Spotlight Projects:

The Hopper Engineering Associates team provides practical and exciting solutions to unique problems in several industries. To showcase our recent work we choose a project of the month. An archive of previous winners can be found here.

Spotlight Project:

Refinery Blast Building Improvements
Refinery Blast Improvements

API 752 provides guidance for managing the risk from explosions, fires and toxic material releases to on-site personnel located in new and existing buildings intended for occupancy. To help this particular refinery client comply with the API 752 criteria we were asked to determine the overpressures resulting from postulated vapor cloud explosions, determine the structural fragility of the existing occupied structures located inside the blast zone and design repairs to harden the existing structures to protect occupants, where required.

The existing structures at the refinery varied greatly in construction materials and vintage. Many of the facility structures were constructed utilizing combined building systems. Poor building design drawing records and adjacent process equipment presented additional complexity.


Our engineering team developed blast contour maps (i.e. petal diagrams) and identified the most critical facility structures. Working with facility personnel the square footage requiring retrofit was strategically reduced by consolidating occupied spaces. Those buildings that did require retrofit were hardened using less invasive techniques, which served to control construction cost and allowed the modifications to be made online. Overall, retrofit of the existing structures proved to be a value added solution.

HEA has completed numerous jobs similar to the one shown above (Similar Projects)