Scalable Blast Shelter Maximizes Wrench Time for Midwest Refiner


A major refiner in the Midwest needed a scalable, blast-resistant structure to support a new capital project. Sunbelt Rentals provided a solution that maximized safety, wrench time, productivity and savings.

Sunbelt Rentals has a storied history of delivering cost-saving solutions to refineries across the country. This Midwestern refiner has partnered with Sunbelt Rentals during all of their turnarounds across the past five years.

When the client embarked on a capital project to bring on a new unit, they again called on Sunbelt Rentals. As the project’s personnel increased over time, Sunbelt Rentals scaled the structure to meet their space needs.

The Challenge

Minimizing downtime is a top priority for refineries. Every second wasted traveling to break areas outside the blast zone is a blow to the bottom line.

The client required a multi-use, open-air space that could accommodate crews for lunch breaks, safety meetings and toolbox meetings. To maximize productivity and prevent wasted time, they needed a blast-resistant structure to allow personnel to safely stay close to the worksite throughout the day.

The refiner planned to bring in more crews as the project progressed across 18 months. However, it wasn’t cost-efficient to initially build the structure to match the capacity they would only need during the final months. Sunbelt Rentals had the perfect solution: a structure that’s modular in design, which would allow them to easily add space over time.

The Client's Structure Needed:





Blast Resistance




Refrigerated Storage Icon

Durability Against Heavy Snow


The Solution

The Sunbelt Rentals Max756 structure is the leading blast shelter, providing a spacious, climate-controlled space to unify large crews. The Max756 can also withstand high wind and snow loads — a key feature for this Midwestern refiner.

Sunbelt Rentals experts worked closely with the client’s process safety manager to ensure the blast-resistant design met all site requirements. When the construction planners were ready to talk about the installation process, Sunbelt Rentals was able to jump into action with the structures already approved.

First, Sunbelt Rentals installed a 66-by-50-foot structure over a client-provided concrete slab. Equipped with HVAC units, lights, and doors, the space allowed 200 personnel to comfortably gather. The interior included internal upright dividers to separate different contract crews, allowing union and non-union labor forces to maintain their own spaces.

As the project’s team grew to 400 personnel, Sunbelt Rentals added 50 feet to the structure length to accommodate them. About three months later, Sunbelt Rentals scaled the structure to 150 feet in length, suitable for 600 personnel.

As part of the multi-year partnership, Sunbelt Rentals also maintained the structure to ensure its climate control stayed efficient. During a particularly cold winter, Sunbelt Rentals supplemented the structure's HVAC units with additional 60-kilowatt heaters to keep the crews warm and cozy.

The Result

The final solution met the client’s expectations, providing them with the space to gather crews with little travel time. The client was able to stay productive at all hours of the day while prioritizing the safety and comfort of personnel. As the capital job wraps up, Sunbelt Rentals is now relocating the on-site structure so the refiner can use it for another turnaround.

The Takeaways

While bubble tents have fixed sizing, Sunbelt Rentals' innovative structures allow companies to add or remove space quickly. Infinitely scalable in length, these modular solutions can provide a streamlined footprint on nearly any foundation.

Interested in learning more about scalable solutions, or want more information about how you can get a blast-resistant structure for your company?

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