It is the prime responsibility of companies that manufacture and supply chemicals to provide safe storage buildings for their chemicals to safeguard the safety and health of the workers, as well as the public and the environment.
Flammable liquids, chemicals and hazardous waste are safely and securely stored in chemical storage buildings which feature a leak-tight sump area at the bottom to prevent leakage and contamination on the surrounding storage area. The size of the storage building is determined by the volume capacity of chemicals that are normally stored, such that most of the building structures are customized to accommodate any type of container or even equipment.
Chemical companies are required by law to store all Class 1 flammable and combustible liquids in drums in an outside location in a chemical storage building to safely secure from leakage and contamination. Class 1 flammable and combustible liquids are categorized into: Class 1A – those liquids that have flash points below 22.8 degrees Centigrade and boiling points below 37.8 degrees Centigrade; and Class 1B – those liquids that have flash points below 22.8 degrees Centigrade and boiling points at or above 37.8 degrees Centigrade.
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Since the Factory Mutual System Approval label and the FB Approved fire rated wall and roof design are standard basis for storage buildings, almost all chemical storage buildings must be fire-rated designed and approved. Fire ratings upgrade mean the time duration in which a structure can withstand the damage of fire, therefore, fire-rated storage buildings are constructed following these criteria: standard buildings must pass the 2-hour and 4-hour fire ratings upgrade, walls must pass the 2-hour and 4-hour fire ratings upgrade, and roofs must pass the 1.5-hour and 3-hour fire ratings upgrade. To meet with the standard requirements, all fire-rated buildings must be equipped with hydraulic operated self-closing, fire-rated doors and fire damper protected vents.
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The kind of material used for constructing a chemical storage building is galvanized steel; however, the gauges used will depend on the storage capacity, such as a 16 gauge galvanized steel is used or a 12 drum capacity, while larger buildings are constructed of a 12 gauge galvanized steel. The material in the construction of a standard sump, which refers to the bottom part of the storage building which functions as reservoir, is made of heavy gauge steel with leak tight seams, while the interior of the sump is coated with corrosion resistant material, a high-density polyethylene liner. If the building is designed to store four 55-gallon drums, the sump can only contain 55 gallons, this, therefore, points to the standard capacity of the sump, which must be at least 25% of the liquid storage capacity of the building.
A change in temperature can affect the storage of the chemicals, such that if you are storing a liquid that may freeze and, in the process, the chemicals may expand and cause its container to burst, an explosion proof heater must be used during the cold seasons; and, in the same manner, if you’re storing a liquid that has a low flash point and the weather conditions allow for a high internal air temperature, an explosion proof air conditioning unit must be installed.