Risk Management

Air Tightness Testing

Protecting Building Personnel from Toxic Releases:


Air Tightness Testing Services

The vulnerability of operations personnel to toxic releases is an integral component of understanding the potential risk to a petrochemical facility. Current practice has well- established methods for determining the probability of failures, which may cause these toxic releases, how these releases disperse in the atmosphere under given environmental conditions, and the vulnerability of operations personnel to given concentrations of toxic chemicals. Facilities struggle with the question of how well their building will perform in preventing contaminated air from infiltrating. BakerRisk can help clients understand how to predict the indoor concentrations that affect the operations personnel based on the predicted concentration exterior of the building. We do this by characterizing the Air Tightness of your buildings and helping you determine how to improve your building’s ability to protect personnel.

SafeSite3G® predicts dispersion in 3D and can calculate the concentration profile of a toxic or flammable gas at the exterior of a building

Blower Door Testing

A Blower Door Test uses a variable speed blower fan and pressure sensing equipment to characterize a building’s air leakage rate as a function of the pressure difference. These measured parameters allow us to determine how much contaminated outdoor air will infiltrate into the occupied indoor air space under a given dispersion condition. BakerRisk follows the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) “Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage Rate by Fan Pressurization” (ASTM E779-99) when performing these tests.

A Blower Door Test set-up in a standard personnel door.

Tracer Gas Testing

A Tracer Gas Test measures the non-hazardous concentration decay of a tracer gas that is released in the occupied indoor space of a building. BakerRisk uses carbon dioxide gas, an atmospheric gas naturally produced by human respiration that is harmless at the test concentrations. This concentration decay can be used to determine the air-change rate for the specific time and condition under which the test was done. This test is used to validate or appropriately adjust the results of the blower door test.

Infrared Thermography

BakerRisk can use our infrared camera to inspect the envelope of your buildings and pinpoint the leakage areas causing excessive air infiltration. The infrared inspection of the building envelope will locate and document abnormal patterns of infrared radiation from the building envelope (exceptions) that could be potential air leakage spots. The purpose of this inspection is not to identify latent moisture (water leaks) within building materials, but BakerRisk will convey any obvious findings of latent moisture as a courtesy. BakerRisk will determine which of these exceptions is likely convective, or caused by cracks or holes in the building envelope and recommend conceptual upgrades to mitigate these problem areas.

An example of infrared image and visual image pair showing the leakage areas around the frame of a personnel door

An example of infrared image of a conduit penetration through the wall of a blast resistant modular building

Mitigation Services

Several options are available when a critical building is not preventing infiltration of toxic and flammable vapors. Upgrading the building envelope, building replacement, and building pressurization systems are a few options. Facilities need to understand the cost associated with the various options in order to make effective decisions. BakerRisk offers consulting services for various types of mitigation including building envelope upgrade design, replacement building specification writing, and evaluation of new or existing building pressurization systems. After upgrades are implemented BakerRisk can perform the Blower Door and Tracer Gas Tests and document the results with Infrared Thermography for post-mitigation comparison with the initial baseline testing.