Extreme Weather Shelter For Australian Outback

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Disaster and extreme weather shelter designed for Australian extreme weather conditions
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disaster and extreme weather shelter were designed for Australian iron ore company Atlas Iron. This very different type of refuge chamber; MineARC’s first StormSAFE cyclone shelter. The Northern Pilbara region of Australia is an area prone to extreme wind conditions and tropical cyclones. Atlas recognised the advantage of providing on-site storm shelters at their largest Port Hedland facilities.

The use of shelters eliminates the requirement to send staff to Perth during an extreme weather emergency. Allowing Atlas to continue production and processing, as usual, all the way up to a ‘blue’ alert.

Atlas commissioned MineARC to design and engineer two custom StormSAFE chambers, large enough to safely house 72 people during extreme weather. The shelters needed to also comply with the Australian Building Code’s ‘Region D rating’ for tropical cyclones with wind speeds in excess of 300km/hr.

The resulting chambers were built to comply with Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS1170.2, with a Building Code of Australia Importance Level of 4. A four-piece modular unit that bolts together to provide approximately 105m2 of internal space. The refuge is easily disassembled and fully portable, allowing easy relocation.

Each compact design StormSAFE shelter contains:

  • bedding for up to 54 persons,
  • ample seating,
  • a kitchenette
  • and dual toilet facilities.

Designing An Extreme Weather Shelter

MineARC’s dedicated engineers utilised airflow simulation software to study the effects of severe weather conditions on the structure, as shown in the table below.

Figure 1: Front wind loading of 99m/s (350km/h) – provides MineARC engineering with pressure and suction loads on the chamber; Pressure in Green/yellow/red and Suction in shades of blue

The StormSAFE’s unique modular design means it can be customised and adapted to meet any client specification. Designs can be adapted to suit a company’s size, occupancy and internal feature requirements.

"The MineARC team from initial concept discussions through to handover on site have provided a professional service,” said Trevor Beattie, Capital Works Manager at Atlas Iron. “The design of the StormSAFE product evolved during construction to meet the conflicting requirements of two separate end-user locations.

The StormSAFE shelter met all the Technical Criteria, and the internal fit-out provides total flexibility for seating arrangements within the two centre modules. A special thanks to MineARC for their determination in delivering the product to schedule and at a level that was promised at the outset."

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