Blast Engineering

Hinman engineers don’t just follow guidelines. They set them. As recognized leaders in the blast consulting industry, Hinman engineers have helped develop blast-mitigating criteria guidelines and best practices techniques for government and scientific organizations.

Eve Hinman, Ph.D., president and founder of Hinman, has worked with the federal government since 1983, when the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut ushered in the need for anti-terrorism building design solutions. 

In response to the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Eve helped author the original federal security document and has since participated in the development of anti-terrorism security design criteria for the U.S. Department of State, the General Services Administration, Federal Emergency Management Association, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Recently, Eve led a group of experts in security, anti-terrorism and risk to develop a rapid visual screening procedure for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA 455). This procedure assesses risk of terrorist attack for a single building, or the relative risk among buildings in a portfolio, community, or region as a prioritization tool for further risk management activities. 

Hinman staff is active on committees  including the ASCE/SEI Blast, Shock and Vibratory Effects Committee, the ASCE/SEI Disproportionate Collapse Committee, the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Security Committee, the Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP) committee and the ASCE Fire Protection Committee.


Accidental Explosions

Vapor Cloud Explosions (VCEs) threaten people and facilities, most commonly at petroleum or chemical processing plants. Hinman’s experience buffers both safety and investment.

Hinman protects client assets by assessing VCE likelihoods and consequences, calculating potential blast effects, hardening new and existing structures, and offering forensic analysis of facilities following an explosion

Hinman’s professional advice concerning VCE’s and similar explosions has provided risk management for private and public facilities. It has also been used as expert testimony in civil litigations. Whatever our clients’ needs are, Hinman provides solutions that are holistic and cost effective, balanced against risk tolerance levels.

Ammunition and Explosive Safety

Hinman’s contributions to and experience designing within DoD Ammunition and Explosive Safety Standards requirements has led to DoD solutions intended to reduce injuries, loss of life, damage to property, and downtime while maintaining mission effectiveness. 

Hinman executes the Explosives Safety Policy, in accordance with the Department of Defense Explosive Safety Board (DDESB),  throughout design processes. Specifically, designs will:

  • Provide maximum possible protection to both personnel and property from damaging effects of potential accidental explosions 
  • Minimize exposure to accidental explosions, consistent with safe and efficient operations 
  • Previous project work has addressed a variety of concerns including:
  • Accidental explosions in munitions manufacturing plants
  • Blast chambers used for testing experimental explosive devices
  • Demilitarization plants for chemical/biological weapons
  • Modular inspection station design using shipping containers
  • Safe distance verification for munitions stora

Global Warming and Terrorism are two of the biggest threats facing the world today. The more we deplete our natural resources, the more we need to protect what is left.  

At Hinman, we’ve made it our business to protect the built environment which constitutes 40% of the CO2 emissions in the USA today. 

The federal government has been instrumental in protecting the natural environment by bringing antiterrorist design principles and green technology to general design practices. Federal clients such as the General Services Administration and the Department of State have adopted sustainable practices and “Design Excellence” programs that require integration of aesthetic, protective and sustainable design practices. 

Hinman combines global warming and sustainability solutions with suitable design risk protection. At first, the two may seem contradictory but we’ve discovered that many risk design features are synergistic. We call this integration approach, GreenBlastTM design; a method that protects both built and natural environments.

Green technology provides facility resilience that improves response capabilities during and after an event of any type, including accidental or natural hazards. Improving resiliency through the use of renewable energy resources is one way to reduce risk of failure and improve operational continuity. 

Ecologically sound site selection and design can reduce the impact of natural hazards which may also potentially reduce access to vehicles (storm retention ponds as moats, heritage trees as anti-ram barriers, and elevation changes to thwart vehicle access). 


BlastPRO, a qualitative approach to blast protection, offers clients our vast expertise minus the cost of fully engineered blast solutions.

Hinman’s BlastPRO evaluations are based on our engineering experience and focus on expected local and global building responses to explosive events. They involve no calculations.

Assessment results outline the variation of resilience and robustness between existing facilities or new building designs for identified threats. We will suggest improvements and indicate an extent of required upgrades. BlastPRO can be used for the following applications:

  • Evaluating and comparing existing buildings
  • Reviewing portfolio and building prioritization
  • Evaluating existing but not yet constructed design
  • Increasing new building design robustness and resiliency (without engineering the building)

Our BlastPRO approach is not meant to replace engineered solutions, which provide more definitive protection, but it will help identify key vulnerabilities and potential solutions with which to make empowered and optimum protection investments.

Threat & Risk Assessments

Providing effective protective design assessments requires engineers to listen, understand and interpret a client’s project constraints, often in the absence of a common engineering vernacular. 

Hinman engineers have proven their ability to articulate clear, guiding criteria during early project phases. Hinman approaches projects knowing there are ultimately three classes of threats:

  • known and foreseeable, 
  • known but not considered credible, and 
  • unknown or unforeseeable. 

