Until recently, bombings are thought to just happen in South America or the Middle East. Even after what happened during the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, a lot of observers believed that any attack on the United States soil is an isolated incident.
Headlines were describing a radical group bombing a significant landmark did not cause many concerns all over the country. In fact, only significant coastal places in the United States seemed concerned enough to make sure that they are prepared in case of any attacks.
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On April 1995, the rest of the country was forced into a reality check when an American attacked one of the country’s major cities. A former United States soldier and a paramilitary activist detonated a bomb that is considered as one of the most horrific terrorist bombings on United States soil. The attack killed more or less 150 people and wounding hundreds more. for more information
While there is still a small chance that you will become one of the statistics when it comes to terrorist attacks, the risk is still there and the cost of an attack continues to rise dramatically. According to the Sentinel, an Industrial Risk Insurers publication, the explosion is considered as one with the highest dollar loss out of all the hazardous events.
That is why another cost factor that’s starting to enter into today’s building operation and construction industry is blast mitigation costs. A lot of business owners, as well as developers, led by the United States government, are starting to take a closer look at corporate measures to reduce the effects of an attack on their structures.
Military installations for decades have been designed to withstand traditional weapons, as well as minor blast attacks, with the focus towards supporting the structure to continue the mission. When it comes to commercial structures, the most crucial design factor to consider is to build a structure that can save lives in case of a terrorist attack. There’s no concern for the building other than to save the lives of the people inside the building.
A lot of articles you find on the Internet addressing the appearance and cost of designing and building a military-grade blast resistant buildings for civilian use. Not only that, creating a commercial structure that is military-grade installation is impractical because regular people don’t want to work in a structure that looks like a bunker.
Commercial structures serve a different purpose that is why it needs to be designed with a different standard. We need to accept the fact that commercial buildings need to be designed to sustain an attack on a certain degree. It means that they are designed to allow limited localized damages, not a military type of attack.
The structure is built to make sure threat the rescue teams can evacuate the victims. The goal of the professional structural designer is to: design a safe structure that won’t fail when there is an attack and to help the rescue team gain entrance to the damaged part of the building and attend to the needs of the survivors. It can only be done if the structure is constructed correctly. It is where a structural engineer, as well as blast consultants, comes into play.
Defining the threat
When you consider protecting a structure, the owners, as well as the architects, need to work with the blast consultants and structural engineers to determine and know which threats they are trying to protect the structures against. In recent years, we have witnessed bomb attacks, biological and chemical attacks, small ballistic attacks, even mortar attacks.
When it comes to bombings, the terrorist threats range from large truck bombs, mid-size car bomb to letter or small package bombs. When it comes to these kinds of assaults, the source can come from either the inside or the outside of the structure. No matter how big or small the bomb is, there will always be some damage of some sort and worse, unavoidable deaths.
But by limiting the internal and external failure, there is a big chance that you can prevent any forms of catastrophic building failure. Usually, blast mitigation contingency for commercial building needs to be addressed as early as the designing stage. But existing structures can also be upgraded to meet military-grade protection standards.