Previously on the blog, we discussed a variety of innovations in blast-resistant materials and the process of hardening a pre-existing building. But along with considering similar products in your new construction, when you have a pre-existing lab you can utilize hardening techniques. While we touched on what is hardening, we didn’t dive into the world the actual techniques used in the process. From government buildings to blast-resistance lab facilities, these hardening techniques are common industry standards to improve building strength through the lab design process.
Establishing a secure perimeter
While this point is not as pertinent for lab sites as it may be for government buildings and other terrorist targets, it’s important to consider. Establishing a secure perimeter creates an ability to control where a blast may be coming from. Government buildings may use anti-ram boards or large cement planters in order to keep traffic an appropriate distance away from the building. For a lab situation, this brings about the thought process necessary to evaluate where a blast could come from and allows you to evaluate what type of distance, and possibly even blast strength, that you can expect if something were to go wrong onsite.
Mitigating debris hazards resulting from the damaged façade
One of the most common options for hardening a pre-existing building or lab is to use a blast curtain between the potential blast site and the building which needs to be protected. This blast curtain can look similar to a work of art, but it’s simply a large, relatively thin steel wall that is built in close vicinity to the structure needing protection. The concept is that the blast curtain will act as a buffer, catching shrapnel and reducing the force that hits the facade of the building, helping to maintain the stability of the structure.
Preventing progressive collapse
The biggest concern with any building in a blast zone is that the building will collapse with people inside. The goal of hardening a building is to be able to keep it structurally sound enough for people to escape, not to keep the building flawlessly intact. So, preventing collapse is exceptionally important. This often means adding additional concrete supports and outriggers in the floor or ceiling to support each level. Many of these designs have been utilized in skyscrapers and help to take the load and force for high winds as well.
Isolating internal threats from occupied spaces
Sometimes the explosion threat is from an interior space in a building instead of a second building, like a chemical storage building or a manufacturing facility. That means that you may have need for hardening of a specific room or space. Think about a submarine and how their spaces are separated by massive steel doors. LCS Constructors is able to reinforce a space with steel and other blast-resistant materials in order to contain the risk of explosion.
LCS Construction has the experience and professionalism in order to get your lab design and hardening completed in order to keep your employees safe. Contact us for more information about the lab hardening process and costs.