China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, Ridgecrest, CA

Murray Middle School OEA Project


PT was hired as the AT/FP and blast design consultant for ensuring full project compliance with the DoD Minimum Anti-terrorism Standards for Buildings (UFC 4-010-01). Following a site assessment and blast threat study, structural analyses were conducted to determine the suitability of various building components and construction techniques.  Given large standoff distances between buildings and threat locations, construction techniques utilizing wood members and a modular approach were deemed acceptable by PT for resisting the design blast loads.  The client incurred significant savings on the project as a result of the cost-effective construction approach, while still maintaining compliance with the governing standard for blast-resistant design.  Counter-terrorism measures were also provided for windows, doors, mechanical, and electrical design.

British Petroleum, Carson, CA


The structure under consideration for upgrade was characterized by partially grouted CMU construction (circa 1970's) and was used by BP as an administration and control room.  Primary threats were vapor cloud explosion (19+psi reflected pressure) and seismic (refinery is sited in an area defined as a high-risk seismic zone and very near the epicenter of the deadly 1933 Long beach earthquake).  Additionally, the structure was non-compliant with the updated City of Los Angeles/LA Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) seismic and structural codes, which are among the most stringent in the country.

BP required a complete retrofit for blast and seismic which would comply with API RP-752 guidelines for blast and fire, ASCE7-05 guidelines for seismic, and the LADBS requirements for seismic and structural as per the Los Angeles Building Code (LABC). The LABC requirements supersede both the International Building Code (IBC) and the California Building Code (CBC), which presented a very complex engineering and design challenge, in that the design would be a blending of both blast and seismic engineering inside a mission critical structure for BP Carson's refinery operation.  This building was in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week and was on a 100% uptime schedule.

PT presented a solution utilizing four layers of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) which were applied inside the structure, with three layers in the vertical direction to absorb the blast load and one layer in the horizontal direction to provide shear resistance for a seismic event.  BP thoroughly reviewed and then accepted the PT design.


Monroe Energy Refinery,

Trainer, PA


PT conducted a site survey of the Monroe Energy Trainer Refinery which included an investigation of six different buildings for resistance to blast and other hazards. The structural layout of each building and proximity to blast sources were examined thoroughly to develop an understanding of the need for potential upgrade solutions.  PT followed the site review with a report which included recommendations for retrofit solutions, a blast-resistant modular unit, and other safety considerations for site staff in the existing buildings. Based on the provided information, Monroe Energy selected PT to design a blast-resistant building which would provide additional office space in a safe location for the refinery staff.  The building construction utilized proprietary methods and a modular approach which minimized on-site construction at the refinery.


ExxonMobil, Torrance, CA


PT executed a blast design for retrofit and replacement of 8,000 windows at the ExxonMobil Refinery in Torrance, CA. As the blast threat varied at different locations along the building, a cost-effective approach was taken to tailor the robustness of the window upgrades in each wall region to match the design threat rather than utilize a "one size fits all" approach, which would lead to over-design of many components. The design included replacement of glazing and reinforcing/replacement of framing members and connections.


Chevron Light-fuels Storage Facility, San Diego, CA


This protective design project consisted of a retrofit of an existing separation wall at a Chevron storage facility abutting the BP-Arco unit at San Diego Terminal.
The retrofit included hardening both sides of the wall and encompassed blast, seismic, and corrosion threats.  The wall was composed of concrete and, due to exposure to high winds, salt, air, and water intrusion, had suffered extensive structural degradation, nearly to the point of collapse. Additionally, due to the facility's use as a light-fuels storage facility, there was high risk of flash fires, pool fires, and spontaneous blast, as well as the risk of a seismic event triggering blast, fire, or both.  
PT's solution provided resistance to all three threats and utliized a combination of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer for the blast and fire threats per API requirements, as well as seismic per ASCE 7-05 and California Building Code (CBC) and a spray-applied anti-corrosive material and filler.


