Chemical Storage: Should You Build or Buy Your Chemical Store?

4th February 2019

A chemical store allows you to ensure that you are storing your chemicals safely in a manner which in turn reduces the risk of environmental pollution and risk to personnel. You can build a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ solution or you can purchase a bunded chemical store ‘off the shelf’ from a number of reputable manufacturers. Before you select your solutions there several important elements which you must consider when you wish to accommodate an on-site chemical store.

Chemical Storage: Top Considerations

1. First, you will need to consider how your store will be used. Will you be storing pallets of chemicals in either IBCs or drums or smaller sized containers? Will your operators need to go to the chemical store to remove single containers for use or take pallet loads out? These questions will help you decide whether you need a bunded, pallet-based chemical store or a ‘walk-in’ chemical store with shelving for smaller containers.

2. The location of the store will need to be considered particularly if you will be storing highly flammable chemicals. Minimum separation distances from occupied buildings, boundaries and potential sources of ignition will need to be achieved. If theses separation distances cannot be achieved on site, then your chemical store will need to be fire protected/fire rated

3. Will the store be used purely for storage or will there be some decanting of chemicals within the store? If there will be decanting of chemicals within the store, you will need to put in extra measures to ensure operator safety, e.g. forced ventilation and anti-static grounding.

4. To comply with health and safety regulations, your chemical store will need to be bunded. The bund should be able to capture and retain 110% of the volume of the largest container to be stored or 25% of the total volume of chemicals to be stored, whichever figure is the larger.

Although building your own chemical store can sometimes be more cost effective, buying a chemical storage solution from a manufacturer has a lot of advantages.

Manufactured Chemical Storage: Advantages 

1. Lead Time– The typical lead times for a chemical store ordered from a manufacturer is 2-4 weeks, which is considerably shorter than the time required to build a store.

2. Planning– No planning permission for off-the-shelf chemical stores as they are considered as mobile or temporary buildings.

3. Delivery & Set-Up– Chemical stores purchased off-the-shelf from a manufacturer are normally delivered to a site fully assembled and ready for immediate use.

4. Portability– The chemical store can easily be relocated on site or moved to another site at a later date. You cannot relocate a concrete store.

5. Certification– The store normally come with the bunds tested and a bund test certificate is issued with the store.

6. Variety– A wide range of options in terms of size and construction is available from chemical store manufacturers.

Key Takeaway

Purchasing a chemical store from an established manufacturer is recommended over building your own. When building your own chemical store you must ensure it is designed for your chemical storage needs as well as compliance with health and safety regulations. Manufactured chemical stores are preassembled and ready for immediate use upon arrival at your facility. Chemical storage units are also certified to ensure you comply with health and safety regulations.

At Safety Storage Systems, we offer a range of ‘off-the-shelf’ and customisable solutions for your chemical store to ensure it is designed to suit your specific needs. If you have any questions on how to safely store hazardous chemicals, get in touch with one of our experts today.

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