Project Synopsis

Perform a chemical process building ventilation evaluation (gap analysis) relative to compliance with all applicable codes.

Project Summary

VENTILATION EVALUATION FOR A CHEMICAL PRODUCTION BUILDING

Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client, a leading manufacturer of Pharma and Biotech products, as well as specialty chemicals, to evaluate and assess current ventilation measures for a building housing a chemical manufacturing process.  The facility is currently being considered by the client for various upgrades, including mechanical ventilation upgrades and modifications.

The first step in the evaluation process was a site visit to the manufacturing facility.  PROCESS conducted a detailed walk-down of the manufacturing facility, with a review of each floor contained within the building.  During the walk-down, relevant pictures were taken, information such as process flow diagrams and process layout drawings were gathered, and appropriate operations managers and plant operators were interviewed in order to gain insight into plant operations and daily routines.

Once information and drawings had been gathered, PROCESS assembled the data into an Evaluation Basis that summarized all of the “inputs” that would be used as a basis for the evaluation.  The Evaluation Basis was shared with the client so that its project team could review, comment, and accept the input data and basis of the evaluation process.  In this manner, both PROCESS and the client had a firm and shared understanding of the foundation for the ventilation evaluation of the manufacturing facility.

PROCESS' technical evaluation of operations relative to the mechanical ventilation focused on the requirements specified in the International Building Code (IBC), International Fire Code (IFC), and International Mechanical Code (IMC).  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 704 ratings were also considered.

The chemical contaminants of concern within the building were:

  • Chlorine (Cl2) - a health hazard (corrosive, and highly toxic) and a physical hazard (oxidizing gas) with an NFPA rating of 4
  • Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) - a health hazard (corrosive and toxic) with an NFPA rating of 3
  • Proprietary halogenated organic powder - a health hazard (corrosive and toxic) and a physical hazard (oxidizer). 

Ventilation to the building is currently provided through a series of mechanical ventilation and mechanical exhaust systems, which include: various unit operations that draw air from within the building (baghouses, filters, fluid-bed dryer, and several scrubbers) and from two window fans on the 3rd floor drawing air from within the building environment.

PROCESS' evaluation revealed that the current overall flow of air through the building is sufficient per the appropriate codes.  Also, point source collection and treatment of chlorine emissions were being provided as required.  However, there are additional code requirements, identified by PROCESS, that need to be considered in meeting the overall ventilation requirements of the building.  These requirements are based on the overriding principle of the ventilation system to capture and remove, if necessary, hazardous contaminants, before discharge to safe locations.

PROCESS composed a summary report tabulating the steps required for the building to be in full compliance with the appropriate codes.  PROCESS also provided full documentation of the specific codes that required accommodation.  A letter report was submitted to the client and follow-up questions were address via phone teleconference.

Industry Type

  • Pharmaceutical and Specialty Chemical Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Industrial process building ventilation evaluation
  • Industrial process ventilation compliance analysis

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