Rendering a large storage facility for goods like cocoa, coffee and metals suitable for storing packaged hazardous materials is no easy task. ProDelta, a logistics and industrial property development and management company, called on the expertise of Riskonet to make sure it was done right.
“This kind of transition is not without risk,” says Ton Verhoeven, Environmental and Safety Consultant at ProDelta. With a portfolio of more than 600,000 m², ProDelta is a major player in the logistics and industrial property sector. It is the largest management and investment company in the Netherlands in the rental of storage facilities for hazardous materials.
Until recently, ProDelta rented its Commodity Park/ADR Park Rotterdam for the storage of soft (cocoa, coffee) and hard (metals) commodities. Motivated by developments in the market, especially with regard to aluminium, ProDelta decided to change course. Management also decided to render the complex suitable in phases for as broad a range of ADR (hazardous substances) goods as possible.
Guaranteeing safety requires a significant amount of work. Verhoeven explains, “To install the fire protection system, basic assumptions had to first be determined, which were then formulated in a baseline assumption document for the extinguishing system and a schedule of requirements for the fire alarm and smoke control systems. After being assessed by inspectors, these documents were submitted to the competent authority for environmental affairs. The entire process was a lengthy and complex one and required additional external expertise.”
The decision to work with Riskonet was an easy one for ProDelta to make. “We have considerable knowledge, but the nature and size of the transition required collaboration with experts. We had already worked with Riskonet in the past for such matters as formulating specifications for extinguishing systems, supporting the implementation of extinguishing systems and assessing the technical condition of existing fire protection systems.”
“This job involved a few specific challenges,” adds Verhoeven. “The existing fire alarm and smoke control systems, for example, had to be integrated into the new basic assumptions. The transition also required that the existing fire alarm and smoke control systems meet a more stringent inspection regime due to the requirements of the 2012 Building Decree.”
In addition, one aspect of the complex did not fully meet the PGS15 directive for the storage of packaged hazardous materials. “This directive contains a requirement that the floor area may be no larger than 2,500 m². That meant that we needed to provide justification for a number of storage facilities for the exceedance of two to three percent of this maximum limit.”
Riskonet also helped convince the competent authority of the extinguishing ability of the sprinkler system to be installed. Verhoeven adds, “Many sprinkler systems guarantee fire control, but do not give an absolute guarantee of fire extinguishment. This guarantee is required with the storage of packaged hazardous substances.”
Another challenge was to secure three storage facilities with aerosols. “We choose a firefighting foam system with a filling time of two minutes, which is relatively new in the Netherlands. This entails specific requirements, including a fast activation of the system. Riskonet was extremely helpful in helping us substantiate the justification documents and the actual installation of the systems.”
Risk Engineer Dave Hazel from Riskonet, who was closely involved in the project, believes that his team made a valuable contribution to the project. “We contributed as a critical colleague, as a sounding board and as the devil’s advocate. We have had the opportunity to use the expertise we have gained in other situations in formulating the documents, holding discussions with inspectors and the competent authority and during the implementation phase.”
According to Verhoeven, “Thanks to Dave and his colleagues, our team at ProDelta were in safe hands and we were able to minutely organise and smoothly implement the transition. That level of certainty was important for business operations at ProDelta.”