2021 Complete Guide To Blast-Resistant Buildings

BMarko Structures ™, as the market pioneer in blast-resistant modular buildings, is proud to share the wealth of knowledge we’ve accumulated since becoming one of the industry’s first manufacturers of blast-resistant buildings. Before contacting us for a quote on your blast-resistant module, we’ve put together The 2021 Complete Guide to Blast Resistant Buildings so you can know as almost as much as we do.

 (678) 666-3688

Fill Out Our Contact Form Below To Get Started!

2021 Complete Guide To Blast-Resistant Buildings

blast-resistant building

BMarko Structures ™, as the market pioneer in blast-resistant modular buildings, is proud to share the wealth of knowledge we’ve accumulated since becoming one of the industry’s first manufacturers of blast-resistant buildings. Before contacting us for a quote on your blast-resistant module, we’ve put together The 2021 Complete Guide to Blast Resistant Buildings so you can know as almost as much as we do.

 (678) 666-3688


Fill Out Our Contact Form Below To Get Started!

What Is A Blast-Resistant Building?



A portable, explosion-proof building is just as strong and secure as a conventional blast-resistant building. However, modules are prefabricated in a factory and are therefore ready for immediate assembly upon delivery — unlike a traditional building which can take several months or years to construct. Companies and government agencies can expect blast-resistant modules to be built and arrive at their worksite quickly and ready for deployment in up to half the time it takes to build a conventional structure.

Blast-resistant buildings sometimes referred to as blast-resistant modules, blast-resistant units, or simply as a BRB or BRM, resemble the design and build of industrial shipping containers, but they are constructed with greater strength and are usually a larger size. Portable blast-resistant buildings feature thick steel exteriors to guard against bullets and impact and a sturdy steel frame that can stand up to explosions or seismic activity. Manufacturers build blast-resistant containers to meet industry standards and satisfy building codes.

blast resistant portable buildings
explosion proof portable building

Entities such as oil refineries, chemical plants and military facilities sometimes require blast-resistant modular buildings to keep employees and equipment safe in hazardous environments. Blast-resistant modules are explosion-proof portable buildings designed to withstand blast loads and be deployed quickly and easily.

To meet the demand for transportable and durable blast containers, some modular construction companies offer blast-resistant modules for sale. These modules are specially engineered to survive explosions and dangerous weather events, and they are configured to meet a customer’s needs.

You can expect the following features with a modular steel structure:

  • Non-combustible and fireproof steel walls, frames and studs
  • Customized floor plan to serve a particular purpose
  • Option to equip the structure with HVAC and insulation for a comfortable climate-controlled space
  • Option to install blast-tested windows and doors

Typically, modular buildings are 8 or 16 feet wide and come in a variety of lengths. You can configure modules however you need to. You can use them as single-story units or stack them side-by-side or vertically to create multi-module buildings.

What is”Blast-Proof”?



We use the word “blast-resistant” rather than “blast-proof” at BMarko. Below, we’ll describe those terms and discuss the factors that go into blast resistance, such as the layout of the building, its material, its proximity to the blast wave, and the blast’s length.

The term “proof” connotes that something is completely immune to it. There is no such thing as a blast-proof structure. There’s a good chance that if you put more weight on a building than it’s built to handle, it’ll collapse.

The term “resistant” refers to an object’s ability to withstand any form of hazardous penetration. Blasts or fires are the threat in our situation, but you might also consider items that are water-resistant, slip-resistant, heat-resistant, or puncture-resistant.

Since there are many variables at play when determining the amount of damage caused by an explosion, blast-resistance has a lot of complexity to it.


blast proof buildings

Factors Of How Blast-Resistant A Building Is



The Building's Structure

We’ll start with the structure because the structural engineering of a blast-resistant structure is likely the most important factor in safety.

All blast-resistant responses, whether high, medium, or low, are considered blast-resistant, but not all are created equal. None of them, as mentioned previously, will be considered “blast-proof.”

Blast-resistant building manufacturers may have various reasons for their construction approach, or why they design to a particular blast response standard. Still, it’s important to consider if structural integrity is a top priority for them, or whether they only reach the bare minimum to get their building rated.

