Blast loads are something we talk about at RedGuard. We write about their effects and protecting yourself and your team from the damage they cause. The term likely comes up more in our industry than in the course of normal conversations. At RedGuard, our business is safety; and explosions and the blast loads that come with them can be deadly. It’s our job to help people survive the destruction caused by high blast loads.
Dealing with moisture is inevitable in most places. Humidity and rain can cause condensation inside and outside buildings, allowing moisture to seep up from the ground. Moisture can come from leaky fixtures or overzealous HVAC units, even in dry areas.
A turnkey blast-resistant building is pre-constructed and sold to buyers without the need for further customization. Of course, the opportunity for modifications still exists, but the idea is that you can just turn the key to unlock the door and start using your building. For many job sites, turnkey buildings may seem like the ultimate convenience, especially if you need a temporary structure. They are constructed off-site, so installing them on your job site is a quick and straightforward process. However, the questions remain: Are these buildings too good to be true? What are the risks involved?
Interest and demand in the hydrogen industry are both on the upswing. In 2020, energy companies produced roughly 50 million tons of hydrogen, and it's estimated that by the year 2050, production could increase to 500 million tons. Currently, there is around $80 billion invested in the industry, so those looking to tap into its potential will need to find safe ways to process, transport, and store it. That's where steel blast-resistant buildings come in – they are strong and portable enough to adapt to emerging and fast-paced needs.
This article was adapted to be printed in the November/December 2021 issue of BIC Magazine, where it was edited for length and relevance. You can read the original comparison of blast resistant buildings and shipping containers on our blog, or proceed with the BIC article below. For many years, RedGuard claimed to be the only manufacturer of blast-resistant buildings to test and make the data in its blast tests readily available. Since then, some companies have followed suit, even publishing videos showing their buildings’ response. One competitor shows its design’s performance, but also illustrates a high-level blast impacting what appears to be a steel shipping container. What is the implication of that comparison? It is important to point out, in no uncertain terms, that a steel shipping container is not a blast-resistant building. While the appearance may be similar, the differences between a shipping container and a blast-resistant building are significant. RedGuard has been developing blast-resistant buildings since 2005, when an oil refinery accident killed 15 people and injured nearly 200 more. At the time, RedGuard (then known as ABox4U) leased and sold shipping containers for use as storage boxes on refineries, construction sites and other hazardous worksites. Engineers who investigated that accident observed that portable trailers used as offices and break rooms were decimated during the blast, while steel shipping containers that stored tools and equipment mainly appeared unharmed. Conversations started behind the scenes, and RedGuard’s founder saw an industry need to fill. Because of this history, many people assume that a steel blast-resistant building is nothing more than a shipping container. That is far from the reality. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences. Shipping container similarities Shipping containers are made to haul goods across the ocean and, once they reach port, by railcar or semi-truck. They are designed to be used for around 15 years. However, some last as many as 30 years, with people finding alternative uses for them after their use for shipping goods worldwide ends. Shipping containers are built ruggedly. To survive many years of salty ocean spray, heavy rain, wind, hurricanes and a lot of rough handling, most are made with steel walls welded to a steel frame. They have a closed top and doors that swing open on either end. For some of these same reasons, RedGuard’s designers began with steel when designing its first blast-resistant buildings. Because of their use across ships, trains and trucks, shipping containers must conform to ISO standards. They come in standard shapes and sizes, and can be moved using the same equipment. Blast-resistant buildings also make use of these same standards to ease their transport. So, yes, it’s fair to point out that there are a few similarities, but the differences are key. Blast-resistant building differences In designing RedGuard’s blast-resistant buildings, its engineers began with a steel frame, but unlike a standard container, they added closely spaced vertical and horizontal stiffeners. The frame acts as a “rib cage” of sorts. The ribs of the human body, closely spaced in the same way, protect the body’s internal organs. The ribs compress to protect the body, the same way the steel frame of