Fire Damage Assessments

When a fire occurs on your worksite, the recovery process can be challenging and complex. Stress Engineering Services has supported dozens of Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream operators in the U.S. and throughout North America with fire damage assessments.

Our Approach
Our approach to fire damage assessment is based on the API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 Standard, Fitness-for-Service, and our extensive engineering experience in metallurgy, stress analysis, piping analysis, hardness testing, inspection, heat zone mapping and project management. Our team of professionals establishes heat zones and develops specific inspection plans for each piece of equipment. Ultimately, Level 1, 2, or 3 assessments will determine if the equipment must be repaired, replaced, or can be used as-is.  A comprehensive final report documents the findings.

Heat Exposure Zones:
The Keystone of Fire Damage Assessment

Heat exposure zones are a concept presented in API 579, Part 11, characterized by isobars of maximum sustained ambient temperature during the incident. A visual inspection establishes the highest temperature to which different zones were exposed. The heat exposure zones range from the highest temperature at the center of the fire, to regions that sustained no fire impact.

Level 1 assessments typically require only visual inspection, but for equipment requiring Level 2 or Level 3 assessment, inspection becomes more involved.

Hardness testing is the most frequently used type of non-destructive examination (NDE) in fire damage assessments. Heat exposure during a fire can either “harden” or “soften” the steel. “Softening” indicates a lower strength, while “hardening” indicates higher strength, less ductility, and increased brittleness in the steel.

Our experts develop specific inspection plans for each piece of equipment, enabling the client to complete the process as quickly as possible.

Scanning, Videography, and Drone Inspections
We provide both fixed position laser scanning and high-resolution metrology grade laser scanning.

Fixed Position Laser Scanning – 3D laser scanning of vessels and towers for deformation and plumb is performed with our FARO laser scanner. This high-accuracy scanner allows accurate characterization of shape and distortions in large vessels and towers. Because it is offered an in-house service, integration with our finite element analysis is seamless.

Handheld Metrology Grade Laser Scanners– The Creaform high-resolution laser scanner is our instrument-of-choice for high accuracy scanning of smaller features and is used to characterize local deformations and even severe pitting. Once again, because it is offered an in-house service, there is a smooth integration with subsequent analysis.

Drone Photography / Videography and Scanning – Scene documentation and visual inspection is enhanced, and safety increased, with our high-resolution drone inspection capabilities and FAA licensed pilot.

Level 1, 2, And 3 Assessments
Whereas Level 1 fire damage assessment is relatively simple, Level 2 and Level 3 assessments require our expertise and an understanding of materials, mechanics, and plant conditions to ensure the problem is neither over-simplified nor over-analyzed.

Vast Range Of Equipment Types
Fire damage assessments can involve a wide variety of facility processing equipment, structural components, and materials. Our experts have assessed everything from tall towers to condensate drums, including aluminum plate heat exchanges, fin-fan coolers, pumps, compressors, blowers and fans, plant piping, shell and tube heat exchangers, and more.

Structural Steel & Concrete – In general, API 579 addresses only pressure equipment, but industrial fires often involve other components including structural steel and concrete. These very basic components are featured in nearly every fire damage assessment performed by our team of civil/structural engineers who are highly experienced in assessment of these key components.

Full Spectrum Of Services
Fire damage assessment is only one of the services we can offer to support your needs after a fire occurs. Our full spectrum of services includes:


Contact Us

If you would like more information on Stress Engineering Services, please call us at 281.955.2900, or complete the following form and one of our representatives contact you shortly. For a complete listing of contact information, visit our Locations page.

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