Finnish chemical plant falls - almost

By Lindsay Gale13 October 2011

The Kaipiainen polymer production plant is now being dismantled and demolished as part of BASF's strategic consolidation following its acquisition of chemical company CIBA in 2009. BASF appointed engineering consultants RVA Group to project manage the contract and a RVA team has spent five months helping BASF prepare for the project. The team will now oversee the safe execution of the works, which will be carried out by Finnish demolition contractor Purkupiha Oy.

However, the contract is not just a straightforward site clearance. Major redundant plant elements are to be dismantled for recycling. However, some external and internal elements of the production are have been acquired by a new company that will store and distribute chemicals from the site. Therefore the safety, protection and integrity of these, including large storage vessels (in a tank farm in close proximity to the demolition zone and a two-storey building with to process areas separated by a warehouse, must be ensured during demolition operations. Vessel removal is taking place in both process areas, but a significant number of vessels are to be retained.

As the next occupants are set to move onto the site before the project's completion, RVA will use its sector-specific experience to ensure that appropriate safety standards and methodology are applied.

Working closely with the appointed contractor, RVA will also safeguard the activities of the three industrial companies that currently share the BASF site. With no fenced boundary separating these from the demolition works, it is therefore essential that minimum disruption is caused and exemplary safety standards are maintained. Central facilities such as a boilerhouse, waste water treatment plant and an essential rail freight line must be protected and while some services have been re-routed, it is crucial that the supply of raw materials remain uninterrupted.

A 53 tonne excavator with 25m (82 ft) reach and a 2.3 tonne shear will be among the equipment that will carry out the work in the confined 3,000 square metre (33,000 square foot) operating area.

Commenting on the project, Trevor Nicholson from the BASF Procurement HUB said: "We sought RVA's expertise for the Kaipiainen project following their work with us at Seal Sands in the North East of England in 2009, where they demonstrated their ability to meet BASF's exacting standards when it comes to environmental health and safety. A project of this nature requires a thoughtful, coordinated and attentive approach, plus specialist industry knowledge that we know RVA can deliver."

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