This article was originally published in September of 2012. It has been updated to reflect current industry findings. In the blast-resistant building industry, we toss around the term "response level" all the time and assume everyone knows what it means. And maybe everyone does, but the difference between a low response building and a high response building can mean the difference between life and death, so it's worth a closer look, even if you already know the basics.
Let’s face it. Petrochemical management comes with more than its share of headaches. From coordinating subcontractor work schedules to jumping through compliance hoops, it can feel like you’re running through quicksand. But with proper planning and the right vendors, there are ways to make it easier. At RedGuard, we’re doing everything we can to streamline the process of buying and leasing blast-resistant buildings (BRBs). We want to make blast resistance easy.
Blast-resistant modular buildings are becoming standard fixtures in petrochemical operations around the world, replacing traditional buildings at a lower cost and with a shorter construction time. But the technology is still new enough that we get a lot of questions on the specifics of incorporating these life-saving structures into operations. Most people are surprised at how simple it is. It begins with a site study.
RedGuard has spent many years focusing on how to build the best blast-resistant building (BRB) in the world, but we’ve also been listening to our customers and learning how they operate during the transition to safer and more productive work spaces. In the early stages of the BRB industry, our customers usually specified the requirements of the products we built for them but, today, we’re making the process easier by taking on increasing amounts of the operational planning that goes into adding blast protection to a petrochemical facility. Once you give us a site study, we can take significant portions of the process off your shoulders. The result is a low-impact, money-saving BRB installation that integrates seamlessly with your operation, allowing you to concentrate on the rest of your job.
Everyone talks about safety, as we should in the petrochemical industry, but there are some gray areas in blast zone safety ratings. So, it’s equally important to talk about reliability. Yes, a building can be rated for a certain zone, but if it’s rated “high response” (which means “high damage”) in that zone, there will almost certainly be casualties if people are in the unit during a blast event.
There are no college degrees in blast engineering. This specialty can only be learned in the “real world,” and even there, only a small handful of people have the experience to be considered experts. When RedGuard decided to start making blast-resistant buildings in 2005, we talked to everyone who knew anything about the subject, and one name quickly rose to the top of the list: Ali Sari, Ph.D., PE.