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Project ICBM Propellant Analysis Complex

Project Size

24,000 sq ft

Project Dates

31 months

Project Location

Hill Air Force Base, UT

This complex is purpose-designed and built for the preparation and testing of solid rocket-motor fuel samples.

  • Self Performed Structural Concrete
  • 2010 US Air Force Design Award Merit Award for Facility Design

Project Description

This complex is purpose-designed and built for the preparation and testing of solid rocket-motor fuel samples located in the Missile Assembly, Maintenance and Storage (MAMS) area, a controlled-entry space at Hill Air Force Base, UT. This complex encompasses multiple structures including a one-story administration and storage building, a one-story high-hazard propellant machining building, a one-story propellant lab/low hazardous building with a propellant laboratory and a low hazardous machining functions building.

Two of the buildings, PLAB4 and PLAB5, were implemented to replace a previous facility that no longer met operational, security or explosives-safety requirements. PLAB5 contains storage and administrative support areas integral to laboratory operations, including a computer/data center, administrative offices, a conference room, open office areas, a break and lunch room and other support spaces. PLAB4 is the sample-preparation and laboratory facility. Large sections of propellant extracted from missiles are brought to the machining section of PLAB4, where test samples are cut, milled, sheared and lathed from the bulk material, then moved through further preparation steps.

Site work included demolition, grading, pavement, curb and gutter, sidewalks, utilities, communication and fencing. This project also incorporated multiple sustainable-design features, providing additional building value and energy savings to the end user. These include materials with low or no VOC emitting materials, high recycled content, high efficency mechanical and electrical systems, storm water reduction, water-efficient plumbing fixtures and landscaping and the use of locally harvested/extracted and manufactured materials and local laborers to minimize energy usage for travel.

The design incorporated applicable DoD Explosives Safety Board (DDESB) requirements, including application of AFMAN 91-201 and DoD 6055.9-STD. This was also the first application (to our knowledge) of the DDESB Substantial Dividing Wall (SDW) Memo to HD 1.3 facilities. The approved design included multiple explosive- and life-safety components including a complex design providing required Inhabited Building Distances and response to existing Quantity Distance (QD) Arcs within the project area, facility design incorporating interline separations for multiple, explosives-related operations, application of SDW construction between Maximum Credible Event (MCE) areas, frangible roof and wall construction providing explosive overpressure relief for each MCE area, specially-designed high-volume HVAC with 100% outside air and humidification, explosion-proof lighting, systems.