PREVIOUS AND CURRENT PROJECTS

Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield, CA

Scandia Elementary OEA Project


PT was hired as the AT/FP and blast design consultant for ensuring full project compliance with the DoD Minimum Anti-terrorism Standards for Buildings (UFC 4-010-01).  Following a site assessment and blast threat study, structural analyses were conducted to determine the suitability of various building components and construction techniques.  With short standoff distances to building walls, advanced finite element analyses and other dynamic calculation methods were utilized to check heavily reinforced CMU walls and composite roof decks. Modified member sizes and connection upgrades were prescribed for specific areas which required additional hardening beyond the requirements for seismic ground motion and high wind. Counter-terrorism measures were also provided for windows, doors, mechanical, and electrical design. 


World Trade Center Vehicle Security Center (VSE), New York, NY


The World Trade Center VSC is a below-grade vehicle control and security center, wherein security personnel and law enforcement can inspect, track and route all vehicles, personnel and underground foot traffic (from adjacent NYC subway stations) into and out of the World Trade Center campus. 

PT was contacted by Tishman Construction, the prime contractor for the new World Trade Center campus, and AECOM NYC, Tishman's owner and the Engineer-of-Record on the World Trade Center construction, to provide a solution for a vehicle-borne IED deployed in the VSC.

Utilizing extensive computational modeling and capitalizing on previous R&D and explosive testing, PT provided a solution utilizing advanced materials to defeat this threat, which would have created not only tremendous blast pressures in a confined space, but would have produced widespread fragmentation and spall as well, resulting in catastrophic loss of life.


Design and Engineering

for Critical Infrastructure Protection

The Pyramid Center (TransAmerica Building), San Francisco, CA


The iconic structure in downtown San Francisco is classified as the second-most visible High Value/High-Risk target on the west coast of the US per Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

Completed in 1972, The Pyramid Center is in the center of San Francisco's Financial District and is vulnerable to a wide variety of terrorist threats, including man-borne, vehicle-borne and others.  PT was contacted by the building's owner, following Homeland and FBI contacting the owner after receiving intelligence that the building had been survielled as a potential target.

While the scope of both threats and solutions has been withheld at the owner's request and the request of federal law enforcement, we can divulge that the threats package was well above what is characterized as common, e.g. package/satchel bombs and car/truch bombs, and thus the solution set required extensive design and engineering, including high-order, physics-based computational modeling and blast analysis, along with validation of completely new materials systems for blast and ballistic threats.


D.C. Cook Nuclear Generating Station, Bridgman, MI.  Owned by American Electric Power


The Central Alarm Station was a single story, cast-in-place concrete structure which served as the primary early warning system and defense system for the entire nuclear facility.  Primary threats as per the governing standard, which is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) 10 CFR Part 73 physical security and protection guidelines, were explosive charges deployed against the roof of the structure (Defined as Design Basis Threat #1) and the walls of the structure (defined as Design Basis Threat #2).  Due to the classified nature of the project, we cannot provide charge weights for the threats in question, but can offer that both charges were sufficient to achieve what the NRC referred to as a "Building Kill," meaning the structure and attendant personnel would have been removed from operation.


PT's solution for Design Basis Threat #1 involved re-purposing an existing fence and frame system to create a "catcher system" capable of preventing the charge from touching the roof of the structure and providing sufficient standoff distance, in this case over 5', to prevent roof collapse and protect building personnel during the event of a detonation.

PT's solution for Design Basis Threat #2 involved the engineering, design, and fabrication of a custom-made stainless steel clip system for the inside of the structure, placed at key load-bearing and joint connections.  As with Design Basis Threat #1, the clip system ensured that, even in the event of a detonation, both personnel and the structure would be safe.


Lastly, it should be noted that the PT solution, at $700,000, saved the owner, American Electric Power, nearly $1.2mm in total costs, including design and build costs.


Veterans Administration Information Technology Building, Temple, TX


PT served as the AT/FP and blast design consultant for ensuring full project compliance with the VA Physical Security Design Manual (PSDM) for a multi-story building housing critical infrastructure.  Work included blast-resistant design of CMU walls with carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) upgrades, advanced steel stud walls, steel columns, and composite roof sections.  Multiple advanced analyses methods were utilized to check numerous structural and non-structural components for provision of an adequate level of protection. Consulting and analysis was also provided for hostile vehicle mitigation and other critical site considerations.