The previous bombing incidents in different parts of the globe show that even the building occupants near the blast site are not spared from the dangers that an explosion could bring. Attesting to it is the high number of fatalities and injuries due to structural failure.
This only shows that there’s a pressing need for building owners and designers to consider certain blast resistant requirements when planning and designing or redesigning a building. It’s worth mentioning though that there is no such thing as a perfect blast resistant design. But hiring architects and engineers that are knowledgeable in this aspect can help reduce the damage that a blast can cause.
Usually, it is the owner of the building that decides whether to go for a blast resistant building or not. Even though evacuation can be used as a mitigation strategy, blast resistance need to be considered for buildings because complete evacuation is impossible to do given the limited time and the number of people inside the building that need to be taken into a safer place.
Buildings that will be used for critical services are also required to have a blast resistant design. For instance, there are companies that handle or control a high-risk unit and need to shut down the operation first to minimize risks. A more specific example of this is the firefighting department. The building they occupy should be resistant to blasts since there are equipment inside that will be needed in controlling the blast and in rescuing people.
Technically, the terms blast resistant and blast proof are different. Blast resistant is the more appropriate term for lower exposure protected buildings. Blast resistant buildings therefore would have a resistance to some 3 psi overpressure. On the other hand, the term blast proof applies to buildings that could withstand an overpressure wave from an explosion of 10 psi.
Indeed, in today’s society when bombing can happen even in the most unexpected place and time, designing blast proof or blast resistant buildings is very important. Blast designs for buildings don’t only help save lives due to the added physical security but these also prove more cost-effective in the long run.
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