What Its Made From

The construction material goes hand in hand with the structural engineering of a structure. Today’s blast-resistant construction designers learned from the past. Onsite offices in temporary trailers were totally demolished in some of the early blast events that formed the industry, while their steel shipping container counterparts within the blast zone remained standing. Despite the fact that today’s structures are much more complex and defensive, shipping containers served as the inspiration for a blast-resistant building concept. Comprehensive engineering tactics were used to develop a design that is the industry’s best in terms of blast resistance.

Blast-resistant construction uses a variety of structural structures and materials. There are permanent brick and mortar blast shelters; temporary blast structures, including tents, which are often referred to as air shields; and modular buildings constructed of reinforced metals that are either flexible for temporary use or anchored for permanent use.

While several materials can be used in the construction, none of them are blast-proof, and their blast-resistance levels differ.

Distance From Blast Wave

As one would expect, the greater the distance between you and an explosion, the less of a shock wave you will experience. A building’s proximity to the explosion, like its construction, affects the amount of damage it sustains after a blast. The building’s blast resistance should be higher the closer it is to the blast wave.

Even if it is theoretically blast-resistant, a high-response blast-resistant building situated in a hazardous process area will be extremely dangerous in the event of an explosion. In the same location, a low-response building can sustain little to no damage.

Both structures may be immune to blast damage, but are they truly blast-proof? Not exactly, but we can still do our best to prepare for the hazards we are aware of.

How Long The Blast Lasts

If the proximity of a building to a threat and the toughness of the structure are important factors in blast resistance, it stands to reason that the length of the blast, or how long it lasts, is also important. When preparing for protection, there are a few details to remember.

Manufacturers of blast-resistant structures typically use a combination of pounds per square inch (psi) and the time it takes for the energy of a blast to be applied, calculated in milliseconds (msec). Regrettably, terminology varies greatly from one producer to the next.

It’s critical to comprehend these measurements and determine if the explanation you’re looking at communicates a length or an energy measurement. It’s crucial to know how much of a hazard a building can handle in a given amount of time. When it comes to the amount of time a building can withstand its psi value, be wary of manufacturers who fail to provide you with specific facts. It’s likely that they’re unaware of this distinction.

Re-Visiting the “Blast-Proof” Distinction



When it’s all laid out for you, it’s easy to see why “blast-resistant” or “explosion-resistant” are the preferred words. Simply put, you should be wary of manufacturers who stand by the “blast-proof” or “explosion-proof” phrases because there’s no such thing. We all kow just how powerful explosions can be and a building can fail if the load it is built to withstand is exceeded.

What Are Portable Blast-Resistant Building Applications?



blast-resistant building

Blast-resistant modules are extremely versatile and can be utilized in a vast range of applications and conditions. They make excellent safety structures for use in oil refinery renovation projects or remote military bases. You’ll find blast resistant buildings being used at:

  • Petrochemical Facilities
  • Chemical plants
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Power plants
  • Oil refineries
  • Construction sites
  • Military facilities
  • Natural disaster areas

    Within these sites, blast-resistant units may be used as:

    A strong steel module can provide a solution wherever you need a reliable shelter to protect you, employees and tools from hazards.

    Are There Government Regulations For Blast-Resistant Building?



    There are no official regulations that cover explosion proof portable buildings. There are some recommended practices laid out by the American Petroleum Institute that cover permanent and portable structures that are located within blast zones. These are known as API RP 752 and 753. They ensure that occupied buildings protect against potential hazards by recommending specific blast response ratings to protect occupants from potential hazards in hazard zones.

    As a safety authority in blast resistance, BMarko Structures recommends using only blast-resistant buildings with a low or medium response rating (meaning low- to medium- damage after a blast event). While still considered “blast resistant,” a building with a high response rating could sustain structural damage during a blast event and may even collapse due to environmental conditions.

    blast resistant shelters

    What Is Response Level?