With these threat classifications in mind, Hinman engineers advise and facilitate owners and stakeholders through the difficult process of identifying specific hypothetical threats that will impact eventual design decisions. Sifting through concerns and defining the most relevant threats requires a subtle balance of design goals and protection concerns. Hinman weighs these and builds a strong foundation that will develop the very best, acceptable risk mitigation solutions.

Probable Maximum Loss (PML) Studies

Hinman engineers perform rapid and detailed building assessments to estimate expected damages due to natural and manmade events, then express them as a function of building replacement cost or Probable Maximum Loss (PML).  

We use our cost-benefit indicator tool and qualitative building assessment expertise to analyze potential losses such as cost, injury and downtime. We coordinate these findings with site threat profiles to provide comprehensive studies that give clients the information they need to make informed decisions about their portfolios.

Our team is also versed in ST Risk software, used for rapid seismic PML studies to determine an owner’s insurance and refinancing needs.

Cost-Benefit Studies

Effective risk mitigation strategies weigh the balance of protective benefits against implementation costs.

Hinman’s proprietary Cost Benefit Indicator (CBI) helps clients make rapid building determinations about exposure to extreme loading and expected costs using building geometry data and site configuration metrics. CBI generates building-specific cost-benefit graphs that indicate your “sweet-spot”— the place where your associated cost and protection level make sense. This data empowers clients with high-level, strategic and protective-design output such as:

●  New building optimization and site configuration data

●  One on one comparisons of existing buildings and potential sites

●  Lease space comparisons within a building(s)

●  Portfolio Prioritization

As a project progresses, CBI can be used to consider detailed design parameters. Side-by-side upgrade scheme comparisons allow clients to make informed decisions that meet risk and cost goals.

Criteria Development

Both governmental agencies and private firms have specific needs for responding to security threats. 

Hinman’s significant experience developing anti-terrorism criteria for public and private entities coupled with our innate knowledge of highly evolved government security criteria allows us to develop customized guidelines and solutions to meet clients’ particular challenges.

We have developed and implemented security guidelines and solutions for both private and governmental clients from financial industry leaders to Fortune 500 companies and world-renowned universities.  

Eve Hinman was instrumental in the development of both the original U.S. Department of State (DOS) Architect and Engineering Guidelines in 1983 and the original U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Criteria in 1995 and she continues to contribute to the updated revisions of the ISC Security Design Criteria. Eve developed criteria for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and wrote multiple publications for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including the Primer for Design of New Buildings to Mitigate Terrorist Acts and the Handbook for Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings to Evaluate Terrorism Risks (FEMA 455), for which she was principal author. Eve was also a member of a National Academy of Science panel tasked with reviewing the explosive testing program of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), which has received DoD funding to research state-of-the-art blast mitigating construction materials and methods.

Site/Lease Acquisition

Building retrofits can be costly.  Hinman's recommendations help you decide which sites, buildings or lease spaces will satisfy your return on investment goals. 

Our proprietary cost-benefit indicator tool will compare physical security threats and assets so you can anticipate or avoid future construction expenses. For selected sites, Hinman will suggest the highest value and most cost-effective protective measures.

Existing Building Assessment & Retrofit

Hinman creates retrofit solutions that preserve the beauty and monument of historic buildings while creating the most feasible security solutions, given building constraints and costs.

Many older, now historic structures were not designed with potential explosive attacks in mind. It is, therefore, challenging for these buildings to meet new security requirements, particularly when they are located in urban settings with little standoff. 

We conduct blast vulnerability assessments and provide comprehensive information that weighs the ability of existing buildings to meet anti-terrorism requirements with potential mitigation solution impacts and costs.  

Hinman will propose achievable levels of protection in proportion to budget constraints and ensure clients have enough information to understand possible returns-on-investment for any facility. This allows clients to make informed security decisions that balance risk and cost requirements. 

We work with project teams to implement constructible defensive retrofits that preserve the historic aesthetic of buildings and provide appropriate levels of protection.

Hinman retrofit design experience includes: vulnerability assessments and upgrades to existing building facades and structures, and internal lobby, parking and mailroom upgrades.

New Buildings

Hinman's involvement throught all phases of projects means we will walk with clients from the Feasibility Design through Construction Administration.

Working with our clients from the earliest design stages allows Hinman the opportunity to optimize building occupant protection while limiting costs and architectural vision impacts.

Whether you are planning moderate to low level protection features or a high-risk and critical facility, Hinman has the experience you need. We have assisted design, design-build and design-bid-build project teams in all phases of design and construction.

Performing introductory high level planning and cost-benefit analyses for selected site(s) and building(s) help client make informed decisions based on threat, asset and vulnerability attributes. We will also help determine protective design criteria, as needed.

On the job, we’ll work with design teams to incorporate appropriate physical facility protections.

A client’s structural design requirements will be evaluated using Hinman’s proprietary computer modeling to mitigate the effects of defined threats. This evaluation allows us to make site, architectural, ingress/egress, and MEP building systems recommendations, giving holistic solutions to mitigate potential damages, and facilitate evacuations and rescue efforts.

For lower risk projects, our solutions follow best practices to secure buildings without explicit hardening.

Hinman approaches projects collaboratively. Our commitment to close-working relationships with design teams and timely responses ensure security requirements are seamlessly integrated in every project.

