its manufacture’s adherence to the practices recommended by the American Petroleum Institute in RP 752/753.
What to look for in the construction of a blast-resistant building
Probably the most important thing to look for in the construction of a blast-resistant building is close and sturdy spacing of its wall studs. If the studs are placed too far apart, the building’s thick steel walls are vulnerable to sustaining a high level of damage. At RedGuard, each of our buildings feature six-inch steel c-channels spaced no more than 12 inches apart to ensure the most rigid frame possible.
Beyond the frame, it’s also important to look at all of the building’s nonstructural components (cabinetry, light fixtures, electrical/plumbing design and all other interior fixtures) to ensure they will hold up to a blast. If any of these components are susceptible to damage, the rest of the building’s design is virtually worthless.
Ensuring API RP 752/753 compliance
Without a formal regulatory board in place, the best thing you can do when selecting a blast-resistant building is to ensure that each of the models you’re considering complies with API RP 753 (or its predecessor RP 752). This set of recommended practices created by the American Petroleum Institute was developed to:
- Ensure that the design, construction, installation and maintenance of occupied portable blast-rated buildings protect occupants against potential hazards.
- Manage the use of portable commercial modular buildings as an integral part of the design, construction maintenance and operation of a facility.
For an in-depth explanation of RP 752/753, please the American Petroleum Institute’s website at www.api.org.
Why ISO 9001:2008 matters
When it comes to choosing a blast-resistant building, a manufacturer’s ability to deliver a high-quality, durable and reliable product each and every time is paramount. To ensure that the company you’re considering maintains the practices that lead to the consistency you can count on, check to see if they are ISO 9001:2008 certified.
Developed by the International Organization for Standardization, ISO 9001:2008 specifies requirements for a quality management system in an organization that:
- Needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide a product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements
- Aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements