We are often asked how do you get a copy of the new General Services Administration Facility Security Requirements for Explosive Devices Applicable to Facility Security Levels III and IV: GSA’s Interpretation of the Interagency Security Committee (ISC) Physical Security Criteria?
You asked…we answered!
“The GSA is tightly controlling distribution of the FOUO document, giving full access to only those people who have a clear need for the complete text. This would include people actively involved in the actual blast analysis of GSA buildings and/or the individual building elements of GSA buildings. If you fall into this category, you can contact the GSA Project Manager, or email email@example.com.”
When writing an RFP for a Blast Vulnerability Assessment there are a number of things to consider, one of which is whether to pay for the engineers of the assessment team to visit the site in person. Often, the inclination may be to reduce the cost of the assessment by excluding a site visit.
We do not recommend this approach, as it limits the ability of the assessment team to develop feasible, effective solutions tailored to the requirements of the specific buildings and compounds.
No matter how much information may be available about the buildings and structures, it is rarely as much as is thought and it is no substitute for the engineer-assessors seeing the building and compound for themselves.
Typical Site Visits
Site visits will vary based on the previously available information, the number and complexity of the buildings, the threat-types to be assessed, and the location of the project. At a minimum, the following should be included:
When there is limited information available regarding the existing building construction and configuration, or when the validity of the information may be suspect (i.e. in countries where there is no established building code and inspection process), destructive testing and investigation may be advisable. This testing could include:
While it may seem that paying for a site visit is an unnecessary cost; it will make for a more realistic Blast Vulnerability Assessment that takes actual conditions into consideration.
If you have been involved with a project that includes blast loads, you have probably heard of “Balanced Design.” If the project had more than one blast consultant, you probably heard way more about Balanced Design than you ever wanted to hear. This is because there is no single approach to incorporating it into a project. So….the million dollar question is: What the heck is Balanced Design?
Balanced design is a concept commonly used in blast and earthquake engineering that refers to designing supporting elements to the ultimate strength of the supported elements.
The key is to create structural fuses (just like an electrical fuse) designed to be a point of safe failure that will limit damage from a larger than design blast (or earthquake) from cascading to larger and larger areas.
In earthquake engineering, a typical application of this concept is the “strong column/weak beam” concept required in high seismic zones. This requirement was instituted to avoid catastrophic failure by forcing the beam to fail before a column in case of a larger than design seismic load. While there would still be a failure, the result of the failure would be less extensivethan if the column failed.
From a blast perspective, balanced design can be applied to both structural and non-structural elements. There are several ways to achieve balanced design:
Balanced Design acknowledges that it is difficult to precisely predict the magnitude of an earthquake or the size of a blast, and it is therefore important to create a controlled failure mechanism to limit the extent of damage.
Stone Security Engineering is thrilled to present a great new tool for design teams and security personnel who work on DoD projects incorporating the requirements of the updated UFC 4-010-01 DoD Minimum Antiterrorism Standards for Buildings.
iStandoff is a free iPad App that has been designed to quickly and easily identify Conventional Construction standoff distances, per the UFC 4-010-01 DoD Minimum Antiterrorism Standards for Buildings, dated February 9, 2012.
As mentioned in the April edition of this Industry Briefing, the Conventional Construction standoff distances “now depend not only on the required level of protection, but also on the exterior envelope construction type, and structural function (load bearing vs. non-load bearing.”
In order to determine the project specific Conventional Construction two tables (Table B-1 and Table B-2) need to be cross-consulted. (The table shown in the application is a reproduction of Table B-1: Standoff Distances for New and Existing Buildings from the UFC document).
This Application automates the process of determining Conventional Construction standoff distances and provide the applicable distances with two taps of the screen.
Note that all wall types are not included in the tables in the UFC document. If your project has construction configurations not covered, Stone Security Engineering provides design services that will assist you in determining the requirements for your specific situation. Contact us at Info@StoneSecurityEngineering.com or at +1(646) 649-3169.
Available from the Apple Store
One area of changes in the New UFC 4-010-01, 9 February 2012, is in the design requirements for exterior windows and skylights. The updates are pretty exciting, from this blast engineer’s perspective, because they explicitly address some of the recurrent questions from design teams and owners, and clarify items that seemed to have differing interpretations, depending on who was doing the interpreting. Well done PDC!
