Blast Resistant Metal Building Advantages

When designing for a Blast Resistant Building, using a Pre-Engineered Metal Building is a relatively new idea. Traditionally if the client wanted a structure to be blast resistant, they would spec with a concrete structure or a blast resistant modular building. While these methods of construction are perfectly suitable, they can be cumbersome and have limitations inside of a petrochemical facility.

In most cases, the PEMB blast model fits a niche area in industrial facilities just outside of the immediate process zone. Good examples would be Warehouse Buildings, Control Room Buildings, Admin Buildings, MCC Buildings, Maintenance Buildings, etc. Our target zone for construction is between the 0-5 psi blast contours.

1.) PEMB 1/2 the Cost
2.) Custom Sizes
3.) Ease of Future Modifications
4.) Aesthetically Versatile
5.) Quick Construction
6.) Global Fabrication Capabilities

Blast Resistant PEMB 1/2 The Cost:

  • The Blast Resistant PEMB is the best priced option when the blast loads are between 0-5 psi. PEMB are typically 30% - 50% less expensive than modular buildings. When compared to concrete construction, the PEMB option can be more than 50% less in construction cost.
  • Most modular building units are a "one size fits all" solution. You get a building that is rated to a specific blast pressure, often higher than what is required at the building location. This means your are overpaying for additional blast materials and strengthening which may not be necessary. Another difficulty with modular buildings are the lack of customization options. Buildings are designed in pre-designated widths, lengths and heights, not allowing for custom sizes to be chosen by the client. Again they are more of a "one size fits all" method of construction.
  • Concrete buildings are very efficient when the blast criteria is high. For example, a building needed right next to a process unit might require a 10 psi blast rating, however this form of construction becomes very cumbersome when blast load criteria falls in this 0-5 psi range. Material costs for concrete can fluctuate based on local demand and supply can be limited. Working with large precast panels or tilt wall panels, can be cumbersome on site requiring many laborers to be active within the refinery confines. In most facilities space can be limited and this presents major site challenges. Concrete buildings are typically double the cost of a Blast Resistant PEMB.


  • Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings are very easy to modify. For example, the process area grows and suddenly the operator finds the structure they built 5 years ago now falls into a new, higher blast contour. In this scenario, a metal building could easily be retrofitted and upgraded to meet the new blast load criteria.
  • In the same scenario, a modular building may have to be torn down and replaced as future modifications are not easily achieved.
  • A concrete building may have to be torn down and replaced as future modifications are not easily achieved.


  • PEMB is very customizable, any width, any length, virtually any height or ridge orientation. Exteriors of PEMB can be fitted with Stone, Stucco, EIFS, Hardie Board, Vinyl Siding, etc. Much like you would see in a commercial application.
  • Modular building units fall into the "one size fits all" approach, with pre-set dimensions and no options for dressing up the exterior.
  • Concrete buildings offer a little more flexibility with regard to ascetics, but are still quite limited with options for the client.

Aaron Westover

VP Energy Division

Call (713) 628-6209 for a Complimentary Project Analysis

Past Events


Photo Gallery