Doug Bedell — December 14, 2007, 10:17 am

Designing Buildings to Thwart Attacks

Along with barriers comes a structure designed, or retrofitted, to resist a terrorist attack – architectural precautions are an important priority when they can be achieved.

Tips on what to include, or avoid, in building design are provided by Eve Hinman, PE, president of Hinman Consulting Engineers in San Francisco, in a SecurityInfoWatch interview. She is “one of the first structural engineers to focus on terrorist bombings.”

In evaluating the risk of attack on a building, Hinman’s firm considers its attractiveness as a target, its asset value (chaos to be reaped), and its vulnerability.

“Vulnerability,” Hinman explains, “deals with the building system itself: the perimeter, the landscape architecture, the exterior envelope, the interior layout. How close can a bomb get to that building? How deep could a hand-carried weapon get into the building? What about high-speed vehicles?”

Building owners can consider a number of approaches to retrofitting existing high-rise buildings to avoid progressive collapse. And purchasers of new buildings should beard their architects on one factor especially: What are you putting over the loading dock?

Loading docks have longer spans to accommodate trucks. Often, Hinman says, architects put “special spaces” above them, like a VIP’s office, an auditorium or, believe it or not, a child care center.

Sadly enough, there are new, highly appropriate architectural engineering concerns in an era of precautions against terrorism.

No Comments »

RSS feed for Comments on this post. TrackBack URI.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

Plain text comments only.