Historically, exterior windows and their supports, have been one of the primary areas where application of the UFC 4-010-01 has added costs to projects, so any changes to window requirements should be of the utmost interests to design and construction teams, developers, and building owners.
Here are some of the changes that affect exterior windows:
Hopefully this helps in understanding how the updated UFC 4-010-01 will impact your projects. If you would like additional information or guidance, give us a call at (646) 649-3169, or send us an email at info@StoneSecurityEngineering.com.
As much as we would like to think of buildings as inviolable, it is a fact of life that they can – and do – collapse. In fact, a quick internet search shows the following collapses in the past six months:
Regardless of the cause (whether it be earthquake, explosion, high winds, snow overloads, or construction/design defects) the result is typically the same – a hazardous and confusing combination of steel, concrete, wood and other materials that needs to be searched to determine if there are any victims to be rescued.
An important aspect of responding to collapses is understanding the hazards of the debris pile and the remaining portions of the damaged building. While there are many, many, considerations that must be carefully evaluated, this briefing focuses on just two:
Remaining Potential Energy. Gravity works – and can be one of the main enemies of a safe and successful search and rescue operation. The amount of potential energy in a structure, a portion of a structure or a hanging hazard, is based on how much weight remains and the height at which the weight is suspended. For instance, a broken façade tile on the side of a damaged building has much more potential energy if it is located at the 10th floor of a building than if it is located at the first floor of the building. This potential energy translates to damage (or injury) that can occur when the object falls and the potential energy is released.
Stability. In order for partially collapsed buildings and/or overhead falling hazards to pose a significant risk, they must have an element of instability – i.e. there has to be a chance that it will fall or move from its current location.
Stability is affected by the remaining capacity of the connections (for instance, the remaining capacity of the connection of the façade tile to the building wall shown in the picture above is almost non-existent), and the strength and redundancy of the remaining load path (i.e. the path of supporting elements that allow the weight of the structure to flow down to the ground).
Of the two photos below, the one on the right – that at first glance would appear to be hazardous –is, in fact, fairly stable since it is now supported by another building. On the other hand, the building in the photo on the left, which has an apparently similar level of damage, is very unstable as there is no new load path to support the weight of the building.
The above are only two of many hazard assessment considerations. Look for additional information on collapsed building assessments in our future Industry Briefings.
Information contained in this article is based, in part, on the USACE/FEMA Structures Specialist- II course.
Historically, the most common method for constructing a new building or building improvements was what is known as Design-Bid-Build. In this approach, the owner hires a design team to create a detailed set of drawings and specifications which completely describes what is to be constructed. The owner then puts the project out to bid for construction, receiving and evaluating proposals from construction contractors. Finally – once the owner has gone through the proposals, selected a contractor, and negotiated a contract – the construction can begin. In many cases, the overall time from identification of need to completion of construction can be quite lengthy, especially for public and quasi-public agencies which have many contracting regulations that extend the bid and bid review process.
An alternative to this is the Design-Build approach. The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) defines Design-Build as “a method of project delivery in which one entity – the design-build team - works under a single contract with the project owner to provide design and construction services.” There are many varieties of design-build; from an RFP that basically says “I want a wall” to a much more rigorous approach (such as is often used by the US Government) where a set of drawings and performance specifications are developed to between 10% and 35% completion. In between these two extremes is the “this is generally what I want” approach, which provides a rough sketch of what is wanted with a list of the essential design requirements.
When talking about security improvement projects such as blast hardening, anti-ram barriers, forced entry/ballistic resistant elements, entry control points, etc; Design-Build can be the best approach to rapid, cost effective implementation.
Less Time. This can’t be emphasized enough, the design-build approach will reduce the amount of time from identification of a security need to implemented protections – by orders of magnitude. There are numerous reasons for this, which include:
Less Cost. By combining the design and construction responsibilities into one entity (the design-builder), the design process becomes more efficient. This happens because
The designers in a design-bid-build scenario do not have control over who the contractor will be, what resources or specialties the contractor will have, or how the final construction phasing will take place and they can therefore not tailor the design to the actual circumstances as much as a design-builder.