a blast-resistant building will. In industry, this is called “dynamic load transfer” or “flex.” Talking about flex can be controversial in the blast-resistant building industry. Too much flex could be bad. That’s why RedGuard buildings are designed to minimally flex, allowing for much less deformation when compared to shipping containers or other steel blast-resistant buildings on the market. And it’s no theory: RedGuard has tested its designs to demonstrate that they provide a safe environment for occupants. Next, RedGuard uses steel sheeting, either corrugated steel walls or flat plate, welded to the frame. Shipping containers may have steel walls, and they may be rugged, but they aren’t tested for their ability to withstand a blast. Blast-resistant buildings also have engineered steel blast-resistant doors — and possibly windows, depending on how the building will be used. In contrast, shipping containers do not use blast-resistant doors or windows. Individually, the doors and windows of a blast-resistant building must be as strong as the structure itself to protect the integrity of the building’s blast-resistant envelope. RedGuard’s building design uses structural redundancy to ensure protection so the failure of one element will not cause the failure of the whole structure. The same is not true of a shipping container. Another big difference from a shipping container is the blast-resistant structure’s interior. Everything placed inside the building, like floor and ceiling tiles, electrical or plumbing components, furniture, wall coverings, etc. has to be scrutinized for its performance. This isn’t necessary in a standard shipping container. When you think of shipping containers, remember that while the humble beginnings of steel blast-resistant buildings may have started there, today they are but distant cousins. For more information about blast resistant buildings, visit us online or call (316) 554-9000.
Suppose you’ve researched different kinds of blast-resistant structures, like steel blast-resistant buildings, modular concrete blast-resistant buildings, or even blast-resistant tents or air shelters. In that case, you know that there is a lot of conflicting information about why you should buy one type over another. Since the beginning, our team has been in the blast-resistant building design business and has done its fair share of testing. They’re continuously upgrading and working on new methods of keeping occupants of hazardous areas safe.
We know that steel is a superior building material when it comes to safety, cost, time, design possibilities, and environmental considerations. Because it has the highest strength-to-weight ratio, we know steel can stand up to just about anything. Furthermore, because steel is a metal, you might be wondering about how it fares when it comes to thermal protection from extreme heat. We’re going to tell you exactly why steel is the best material for thermal protection - and why concrete comes up short.
What value do you place on your employees? People are the most valuable asset of your business. Protecting your staff in the course of their duties is the highest of priorities. If the nature of your work includes the use of volatile chemicals, then a blast-resistant building is a necessity to keep employees safe. Blast-resistant buildings are designed to withstand explosions in hazardous areas, so those who work inside them make it home safely every night. RedGuard builds blast-resistant buildings with the highest grade of steel to protect occupants from the effect of an explosion. Below, we will answer some of the most common questions about blast-resistant buildings.
As a leader in the industry, we do a lot of blast testing on blast-resistant buildings. If you’ve watched our videos, or read our blog, you may have heard about “blast response” in terms of buildings. Which just means, what will the building’s damages be once the dust settles? Another related term is “human response.” In simple terms, it is also quite literal. How will a human body respond to a blast when it is protected by one of our buildings? What will its injuries be?
Safety of the Employees and Equipment When you undertake a process hazard analysis and identify an explosion as a potential hazard, the safety of your employees is paramount. The nature of your work makes it impossible to situate everyone outside the blast zone. You need to provide ample protection within the hazardous area.
If you've ever undertaken a building/remodeling project, even a personal one, you know it is crucial to choose the right contractor. Substandard materials, unnecessary delays, and lack of compliance are just a few of the pitfalls you must try to avoid. Finding a blast-resistant building vendor is similar to hiring a contractor, except that the stakes are much higher. Blast-resistant buildings are a vital component in high-risk industries, so it is necessary that you take all precautions to keep your team safe. So, how do you know what companies are reliable and will provide you with the best blast-resistant building? Here are a few pointers to lead you to the right company.
