Staying in control, no matter what
There’s no room for downtime in the control building at our major client’s oil sands project, where plant operations are monitored and conducted. In an emergency, operators in the control room have to shut down the entire facility before the site is abandoned – a huge responsibility that demands a secure facility. And when a major Canadian exploration and production company needed a secure control room, they came to ATCO Hunter Blast Shelters Ltd.
ATCO-Hunter Blast Shelters Ltd. is a partnership between ATCO Structures & Logistics and Hunter Buildings. Together, the two companies produce blast-resistant structures that combine usability with safety – an essential combination for a facility that needed to include a control room, offices, conference room, a kitchen and change facilities.
“It’s a hub for activity within their site,” explains Chad Bjorgan, Product Manager, Blast Resistant Modules. “The facility brings together office space and control room monitoring for the whole facility, so it lets all the contractors have easy access to these critical components. This is a permit centre with a control centre, washrooms with showers and lockers.”
The $1.9-million facility was built to be blast resistant because of the hazards of working near the project’s cokers – processing units that upgrade the oil sands’ bitumen. And while the facility’s 3-PSI rating isn’t designed to take a catastrophic impact, even though ATCO has tested its units against an 8-PSI blast, it’s certain to withstand a higher blast than a regular modular unit.
Made up of three 13’ X 64’ units with a roof-mounted HVAC system accessible by walkways to reduce the facility’s footprint, the facility takes full advantage of its modular capabilities. And like all of ATCO’s modular buildings, the complex’s modules provided a simpler way to get the building on site – shipped in from Hunter's manufacturing facility in Houston.
But building a facility with modular buildings doesn’t mean that quality is sacrificed. In fact, ATCO’s modular units will be a part of the site for a long time to come.
“They’ll last as long as the plant really,” says Bjorgan. “It’s structural steel, so as long as you’re maintaining the exterior, which is coated with a three-coated system for rust, it’ll last for 50 years.” Whether it’s a potential blast wave or just the stresses of normal wear and tear, the buildings built by ATCO Hunter Blast Shelters are designed to last; because there’s no room for downtime here.