Less Risk to Owner. By having a single point of responsibility, the design-build approach reduces the risk of cost and schedule overruns and decreases the possibility of finger pointing between the contractor and the designer, which can happen in Design-Bid-Build projects when there are conflicts or omissions in the drawings.
While no project is perfect, and there will always be bumps in the road when it comes to construction projects, the Design-Build approach can lessen the effects of these and will provide implemented protection measures in a more timely and cost effective manner.
Stone Security Engineering is pleased to announce publication of a field reference guide for vertical shoring, lateral shoring, and rapid strengthening and/or repair of damaged building components. This is an exciting project that provides detailed information for first responders and the engineers that support them. The intended audiences of the guide include:
The guide refines and expands on the information provided in the existing US&R Structures Specialist Field Operations Guide (FOG) and includes a primer on what it means to stabilize a building in a post-disaster environment.
It also includes detailed information on the current FEMA developed built-in-place shoring systems, newly designed and tested built-in-place shoring systems, the results of the most recent testing of built-in-place shoring systems, and a system by system discussion of the relevant characteristics of Manufactured Shoring and Repair and Strengthening techniques that may be able to be adapted to rescue operations.
This document was produced under contract from the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, Infrastructure Protection and Disaster Management Division through URS Corporation. The authors included our own Hollice Stone, Dr Michael Barker, David Hammond, and John O’Connell. All the authors have spent years in the FEMA and US Army Corps of Engineers Urban Search and Rescue programs.
Here is the link to review and download the document: http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/st/st-120108-final-shoring-guidebook.pdf
Stone Security Engineering authored a new GSA blast standard that was approved and released in August 2011: GSA Facility Security Requirements for Explosive Devices Applicable to Facility Security Levels III and IV. This document provides detailed criteria for implementing the blast and progressive collapse requirements of the ISC 2010 giving specific design and performance requirements for GSA facilities required to meet an FSL III or IV.
In general terms, the security measures implemented for both FSL III and FSL IV require a certain level of blast and progressive collapse hardening of the facility. In an FSL III facility, these security measures are, for the most part, prescriptive including while an FSL IV facility will need to meet more performance based requirements.
The document also provides updated guidance on balanced design for window systems, details of how to implement the modified standoff distance requirements in the 2010 ISC Physical Security Criteria (major change from the 2004 ISC Security Design Criteria), and detailed technical information to implement blast resistant design for GSA Level III and Level IV buildings.
This document is now being implemented on GSA and GSA related projects and it is important for project teams working and bidding on government work to understand the requirements.
The DoD has released a new UFC 4-010-01, dated February 9, 2012. Whenever there is a new version of this UFC, the industry experiences growing pains as they become familiar with the changes and nuances in the new document, and there are quite a few changes in this new version. However, we see wanted to highlight two updates as being the ones that will have the most far-reaching effects or will cause/remove the most confusion in this time of transition between versions. These are:
The standards in the UFC 4-010-01 are applicable to all DoD components, all DoD inhabited buildings, billeting, and high occupancy family housing, and all DoD expeditionary structures. The updated document includes needed clarification on the applicability of these standards. For example:
In the previous version of the UFC 4-010-01, standoff distances depended exclusively of the required level of protection. This new version introduces additional variables into the determination Conventional Construction standoff distances, which are based on blast calculations. These now depend not only on the required level of protection, but also on the exterior envelope construction type, and structural function (load bearing vs. non-load bearing). Therefore, in order to identify if air-blast design of the building is required, the design team needs to consider the specific type of construction as referenced in UFC 4-010-01 Table B-2 (including the limitations in Table 2-3) in order to identify the applicable Conventional Construction Standoff. For preliminary information, Stone Security Engineering has developed a spreadsheet that will help design teams identify the conventional construction standoff distances for their particular situations. This spreadsheet can be downloaded from the Resources Section.
Allowable minimum standoff distances have also changed to a minimum of 18 feet to the controlled perimeter or parking and roadways without a controlled perimeter, and 12 feet to parking and roadways within the controlled perimeter and trash containers. This new minimum standoff distances are substantially smaller and will have important implications in the design of buildings to support air-blast loads.
Stay tuned to our next briefing for a summary of other important updates included in this new UFC.