In today’s volatile political environment, the threat of bombs, fires and loss of life are key issues for the construction industry. No longer is a building’s longevity based on its aesthetic and normal life expectancy but how well it will perform under extreme circumstances. The challenge is finding solutions and developing products to improve structural strength, minimize collateral damage and reduce the opportunity for loss of life in preparation for a catastrophic event.
When the blueprints for many new or renovated building are first drawn up, safety should take precedence over every other detail. Any and every situation must be considered. Attacks, such as those that occurred in Libya this month, can be unexpected and most devastating.
After the federal building bombing in Oklahoma City, new government building standards were enacted with the intent of reducing potential hazards from such attacks. In order to meet the criteria established by the General Services Administration and the Interagency Security Committee, our [StonePanels] product underwent and successfully passed full-scale blast testing. After the tests, it was evident that there was no cracking, chipping or damage of any kind to either the limestone or granite blast resistant panels used.
[StonePanels] also underwent a full-scale, multi-story fire evaluation. The temperature inside a building was set to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, while the outside reached temperatures over 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of our product’s aluminum honeycomb backing hit a temperature of 715 degrees Fahrenheit. While the stone of our panels saw some cracking and charring, the reinforcing aluminum honeycomb backing allowed the entire assembly to resist vertical spreading of the fire.
Buildings in the U.S. as well as all over the world must anticipate and prepare for various dangers and security threats. One way of doing so is to select products designed to withstand blasts in addition to being fire resistant. It is our sincere hope that future attacks and violence will be mitigated or stopped by using building materials proven to be effective in extreme circumstances.