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An Effective Structural Integrity Program as Part of a Comprehensive Mechanical Integrity Program

By Joel Andreani, Director - Mechanical and Structural Engineering at The Equity Engineering Group. This article appears in the November/December 2019 issue of Inspectioneering Journal
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Introduction

Deteriorating structures, foundations, and other infrastructure cost U.S. businesses tens of billions of dollars per year.  A major portion of this loss is business delays and interruptions caused by the poor structural conditions, rather than the structural repairs or replacement costs themselves.  The oil & gas, petrochemical, chemical, and other industries are not immune to the same problems that occur as a result of design deficiencies, construction defects, deteriorating structural conditions, extreme environmental events, and changes in applied loads.

In a comprehensive mechanical integrity (MI) program, attention is paid to design, inspection, maintenance, evaluation, and repair of fixed equipment, piping, rotating equipment, pressure relief systems, and instrumentation and controls critical to safety and reliability.  However, structures and foundations should receive appropriate attention as well.  Ignoring structures and foundations at a process facility can affect safety and reliability.  The results of structural deficiencies can even be catastrophic.

Much like the equipment and piping they support, structures and foundations should be part of a comparable structural integrity (SI) program.  This article will examine key components of a comprehensive SI program as an essential companion to an MI program.  It will also point to the multi-disciplinary aspect of an SI program; knowledge of a myriad of industry codes, standards, recommended practices, and publications needed in the implementation of an effective SI program; and the need for a documented recommended practice to bring all this knowledge into a single place.

Components of an SI Program

The key components in an effective SI program are...

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