Costing a project is not just about the price of materials. When mobilizing resources for a blast-resistant building, we need to consider direct labor costs, business disruption during the build, and even the cost of maintenance during the asset's lifespan. All factors considered, steel is more affordable than concrete for blast-resistant buildings.
When you embark on a capital-intensive project such as a blast-resistant building, information is power. Before you tie up your finances in a building, you need to understand your vendor's blast-resistant building process. In addition, you need to understand your role in the process. Below, we walk you through the timeline and planning of a blast-resistant building.
There's a reason why Superman is known as the man of steel, not concrete. Steel is pound-for-pound, the strongest construction material. Not only is it strong, but it’s also durable. To demonstrate, decades after its construction, a 25-story building in London, the Winterton House, was due for an upgrade. When they stripped it down, they found that its steel frame was still in excellent condition. So, with just a little extra support, they rebuilt the residential units for a fraction of the cost. A blast-resistant building is designed to withstand an explosion, protect the occupants and remain standing after a destructive event. Therefore, you need construction material known for its tensile strength to keep your building (and most importantly, your team) protected.
Are you a Facility Manager or Superintendent in the Human Factors Engineering (HFE), Oil and Gas, or Petrochemical industry? If so, then you know providing the optimal blast-resistant building is a necessity to guarantee your team's safety in the event of an explosion on-site. The building you choose must be well-tested and follow the American Petroleum Institute (API) recommended guidelines. You should consider safety during an explosion in order to limit the liability of workers during the construction of the facility itself. This can be achieved by selecting a modular-style blast-resistant building constructed in phases offsite and then quickly installed by a small staff. Using modular steel blast-resistant buildings decreases both risk and interruption on your facility. The two main options for building materials of a blast-resistant building are either steel or concrete. With everything mentioned above regarding safety considerations, steel is the most viable solution of the two, and we greatly recommend it for your own facility. Steel has major advantages over concrete when constructing blast-resistant buildings, which we’ll explore below. These are four main benefits steel provides over concrete when constructing blast resistant buildings.
Every part of a blast-resistant building is designed to keep employees safe from an explosion. From the layout and design to the completed walls and doors, blast-resistant buildings absorb the impact of a shockwave keeping occupants safe. RedGuard units have undergone the ultimate test, withstanding blast pressure of up to 9.9 psi. The modules maintained their structural integrity and protected the occupants with minimal injury. So how do we do this? To answer that question, we'll explore what a blast-resistant building entails.
This article was co-written for the June 2021 issue of Hydrocarbon Engineering by members of the staff of RedGuard and RedGuard Specialist Services. It is republished here in its entirety.
When it comes to blast-resistant buildings, you need to ensure the integrity of the building’s engineering in order to keep your team protected in the event of an explosion. We often think about safety, but do not consider how reliable our information and products are. An extremely important aspect of integrity you should consider is where the information about products or services you are buying comes from. If your blast-resistant building company relies solely on their in-house engineers, then you are not guaranteed accurate, unbiased information. Instead, look for companies that use third-party engineers who have nothing to gain regardless of the results. Keep this in mind when analyzing data, watching blast tests, and ultimately choosing your blast-resistant building. Another aspect to consider is structural integrity, which is an integral engineering tenet that ensures that a building or structure operates for the exact purpose it was designed. Structural integrity in blast-resistant buildings (BRBs) ensures that the BRB can support its weight, perform as expected, maintain safety, and minimize risks and hazards in case of accidents that result in blasts. Structurally sound BRBs are designed to prevent buckling and other forms of malformation for the length of its expected lifetime.
In industries and environments where vessels, infrastructure, and buildings must routinely operate under conditions of high temperature and pressure, eruptions or explosions may occur unexpectedly if safety protocols are overlooked, equipment wears out, or another problem arises. To ascertain the structural integrity of these infrastructure elements under high-stress conditions – and to assess the effects on personnel working in such environments – manufacturer blast testing on structure designs is essential. In a blast test, structures and fittings in a configuration similar to standard working conditions are subjected to a controlled explosion under test monitoring conditions. The results of such a test can provide valuable information as to the safety or otherwise of current building standards and materials, and inform the wider industry on how improvements can be made, and best practices enforced.
