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Natural Hazards Risk Management

Natural Hazards Risk Management

ABS Group is a global provider of risk and safety solutions related to natural hazards, with a broad range of services across many markets. Our engineers have decades of experience performing natural hazard risk management and damage assessments, seismic and extreme wind design for new and existing structures and equipment installations. Additionally, our team provides design reviews and financial loss evaluations for seismic risk, hurricane/typhoon, flood and other severe natural hazards events.

If your company requires facility startup recovery and readiness support services following a natural disaster, more information is available in our Facility Startup/Readiness Support Services Factsheet.

Our licensed civil and structural engineering  has investigated over 100 major earthquakes and can assist with evaluating buildings as well as provide cost-effective earthquake retrofits. Learn more about Post Disaster Recovery from Earthquakes.

Hurricane Preparedness - Be Ready

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June until November. Two key ways to weather safety are to prepare for the risks and to act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials. Refer to FEMA's hurricane preparedness guide to learn more.

Natural Hazards Risk Management Services

Facilities and Infrastructure

Facilities and Infrastructure

We are known for our expertise in evaluating natural hazard risks for a wide variety of facilities worldwide. Information generated from our risk assessment is used by our engineers to assist clients in developing long-term risk reduction strategies. These strategies may involve upgrading and retrofitting of buildings, structures and equipment installations or providing technical expertise and engineering peer review services for projects developed by other consultants.

ABS Group has more than 30 years of on-site experience in risk assessment and mitigation analyses for virtually every kind of facility, from multifamily and commercial buildings to complex chemical, petrochemical, manufacturing, utility, energy and transmission and distribution operations.

Our comprehensive services for facilities and infrastructure projects include:

  • Seismic Retrofitting of Structures
  • Extreme Wind Retrofit of Structures
  • Performance Based Multi-Hazard Design of Facilities
  • Structural Engineering, Plan Checking and Review of Unique and Critical Structures
  • Design of Seismic Restraints for Equipment and Utility Systems
  • Structural Investigation, Condition Assessment and Repair Development
  • Life-Line Reliability and Vulnerability Analysis
  • Independent Technical Assessment, Peer Reviews and Constructability Reviews
  • Construction Management and Compliance Services
  • Construction Cost Estimates
  • Pre-Startup Reviews and Readiness Support
  • Staff Augmentation Services

Managing Operations During Natural Hazards Events

ABS Group works closely with our clients to understand not only their operations, but their capabilities to respond to damaging natural hazard events. Our engineers evaluate existing buildings as candidate shelters, and when necessary, develop structural solutions in accordance with sheltering criteria such as ICC 500 and FEMA P-361. We also offer training to help our clients protect their people and to quickly start the recovery process to resume normal operations.

Our Solutions

We conduct a variety of evaluations and assessments to reduce risk and promote business continuity in the event of a natural hazard event, including:

  • Emergency Preparedness and Business Recovery Planning
  • Post Event Damage and Integrity Assessments
  • Evaluation/Strengthening of Emergency Shelters 
  • Disaster and Evacuation Planning
  • Training and Exercises

Our Safety, Risk and Compliance team and Extreme Loads and Structural Risk engineers have extensive knowledge of building codes, state-of-the-art design tools and evaluation methodologies, and in-depth experience conducting investigations around the world to help you manage natural hazards risk.

Proof of Experience

Quantifying Seismic Risk Exposure for Global Beverage Company

ABS Consulting Structural Engineer Studies Impact of New Zealand Earthquake

ABS Consulting Verifies Design and Construction of Chile Mining Rescue Capsules

Facility Startup and Readiness Support

In the aftermath of natural disaster events such as hurricanes and flash floods, which can result in operators shutting in facilities and taking assets offline, it is important to be extra vigilant in adhering to process safety principles when restarting oil, gas and chemical facility systems.

