June 6, 2019
Risk-based Building Design and Upgrades
John Dyer, BakerRisk
The risk-based approach to building structural design has become an important tool to mitigate risk from industrial facility hazards, particularly explosions. As Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRAs) become the standard in facility hazard prediction, building models have to go beyond estimating blast damage and include personnel injuries. Risk provides a more realistic measure of the level of protection in a building than the worst consequence, which is the output of Facility Siting Studies (FSS). Risk-based upgrades are intended to reduce risk to a tolerable level. The approach is to mitigate building damage (or other consequences) to reduce risk to a tolerable level rather than a negligible level (consequence-based approach). Hazards need to be weighed by their frequency which is done in QRAs. The risk-based approach is an efficient way of evaluating cost-benefit of improving (upgrading) buildings and very useful in prioritizing mitigation strategies. This paper highlights key aspects of the risk-based approach and areas where its use can be an important tool in facility siting and risk mitigation.