Across a range of industries – oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing to name a few – facilities and infrastructure must routinely operate under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure. Though professionals in these areas typically exercise due care and take the necessary precautions, incidents can and do occur, resulting in ruptures and localized explosions or blasts. Here, we explore why structural steel is the most suitable material for blast resistant buildings.
As the name suggests, blast-rated doors can withstand the force emanating from highly compressed air spreading outwards after an explosion. The doors are usually constructed using thick steel and come with features designed to withstand high pound-force per square inch (psi) associated with blast events. Blast-rated doors are categorized based on the psi they can withstand.
Not all blast-resistant buildings are created Equally When it comes to blast-resistant buildings, it may seem like it makes sense to lump them all into the same category when considering their strength. However, there are differences in their design and build that can make a difference.
This press release, announcing the company's latest blast test, was sent on December 10, 2020 on behalf of RedGuard.
This article was originally published in the September 2020 issue of BIC magazine, but had to be edited for brevity. It is published here in its entirety. It was written by Bryan Bulling, one of RedGuard's subject matter experts and our Northeast Regional Area Manager.
The following article was originally published in the June/July 2020 issue of BIC magazine. It was written by Chris Priddy, one of RedGuard's subject matter experts and our Gulf Coast Regional Area Manager. RedGuard has been a leading designer and provider of modular blast-resistant buildings to the global market since the industry began, following a blast event in Texas City, Texas, in 2005. Our company was asked to provide a safe, blast-resistant alternative to the mobile and modular buildings on similar sites.
Planning a capital project can be a complex undertaking. Add in something like blast-resistant buildings and there are even more parts to the planning process. Goals must be set. Timelines must be arranged to avoid upsetting workflow. And you have to find a vendor with turnkey services and experience with all the intricacies of your project.
Right now, essential businesses are learning to fulfill business needs in ways they never dreamed. And other businesses have been put on hold indefinitely, hopefully to return in the future. These are all in an effort to keep the country running, while we flatten the curve against the coronavirus. RedGuard has been providing workplace storage and mobile office space since 1998 and started focusing on safe space in 2005, after a refinery accident necessitated the birth of the blast-resistant building industry. We championed that cause, and now you could say that, as a company, we are the leaders in providing a variety of workplace safe spaces.
If you’ve purchased a blast-resistant building, or even if you’re still in the bid phase considering your options, you may be wondering what happens once you send in the purchase order. Once the deal is done, is it just a matter of waiting?
Choosing a blast-resistant building can be tricky. It’s not just a matter of deciding on a design and picking the amenities you want. Some factors come into play, and without the right partner or planning, it can seem like a complicated maneuver to get what you need to protect your site.
If you’ve worked in the oil and gas industry, you’ve probably heard a lot about OSHA regulations, or the term Process Safety Management. This article will touch on just one part of that system, the process hazard analysis, and the facility siting study that it will call for. The cost of a facility siting study is not an expense that one generally looks forward to. Still, when it could mean the difference between proactively spending money on a study, versus reactively spending money to pay for repairs, lawsuits, or damages, it’s easy to see the clear choice. RedGuard, for many years a leader in designing blast-resistant buildings, also offers niche engineering services specifically related to explosion resistance in classified areas. Our experts include specialists in the energy sector, risk management, as well as structural engineers, and chemical engineers with many years of experience in the analysis of impact and blast response. Our expertise in blast response comes from being pioneers in the industry.
Imagine the scenario:
Blast-resistant building design gets more fun every year. The original designs conceived by RedGuard in 2005 were “bare bones,” which still have endless applications — from guard shacks to tool cribs. The latest blast-resistant building design interiors look more like luxury offices than metal buildings, with new variations emerging all the time. With corrugated metal as our basic building block, there’s no end to what we can do.