Altering a building’s original purpose by adding process equipment and dangerous gases can have significant implications for the safety of the building and its occupants. Whether it is apparently minor or major, significant modifications to the building’s structure, electrical and plumbing systems, and ventilation, among other things may be required for safety purposes.
The addition of process equipment and dangerous gases introduces new hazards into the building, including the risk of fire, explosion, and toxic gas leaks. This requires careful planning and implementation to ensure that the building’s safety systems can effectively manage these hazards.
Moreover, regulatory compliance may be necessary to ensure that the building meets all applicable safety standards, such as building codes, environmental regulations, and occupational safety requirements. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, legal liability, and potentially serious safety consequences.
In summary, altering a building’s original purpose by adding process equipment and dangerous gases requires careful planning, implementation, and regulatory compliance to ensure the safety of the building and its occupants.
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Factors to consider:
Hazardous Areas: Identify areas in the building where there is a possibility of flammable gas, toxic or asphyxiant gases, or fire hazards. This may include areas with gas storage, gas lines, chemical storage, electrical equipment, or heating equipment.
Facility Siting: Adding process equipment with flammable gases to your building might change the building siting requirements because flammable gases can pose a serious fire and explosion hazard. You will need to evaluate possible damage or destruction to other buildings nearby.
Gas Detection Equipment: Depending on the specific requirements of the process equipment and gases you may need to install additional gas and fire detection equipment beyond what is currently installed in the building. This could include specific gas detectors that are designed to detect low levels of a gas in the air, or the lack of oxygen, as well as gas monitoring systems that provide real-time data on gas concentrations.
Determine detector placement: Determine the optimal locations for the detectors based on the layout of the building and the nature of the hazards. Placing flammable gas detectors near gas lines or storage tanks, or toxic gas detectors in areas with potential for gas leaks might seem adequate, but analysis has proven that air handling equipment, leak characteristics, and time to alarm can have delays can have a significant impact on system effectiveness.
Verify detector coverage: Use modeling or simulation tools to verify that the detectors are positioned to provide adequate coverage of the hazard areas. This usually involves iterative design and placement analysis to determine the optimal locations for the detectors. Methods to accomplish this are explained in the ISA TR84.00.07-2018 – Guidance on the Evaluation of Fire, Combustible Gas and Toxic Gas System Effectiveness.
Install detectors and test: Install the detectors in the identified locations and test them periodically based on the process hazards analysis to ensure they are functioning properly. Regular maintenance and calibration of the detectors are necessary to ensure ongoing accuracy and reliability.
Ventilation: Gas can accumulate in constricted areas and enclosed spaces. Gas accumulation can pose an explosion, toxic, or asphyxiation hazard. You should ensure that the building and each space including the identified hazardous areas has adequate ventilation to remove any gas that may be released during normal operations or in the event of an accident.
Safety Procedures: You should develop and implement specific safety procedures for handling and operating the process equipment, including procedures for startup, shutdown, maintenance, and emergency response based on the hazard analysis. This should include training for all personnel who will be working with the equipment.
Emergency Response: You should have a comprehensive emergency response plan in place that includes procedures for evacuating the building, notifying emergency services, and responding to gas leaks or other incidents.
Compliance: Depending on the jurisdiction, there may be specific regulations and codes that apply to the handling and storage the gases and chemicals. You should consult with a qualified engineer or safety professional to ensure that you are following all applicable regulations and standards. The installation of flammable gas, toxic, and asphyxiant gas detectors, as well as fire detectors, in buildings with process equipment is subject to various regulations and standards, which vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific type of equipment and gases involved. In general, the installation of such detectors is regulated by local and national building and fire codes, as well as industry-specific standards such as those developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the United States.
The following are some examples of the types of regulations and standards that may apply:
NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code – This standard provides guidelines for the installation and maintenance of fire detection, alarm, and emergency communications systems, including requirements for the placement and spacing of detectors.
NFPA 820: Standard for Fire Protection in Wastewater Treatment and Collection Facilities – This standard provides specific requirements for the design and installation of fire protection systems in facilities that handle wastewater and other hazardous materials.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.119: Process Safety Management – This regulation applies to facilities that handle highly hazardous chemicals and requires the development of comprehensive safety programs, including requirements for the installation of monitoring equipment and alarms.
Most countries have regulations and standard to cover this including Canada’s National Fire Code, India’s Fire & Life Safety Code, United Kingdom’s Building Regulations, and Emirates Fire and Life Safety Code. There are also International codes.
International Building Code (IBC) – This model code provides minimum requirements for the design and construction of new buildings, including requirements for the installation of fire and gas detection systems.
International Fire Code (IFC) – This model code provides minimum requirements for fire prevention and protection measures, including requirements for the installation of fire detection systems and emergency response procedures.
In summary, adding process equipment using gases to a building requires careful consideration of safety measures, including gas detection equipment, ventilation, safety procedures, emergency response, and compliance with regulations and standards. It is important to consult with a qualified engineer or fire protection specialist to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations and standards, and to properly design and install detection systems for the specific hazards present in the building and process equipment.
In the webinar we will go into detail regarding this subject, show some examples, and discuss the methods used minimize the risk.
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Webinar - Adding Gasses and Equipment to Buildings
Altering a building's original purpose by adding process equipment and dangerous gases can have significant implications for the safety of the building and its occupants. Whether it is apparently minor or major, significant modifications to the building's structure, electrical and plumbing systems, and ventilation, among other things may be required for safety purposes. In this webinar, we will go into detail about how insure you meet your safety requirements.