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How a refinery is saving money by eliminating rented scaffolding throughout their facility.

Case Study: ErectaStep replaces Scaffolding at Refinery Storage Tank Farm

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By Tracy Mikulec
Jun 14, 2024
Estimated 3 minute read

Background

A refinery storage tank farm raising containment berms throughout the facility faced significant challenges in OSHA-compliant access over the elevated berms. Primarily due to the increased height of the berms, the existing stair/crossover system became obsolete, and the initial plan was to rent scaffolding for the project’s duration. This approach, with the rental and regular inspections required for scaffolding, proved costly and inefficient. The refinery sought a more sustainable and cost-effective solution.

Challenges

  • Elevation Changes: The raised containment berms rendered existing access solutions inadequate.
  • Costly Scaffolding: The cost of renting scaffolding was estimated at $3,500 for erection and an annual rental fee of $8,500 per scaffold. The costs quickly escalated given the facility’s scale, with hundreds of access points throughout the tank farm facility.
  • Safety and Compliance: Maintaining OSHA compliance with rented scaffolding involved frequent inspections and posed stability risks.

Solution

The refinery opted for ErectaStep’s modular access platforms as a permanent replacement for the scaffolding. ErectaStep provided a custom configuration to meet the new height requirements and ensure continuous safe access over the containment walls. Because ErectaStep is modular, all the parts needed for the installations were already in stock, shipped, and on location in two days. No special equipment or welding was necessary; the parts were bolted together, and the installation was completed before lunch.

Whitepaper

ErectaStep v Scaffolding Whitepaper
ErectaStep v Scaffolding Whitepaper
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Installation Details

  • Site Assessment: A 10-minute job walk was conducted, and a quote, complete with detailed drawings, was provided the same day.
  • Quick Deployment: ErectaStep components were shipped within 2 business days.
  • Efficient Installation: The system was installed before lunch by a three-man crew starting at 7:30 a.m. on the installation day.

Financial Impact

  • Initial Costs: The total cost of the ErectaStep system was equivalent to a year’s worth of scaffolding setup and rental.
  • Cost Savings: Starting in the second year, the ErectaStep solution provided savings compared to the annual scaffolding rental. Given the large number of installations needed throughout the facility, the cumulative savings were substantial.

Benefits

  • Cost Efficiency: The refinery saved on recurring rental and maintenance fees associated with scaffolding.
  • Enhanced Safety: ErectaStep’s platforms are designed to be OSHA-compliant, reducing the risk of accidents and ensuring a stable working environment.
  • Durability: Made from industrial-grade aluminum, ErectaStep’s platforms are resistant to rust, warping, and rot, ensuring long-term use with minimal maintenance.
  • Modular Flexibility: The modular design allowed for easy reconfiguration and adaptability to different access needs within the facility.
  • Fast Installation: The pre-engineered components are in stock and ready to be shipped, enabling quick delivery and installation without requiring costly engineering, special tools, or welding.

The switch from rented scaffolding to ErectaStep’s modular platforms provided the refinery with a compliant, cost-effective solution. This decision not only ensured OSHA compliance throughout the facility but also led to significant cost savings over time without the hassle and expense of annual rentals or custom fabrication. The refinery’s adoption of ErectaStep illustrates the practical benefits of modular, prefabricated access solutions in industrial settings.