To help ensure a safe and efficient return to normal operations, ABS Group provides a broad range of technical and risk management services during this critical phase of recovery/pre-startup operations, including:

Mini-Hazard/Operational Readiness Reviews

We can customize reviews that focus on potential flood and/or wind damage. Our team will work closely with your facility managers to identify site-specific potential hazards and address topics such as:

  • Floodwater leakage into equipment
  • Electrical grounding integrity
  • Foundation washout/damage
  • Building damage/integrity
  • Drainage obstruction/washout
  • Utilities damage, including backup systems/batteries/etc.
  • Insulation damage/water intrusion
  • Safety system damage/integrity
  • Equipment/piping displacement or impact damage
  • Electrical/instrumentation/control system water intrusion/damage

Pre-Startup Review (PSSR) Checklist Preparation and Implementation

We can help develop and incorporate additional topics/questions focused on verifying the integrity of plant/facility equipment and support/utility systems based on potential water and/or wind damage that may have occurred during and after a natural disaster. The pre-startup reviews help confirm:

  • Repaired equipment/systems are in accordance with design specifications
  • Safety, operating, maintenance and emergency procedures (especially focused on startup) are in place and adequate
  • Recommendations from any mini-hazard analyses or readiness reviews have been resolved or implemented before startup
  • Modifications (if any) since the shutdown have been reviewed under  management of change (MOC) program, and any recommendations from those reviews have been resolved
  • Appropriate training regarding modifications/repairs has been completed
  • Quality assurance/quality control documents and records of inspections have been performed
  • Additional information pertinent to the startup and operation of the idle system is verified
  • Organizational change reviews occur while the degraded process safety support infrastructure conditions exist

Staff Augmentation Services

ABS Group can provide highly experienced personnel to provide extra staffing/temporary resources that can be required during pre-startup recovery and normal startup operations. These personnel can provide a wide range of onsite services (including either short-term or long-term support) to help clients achieve various time-critical tasks to safely and expeditiously return to normal operations.

Financial Risk

Financial Risk

We offer a unique blend of catastrophe modeling and structural engineering expertise, which can determine appropriate levels of catastrophe risk insurance and the most cost-effective means of mitigating or managing risk.

This includes both pre- and post-loss activities for a wide variety of natural and man-made hazard events including earthquake, hurricane/typhoon, flood and tsunami occurrences.

Our experience allows us to assist property owners, plant/facility operators, real estate companies, insurers and reinsurers, and brokers to accurately quantify exposure and to develop methods for estimating and reducing aggregate exposures to natural hazards on a site-specific or portfolio basis. We provide a variety of natural hazard engineering services to our clients including due-diligence reports, performance based assessments and ASTM E2026-07 analyses.

Extreme Loads and Structural Risk Capabilities

We offer a range of financial risk services to assist clients in planning and estimating projects, including:

  • Probable Maximum Loss (PML) Analysis 
  • Maximum Foreseeable Loss (MFL) Analysis
  • Portfolio Loss Assessment (Multiple Sites) 
  • Business Interruption Assessment and Continuity Planning
  • Catastrophe Management Loss and Damage Modeling
  • Property Acquisition Due Diligence Studies
  • Grant Applications

Related Services

Incident Investigation and Root Cause Analysis

ABS Group has had an enormous impact in this area. Our safety, risk and compliance experts have written industry-leading guidelines, performed hundreds of investigations and trained thousands of individuals on how to handle these efforts. We offer, among others:

  • Comprehensive incident response services
  • Root cause analysis (RCA) training
  • RCA software solutions
  • Investigation-related support for legal professionals

Process Hazard Analysis

Industry-wide guidelines for Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) were established by ABS Global experts. We’ve also played a critical role in EPA and OSHA rule-making processes. We can provide expert advice on a range of issues including:

  • PHA program assessment/development/upgrades
  • Hazard evaluations
  • Combining evaluation procedures
  • Hazard reviews for MOC and PHA re-validations
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