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Expert assessments: Air pollution levels, explosion protection, fire prevention

Expert advice to courts and contracting parties as a publicly appointed and sworn expert

At the SHN engineering firm we provide expert assessments for air pollution control in manufacturing, industry, and agriculture.

We have been active in the German and international markets since 1991. The guiding principles of our business culture are set out in the quality management manual (2009 – 4th edition). All our employees work continually to support our quality and business principles and to achieve constant improvement. All employees are committed to carrying out assessments exclusively in compliance with their contract.

The "consulting engineer" certificate from the Saxony Chamber of Engineers highlights our independence from suppliers.

To work as a publicly appointed and sworn expert requires independence from suppliers, as well as the objective evaluation of companies, technology, and processes when assessing contracting parties and providing expert opinions for court cases or arbitration hearings.

Technical evaluation of exhaust gas cleaning systems

Selection and evaluation of exhaust gas cleaning equipment

We provide consultation in a number of sectors in the field of exhaust gas cleaning. Our consulting range includes assessment of the necessity of exhaust gas cleaning systems, selection of the appropriate type and size, and the integration of exhaust gas cleaning equipment for various requirements.

We also assess existing exhaust gas cleaning equipment (mechanical cleaning processes, electrical, wet chemical, biological, and thermal "filters") and ideas for improvement, e.g., if the raw gas situation has changed. If functionality is lacking or limited, we also carry out an assessment in the sense of expert opinions for contracting parties, court cases, or arbitration hearings.

Expert assessments of emissions and immission for air pollution levels, nuisance odours, and noise

Air pollution control in manufacturing, industry, and agriculture
We calculate the emissions of manufacturing and industrial plants. This is accomplished by means of databases of collected sources (chimneys) for comparable plants, legal limits, and specifications or calculations in terms of flow engineering. For diffuse emissions, the calculation is carried out on the basis of the Association of German Engineers guideline VDI 3790.

We also provide propagation calculations in line with annex 3 of the TA Luft 2002 instructions on air quality control, in order to record the immission situation with respect to property requiring protection in line with section 5 of Germany's Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG). Immission locations can include residential development, other commercial use, and nature (e.g. introduction of pollutants into the soil). These immission calculations support a well-founded statement about the likelihood of investments being approved (new construction or modernization or expansion of capacity as a major alteration).

In order to provide a representative indication of the wind situation at a location, we integrate information from the German Meteorological Service into the formulation of expert assessments. To get the best possible approximation of the prospective relationships that can be expected, we investigate and factor in local orography (terrain structure), the influence of local wind fields flowing around buildings, or the effect of cold air discharge flows.

Air pollution control in indoor spaces
As a result of increased awareness of air quality in indoor spaces, we also offer expert assessments for determining and assessing air pollution levels in indoor spaces. To arrange the measuring program, we visit and inspect the site and question all concerned parties (tenants, landlords, employees, employers, etc.). We use accredited measuring institutes to carry out the measurements and analysis, and we assess the results. In the field of organic air pollutants, we have a tried and tested screening program that provides identification and quantitative analysis of several hundred organic compounds from a single sampling. 

Expert assessment of shade
With any construction project that includes relatively tall structures or proximity to existing property, it is also necessary to investigate the effect of the project on the neighbourhood. We will prepare expert assessments of the shade resulting from sound barriers and/or soundwalls on highways and freeways and assess its permissibility, or we may recommend necessary precautions or alternative measures.

Expert assessment for explosion protection

Irrespective of the number of employees, the employer has a duty (see section 3, German Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health – BetrSichV) to ensure that an explosion protection document is created and kept up to date (see section 6, BetrSichV). It must be clear from the explosion protection document:

  • that explosion hazards have been identified and assessed,
  • that appropriate precautions have been taken so that the goals of explosion protection are fully met,
  • which areas have had zones established for them (zone 0, zone 1, and zone 2, and/or zone 20, zone 21, and zone 22),
  • which areas are subject to the minimum requirements in annex 4 of the BetrSichV.

An explosion protection document should be completed in each case before starting work and should be revised if modifications, extensions, or alterations are made to the work equipment or work flow.

We have already produced explosion protection documents for a number of properties and would be happy to assist you with your particular case.

Expert assessments for fire prevention

The issue of fire prevention is of great importance for the safe operation of any plant. Various large fires in recent years (the airport fire at Düsseldorf, for example) have repeatedly shown how important this issue really is.

As soon as planning begins on a project, it is necessary to consider fire prevention issues for the specific object in question and identify necessary measures. In this context, a project does not just mean construction of a new building. Even altering fire loads, such as by increasing storage quantities in existing buildings, can represent a change of use in terms of construction legislation. Such a change must be considered from the perspective of both permitting and fire prevention.

Provided the project is not a "special construction" as defined by construction legislation (for example a building with floor area of more than 1,600 m2, meeting places, retail outlets, etc.), a fire prevention certificate will generally fulfil the fire prevention requirements and stipulations. In the case of "special constructions", it is necessary to carry out a holistic inspection of fire prevention issues in the context of the particular application. The appropriate tool for this purpose is the creation of fire prevention concepts.

In designing a fire prevention concept, the specific requirements of the construction should be established and the necessary fire prevention measures identified. A whole series of elements feeds into this, such as building structure, architectural design of the building, use of the building or of individual building sections, number of people in the building, fire loads in the building, fire prevention infrastructure in the building (e.g. fire detection equipment) and also around the building (e.g. on-site water supply for fighting fires).

The purpose of drawing up fire prevention certification or fire prevention design concepts is to ensure safe and reliable evacuation of people and animals from the structure (to protect people!) and to enable the fire department to effectively extinguish a fire in the event of an incident.

Expert assessments for preservation of nature and the natural landscape

In the course of preparing for permit approval, environmental and habitat impact assessments are often required. This includes consideration of protected resources in nature and the natural landscape as well as protected animals and plants present on the site. The plans should avoid disturbing these protected natural resources right from the outset, or if necessary compensate for any such disturbance.

In this regard, we carry out our own survey of existing data, mapping and expert evaluation of available records in areas such as habitat mapping, technical reports on species conservation for selected species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, birds, butterflies and moths, or plants), or phytosociological surveys.