    Any reaction that is worse than medium is almost always associated with injuries and fatalities. Assuming you also want to use the structure to house vital control systems and tools in an oil or chemical plant, in the event of a high-response situation, injuries are only one of the issues you’ll have to deal with.

    blast resistant module

    The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) developed blast response levels to estimate the amount of repair resources that would need to be committed to a building after an explosion. Their details include the following:

    • LOW RESPONSE — Localized building and partial damage; the structure can be used, but repairs are needed to restore structural integrity; and the overall cost of repairs is moderate.
    • MEDIUM RESPONSE — Significant building damage causing the structure to be unusable until it is repaired. The overall cost of repairs is generally high.
    • HIGH RESPONSE — The structure of the building has deteriorated so much that the building could collapse due to environmental conditions. The total cost of repairs reaches or exceeds the building’s replacement cost.

    The easiest way to think about this is by replacing the word “response” for “damage” and it will help you picture how bad the explosion is.

    What Are the Benefits of Blast-Resistant Modular Buildings?

    Blast-resistant modules are used as time- and cost-saving alternatives to traditional buildings. Any entity that needs to work or spend time in a hazardous region needs a safe and reliable shelter. An all-steel blast-resistant module fulfills this need superbly. Here are the main benefits of utilizing a blast-resistant modular building:


    Protects Against Forced Entry

    Blast-resistant containers are designed to protect against bullets and force. Military personnel can keep their base safe from invaders with an impenetrable and portable module, whether they’re in a remote location or near a populated area.

    Protect Employees

    Explosive materials emit a large amount of energy in the form of heat and shock waves in a short amount of time. The first wave usually destroys windows while the second blast places pressure on the structure itself. The first defense against an explosion or other hazardous event is a building’s exterior. A tough, fireproof steel exterior guards against projectile objects and maintains structural integrity. As a result, a blast-resistant structure can be used to protect workers and military personnel from fires, smoke, explosions, dangerous vapors, wind, debris, earthquakes, forced entry and other natural or manmade hazards.

    Protect Tools and Equipment

    Modules can be used as explosion-proof buildings or storage containers to protect valuable tools and equipment from damage. They might be positioned as stand-alone containers or as part of a multi-unit structure so that employees have easy and safe access to protected equipment.


    Fast Deployment

    Unlike traditional buildings that can take years to construct, a module is manufactured in an assembly line. Since modules are created in factories, production never has to stop or be affected by the weather. As a result, blast-resistant modules or BRM buildings are produced fast and quickly assembled on-site. The speedy deployment also translates to lower labor costs.



    Blast-resistant or BRM containers can be engineered to meet a company’s needs and may feature the same amenities as traditional buildings, such as kitchens, bathrooms and offices. This engineering provides all the flexibility and convenience companies could hope for in a temporary or permanent structure.


    Modular units are easy to transport and relocate. Their high portability makes them ideal solutions for electrical and construction projects or remote locations. Rather than tearing down a building and rebuilding a shelter at a new site, modular structures allow you to keep what you already invested in wherever you need to go.



    Most companies and teams, regardless of the industry, value their space. Modular units feature compact designs to increase energy efficiency and reduce the amount of ground space they use — without sacrificing quality or blast resistance. Units can be placed directly side by side or vertically to conserve space in a single area or assembled wherever they are conveniently reached to increase productivity for services.



    Blast-resistant structures save lives. Therefore, you want something that is manufactured consistently and with the highest-quality materials available. Modular construction is a precise process that takes place in a climate-controlled environment. It involves less risk of human error than if you hired laborers to build a structure from the ground up, and components are carefully monitored and inspected for quality before they leave the factory.

    Read more benefits here!

    How Much Do Blast-Resistant Buildings Cost?



    If you’ve done some online research, you’ll know that finding knowledge about the true cost of a blast-resistant structure is virtually impossible. Let’s look at the factors that influence the cost of blast-resistant structures.

    Durability: How Long Will It Be Needed?

    The amount of time a building will be in operation decides whether it is owned or rented, which has the greatest impact on the cost.


    Project Characteristics

    Many people believe that all blast-resistant structures are the same, but in fact, a blast-resistant structure can be designed to look and work like almost any other structure. (Laboratories and clean rooms, eHouses or Control rooms, employee locker rooms or shower rooms, tool storage, workshops, etc.) The cost will be influenced by the structure’s components. At BMarko Structures all of our BRBs are built completely custom to your specifications so the price will vary depending on your application and finishing choices.


