A new central control room together with office space and laboratory provide a safer working environment for employees at BP’s refinery in Rotterdam. The structural design was completed to meet a challenging time frame and work planned to minimise disruption to the ongoing refinery operations.

Protection against possible blast or contamination

Three existing buildings were converted and two new ones were added at the refinery for offices, a laboratory and central control room. The structures are designed to provide increased protection in the event of an incident there while bringing departments together under the company’s ‘one team’ philosophy.

This philosophy is reflected in the control room which incorporates four separate control rooms within a single large space and offers maximum daylight and a view over the refinery. It is very different from many such rooms which typically seek to minimise visual or acoustic distraction.

Royal HaskoningDHV provided structural design for the buildings which included protective measures against blast and toxic cloud. Working with BP, we identified a location outside the main refinery activities which included the existing under-used buildings. This location helped to mitigate the blast load. Further safety measures were achieved through a combination of structural and architectural solutions to ensure the building façade and openings such as windows and doors were blast-proof and airtight.

The buildings needed to offer a safe-haven for staff and enable control room activities to remain operational to manage an incident. Safety solutions recommended within the design for Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) installations provided automatic shutdown of air vents to avoid contamination of the internal environment.

Future users of the buildings were also involved in the design process and their suggestions and preferences incorporated into the solution.