This article was originally published in 2012. It has been updated to reflect current findings consistent with today's blast-resistant buildings and the petrochemical industry.
Upsizing and downsizing are part of life in a petrochemical refinery. That could mean capital expansions that reposition limited staff and resources, or turnarounds that change the face of an entire operation. It’s crucial to work through these changes with minimum interruption to business flow. That means the importance of supplier selection is a top priority.
Safety is a bigger concern than ever, and it’s important to choose trustworthy partners during these precarious times. Your choice of suppliers for temporary, blast-resistant buildings is an important one. So, what factors should be considered when choosing a supplier? Let's consider.
Choosing a Blast Resistant Building Supplier
The first thing to find out is whether a blast-resistant building supplier has a fleet large enough to meet your needs. This is especially true in this era of expanded utilization. It began in 2005 with the Texas City, Texas, explosion, but continues today. These days it is easier to find a refinery that sees the value in blast-resistant buildings than one that does not.
Today, RedGuard's leasable fleet of blast-resistant buildings is the largest in the industry. We’ve been fortunate to have the support of great customers, which allows us to intelligently and safely expand our fleet and meet the needs of customers of all sizes without a hitch. It’s not unusual for us to have multiple jobs of 70 to 100 units running at the same time.
Criteria for Selecting a supplier: Placement & Delivery
Even without any regulations surrounding blast-resistant buildings, there are recommended practices (API RP 752/753) that help determine the need and placement of blast resistant modules in process areas. So, what are the things to consider in selecting a supplier? Let's start with:
- Experience with the petrochemical industry,
- Experience placing blast-resistant buildings, and
- Experience with complicated delivery logistics.
Experience in a petrochemical environment is important if you hope to seamlessly integrate blast-resistant buildings once they arrive onsite. The supplier should be able to help you think through the size and placement of blast-resistant buildings in ways that fit your workflow.
They should also be able to plan the details of delivery and setup before the units ever leave their facility. For us, this begins with the salesperson who scouts the areas where blast-resistant modules will be placed and works with our logistics personnel and transportation specialists who will transport our buildings to the facility.
When a semi backs up to unload a building, we know the unit will fit into the allotted space and will be facing the right direction. Nestling a building into a space that doesn’t allow its doors to open adds extra time to delivery, and extra time is something refineries don’t have.
Delivery of Blast-resistant Buildings and Safety
Have you ever had a truck driver show up who couldn’t enter your facility because some of your safety criteria had not been met? It’s the blast-resistant building supplier’s responsibility to make sure all transportation specialists have all of the applicable safety training and licensure requirements. This ensures that you don’t have the frustrating experience of seeing a unit parked uselessly outside your facility as the clock ticks away on your operation.
We take the extra step of making sure all of our on-site personnel undergo any site-specific safety classes required at each facility. By jumping through all of the appropriate hoops in advance of delivery, our team can assure the seamless delivery of blast resistant buildings at precisely the times they are needed.
Aligning with a Safety conscious blast resistant building supplier
The petrochemical industry has a stronger culture of safety than perhaps any other in the world, and a supplier of blast-resistant modules should share that culture.
Safety is woven into every business strategy, blueprint, and discussion we have at RedGuard. When we have a sales meeting or a planning meeting, we also have a safety meeting. We came by this attitude by continuously listening to our customers over the years, and as we’ve grown, it’s made its way into our company DNA.
This is a driving force for us because we want our “red box communities” (the clusters of temporary RedGuard facilities you see in blast zones) to be emblems of safety that draw the eye and reassure the mind as personnel go about their work in these environments.
We know that there are some things you don’t leave to chance - lives are one of them. Despite being created, engineered and built by some of the top experts in the field, we wouldn't think of letting even one person set foot in one of our blast-resistant buildings without testing our design first.
We’re one of the only blast-resistant building manufacturers to perform multiple blast tests and share our results. We do it because our number one priority is to save lives.
Our history of industry leadership has taught us to seek the high road as blast science continues to mature. The highest priority of a blast-resistant supplier should always be to base every decision on the safety of the personnel they are tasked with protecting.
We've written in the past about how to lease a blast-resistant building and how to choose a supplier. We invite you to check out more of the resources on our blog, or our ultimate guide on blast-resistant buildings.