    Size of Building

    Since custom modular buildings come in various sizes, the size of the building has an impact on the raw materials used and, as a result, the cost. Another thing to consider when it comes to scale is how much the building’s width and height influence transportation costs. If the building is wide enough to constitute as an “oversized load” the transportation cost will reflect that.

    Will MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) be needed?

    All interior components must be durable enough to avoid being projectiles in the event of a disaster. (During blast events, projectiles are the most common cause of injury and death.) As compared to those used in buildings where blast resistance is not a factor, this means that all interior components, such as electrical connections, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, furniture, and so on, will affect the cost.

    The cost of a building is also affected by the electrical finish. Surface-mounted electrical is used in some blast-resistant structures, where all of the conduits are visible on the finished walls. While the appearance is more modern, it is easier to use and less costly.


    Pressurization and Gas Detection

    If the building’s onsite location is near hazardous elements, it will necessitate the use of pressurization and gas detection. When you incorporate gas detection, other aspects of the building can be impacted as well. For example, you must also remember if all of the doors are sealed, as each door may be an entry point for toxins. Adding pressurization necessitates the addition of fresh air stacks, which will increase the project’s complexity and, as a result, the engineering and building cost.

    Location: How Close Is It To Perils

    Since places on a single site have differing amounts of PSI during a blast case, the location of a building on the job site matters. The exposure time is also taken into account, and is calculated in milliseconds. Modules are available in a variety of “response levels” which are classified for the BRB’s particular PSI and period of exposure ratings.

    ada requirement icon

    ADA Requirements

    You should also think about whether the building’s interior space needs to be ADA compliant. For people with disabilities, this means larger door frames, stairs, probably lower counters or workspaces, and other considerations.

    When calculating a bid for a blast-resistant structure, special accessibility for ADA compliance is also taken into account.

    door icon

    Doors and Windows

    Any part of a blast-resistant structure must be thoroughly tested. The windows and doors of a blast-resistant building are the most vulnerable. (These substances are not harmful.) They simply necessitate cautious engineering.)

    Each portion must also be blast-tested as part of the vetting process. It would be pointless to install windows in a blast-resistant structure without first determining whether or not they could withstand a blast. As a result, the windows must be blast tested, and when it comes to doors, the door itself, as well as the latches and hardware, must be tested.

    State Specific Regulations and Third-Party Inspections

    The authority in charge of the site where your building will be located will have its own set of specifications. The body having power, or AHJ, could be OSHA, or it could be a local city or state government.  These standards will be considered at the start of the planning phase, and there will be costs associated with implementation and any third-party analysis that is needed.  Addition of fire sprinklers or alarms, special types of plumbing fixtures or electrical finish, equipment to enhance air quality or control emissions, to name a few AHJ specifications.


    Change Orders

    It’s important to ensure that when calculating the cost of a blast-resistant structure, you’re confident in the final design and have considered all requirements. When a company gives you an estimate about how long it will take to engineer and design the house, they make a special effort to ensure that it meets all of your specifications and can be completed on time and on budget. Any changes after the fact will not only result in changes to raw materials and construction costs but also additional engineering costs.

    Blast resistant bathroom

    Why BMarko Structures For Your Next Blast-Resistant Building?



    When it comes to selecting a blast-resistant module, you want to prioritize quality and work with a company you can trust. At BMarko Structures, we partner with our clients from the beginning of the process to ensure we manufacture blast-proof buildings to meet their specifications. Our superior attention to detail and dedication to customer satisfaction set us apart from competitors. Plus, we have the experience, knowledge, materials and equipment to construct your blast-resistant module for your next big project on time. If you need a steel module manufacturer you know will deliver, contact BMarko Structures today to request information.


    Looking for something else?

    Motor control centers are completely custom-built, and nearly all of the design features are up to you. If you’d like to add or modify something that you don’t see here, chances are, we can probably do it. Give us a call at (678) 666-3688 to learn more.  

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    BMarko Structures, LLC

    535 Hurricane Shoals Ct Suite 200

    Dacula, GA 30019

    Contact Info

    (678) 666-3688

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