A tribute to the team of SOCOTEC in Lebanon

02 December 2020

The teams of SOCOTEC in Lebanon showed great courage while taking into account the risks to carefully plan and perform their interventions on the damaged buildings of their capital city, Beirut.

One of the biggest blasts in history

On August 4th 2020, a large amount of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The explosion caused at least 204 deaths, 6,500 injuries and 15 billion USD in property damage. 

For the past 6 years and without any proper safety measures, the equivalent of about 1.1 kilotons of TNT, i.e. 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored in a warehouse. The Lebanese authorities had originally confiscated the cargo from an abandoned ship.

This horrible explosion in the port of Beirut damaged the buildings all around, over a zone of more than 4 km diameter and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless.

Beirut after the explosion on August 4th 2020

SOCOTEC in Lebanon performed damage assessment

Following this horrendous event, on behalf of many owners, property managers and stakeholders, the team of SOCOTEC in Lebanon performed the damage assessments of several deteriorated buildings. Some of them are located in very iconic areas, such as the downtown area of Beirut which is facing the explosion site.  

Aware of the level of risk, the SOCOTEC team in Lebanon felt the urge to mobilize themselves for the mission. It was a very delicate and difficult one because the interventions took place on highly damaged structures, sometimes even unstable. In addition to the risk of COVID-19, injury could also arise from scrap, stones, broken glass and debris falling from heights. Facades had been completely pulverized in some cases.

To deal with the risks of site interventions while equally protecting the staff against the COVID 19, appropriate protective measures were adopted such as specific PPE.

The goal of the mission was to assess the damages caused by the blast via a detailed visual inspection and to come up with a:

  • Damage assessment report indicating all our findings in terms of revealed damages, their magnitude and locations
  • Bill of Quantities (BoQ) for repair works 
  • Cost Estimate of repair works according to the above mentioned BoQ 

    
The Damage Assessment mission undertaken by the SOCOTEC team in Lebanon has addressed the structure, facades, interior finishing and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems of the impacted buildings.

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