The following article was originally published in March 2013. It was written by our company's founder, Jeff Lange. We've updated it to reflect current industry facts and trends. Although there are no regulations in place for the design and construction of blast-resistant buildings, many of us are working toward that goal. In the meantime, here is a list of questions everyone should ask before buying a blast-resistant building. If you'd like to read a more comprehensive guide to blast-resistant buildings, we've shared that too. 1. Was the Module designed and tested by a blast expert? The science of blast-resistant building design is no longer a new science, but it is still true that only a small group of experts have tested their designs. Make sure your blast-resistant building design has been taken off the drawing board and successfully blast-tested under the supervision of a well credentialed engineer. There's no shame in asking about your vendor's "experts." Even if they are civil or structural engineers, it's worth knowing about their training and background. Do they have years of experience in the science of blast-resistant design, or did they take a three day course to qualify them?
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 design.
When a major refiner came to RedGuard in 2005 asking us to design a blast-resistant building (BRB), we knew immediately this was the reason we were in business. We saw the potential for creating an important product for safety developed around this new type of building that could massively cut construction costs for refiners, yet do a better job than traditional buildings when it came to protecting personnel.
A turnaround is a lot like a military exercise. You have to deploy specialized units of personnel onto different parts of the field, furnish them with the right equipment, keep them fed, facilitate a chain of command, reorganize resources into constantly changing configurations of efficiency and, most importantly, keep your people alive. One of your enemies in this battle is time because lost productivity can cost millions of dollars per day.
As the petrochemical industry returns to a regular maintenance cycle after the cutbacks of 2009 and 2010, turnaround planning is ramping up nationwide. Now that the use of office trailers is declining in blast zones, demand for blast-resistant buildings (BRBs) is headed for an all-time high. At RedGuard, we’ve been aggressively increasing our inventory of lease unit BRBs in anticipation of this upswing. Still, nationwide demand is expected to exceed supply, so this should be one of the first calls made by turnaround planners, if they hope to maximize all the benefits of work site blast protection.
The petrochemical industry is rapidly responding to the fact that too many blast zones contain buildings that can’t withstand a blast. While some companies are still trying to tackle the problem with traditional construction methods, there is a widespread movement toward the use of modular, metal buildings because of their proven ability to protect personnel.