The upsizing and downsizing game is part of life in a petrochemical refinery. From capital expansions that reposition limited staff and resources to turnarounds that change the face of an entire operation, it’s crucial to work through these changes with minimum interruption to business flow. Safety becomes 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 (BRBs) is a big one.
What to look for
The first thing to find out is whether a BRB supplier has a fleet large enough to meet your needs. This is especially true in the new era of expanded BRB utilization that began in 2005 with the Texas City, Texas, explosion. More refineries than ever are using BRBs, and the number keeps growing. We’ve been fortunate at RedGuard to have the support of great customers, which has allowed 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.
Planning placement, delivery
Experience in a petrochemical environment is equally important, if you hope to seamlessly integrate BRB resources once they arrive at your site. The supplier should be able to help you think through BRB sizes and placements in ways that fit your workflow.
They should also be able to plan the details of delivery and setup before the unit ever leaves their facility. For us, this begins with the salesperson who scouts the areas where BRBs will be placed, working 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 space and will be facing the right way. Nestling a BRB into a space that doesn’t allow its doors to open adds extra time to a delivery, and extra time is something refineries don’t have.
Taking care of the small stuff
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 your BRB supplier’s responsibility to make sure all transportation specialists have all of the applicable safety training and licensure requirements, so 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 BRBs at precisely the times they are needed.
Sharing a culture of safety
The petrochemical industry has a stronger culture of safety than perhaps any other in the world, and a BRB supplier 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’ve helped this new science of blast protection evolve since it began in Texas City in 2005. Our chief blast engineer, Ali Sari, was literally one of the first consultants called to the scene of that disaster, and this history of leadership has taught us to seek the high road as blast science continues to mature. There are many answers to every question as BRB design is continuously improved, but we believe there is usually only one best answer. The highest priority of a BRB supplier should always be to base every decision on the safety of the personnel they are tasked with protecting.