Our structural engineers understand building structures and how to integrate extreme loads in design. Best of all, they know how to make it happen within clients’ economic, constructible and aesthetic constraints.

Master Planning

Hinman maximizes design efficiency through master planning services that integrate both protective design considerations and client needs. 

Hinman incorporates physical security, phasing, and construction considerations in our master planning models. Requirements for site designs, including structural layouts, critical utilities, vehicle and pedestrian accesses, and location and analysis of active and passive anti-ram barriers are considered, as well as protective design needs, construction-avoidance issues, time savers, and prevention of potentially costly modifications.

Peer Review

Hinman’s senior staff, with its extensive structural design expertise, provides independent and objective technical reviews for complex and extreme loading conditions.  

As peer reviewers, our philosophy is to partner with structural engineers in approaching analysis and design, ensuring governing code intent and criteria are properly implemented. At each stage of design, we review drawings and calculations to ensure conformance and improve performance, constructability and cost.

Value Engineering

Hinman’s expertise in conventional construction materials and processes coupled with in-depth understanding of extreme loads on structures makes our input a valuable addition to any evaluation team.

Hinman staff experts offer value engineering studies for proposed construction projects. Our experience has exposed the team to a wide variety of construction conditions and solutions, which we draw upon when evaluating cost effective alternatives. Because our expertise centers on situations where loads are beyond design levels, we bring an intuitive feel for the best approaches to use on any project.

Our relationship with specialty product manufacturers (windows, doors, and walls) allows us to quickly access design and cost data.

Hinman value engineering studies have included critical facilities such as: an emergency call center, a military research laboratory, a federal courthouse, military operations centers, and embassies in volatile locations.


Hinman engineers investigate and evaluate sources of physical damage through careful observation of conditions and debris fields caused by explosions. 

Eve Hinman, one of the few non-emergency response experts permitted on site after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, was listed as an expert witness in the Timothy McVey trial. Her findings can be found in Lessons from the Oklahoma City Bombing, Defensive Design Techniques, a book she co-authored with David Hammond. Eve has has testified in numerous federal court cases.  

In addition to building explosions, Hinman evaluates industrial tank and boiler blasts. 

Expertise in investigative explosive incidents includes: methane and propane gas explosions; petrochemical vapor cloud explosions; ammonium nitrate (AN); and fuel oil (ANFO) improvised explosive attack; and munitions destruction. 

Building construction types investigated include: unreinforced masonry, non-ductile reinforced concrete, precast concrete, and timber construction. 

Members of Hinman’s senior staff can also investigate seismic and hurricane damage along with construction defects. Hinman has three certified ATC-20 post-disaster trained engineers available to assist in assessment and recovery following a seismic event.

Product Development

With our vast industry experience, we are poised to offer advice and help develop strong and reliable market-relevant blast products. After working with Hinman, clients will be sure their product is needed and meets protective design requirement.

The first step in any new technology development process is to identify appropriate markets, buyers and market sizes. Because of our extensive experience as designers and consultants in the protective design field, we are ideally suited to understand and make recommendations regarding marketplace and industry needs.

Once identified, we will develop validation programs to support your products. Often this involves analytical and physical modeling, as well as developing simplified design tools or software to predict various configuration behaviors.

If explicit physical testing is required, we coordinate complete custom testing programs  which could include:

  • developing and overseeing test programs,
  • advising on appropriate facilities,
  • developing finite element (FE) models to reduce the number of physical tests required,
  • interpreting physical test results, calibrating FE models to physical results, and
  • developing simplified software tools to predict the performance of the product over a range of applications.
Market Research

Your product will be well-positioned to compete with available solutions because of Hinman’s protective design industry knowledge. 

Through our research, you will also learn which market areas and sizes will align with new product performance benefits. 

Hinman steps outside performance bounds to explore broader market values for new products because we recognize that performance is just one component in establishing potential successes of new products, technologies or materials.

Hinman offers clients a wealth of knowledge to guide new products to appropriate markets.

Physical Testing

Testing for meaningful results is critical. Hinman closely collaborates with clients and other stakeholders to develop project-specific tests to collect vital data.  

Before physical testing, Hinman will identify which critical system configurations should be validated and assist in studying comparative system behaviors. We provide virtual testing (analysis) to reduce both physical test outcome uncertainties and the number of expensive physical tests.

Throughout the testing process Hinman will play an active role by:

  • Specifying test protocol
  • Supporting efforts to secure a valued test site
  • Providing guidance with respect to test specimen construction
  • Supervising testing
  • Managing data collection
  • Preparing test reports
Advanced Modeling

Analytical modeling, conducted before physical testing, allows clients to refine designs and keep testing to a minimum.

Physical testing is a vital but costly opportunity to understand product responses to extreme loading scenarios. Results from physical tests enable Hinman to calibrate advanced Finite Element (FE) models. These analytical models provide simulated and validated behaviors of untested, but similar, component configurations, avoiding the need for repeated and costly physical testing.

Hinman’s advanced structural analysis team uses the state-of-the-art, non-linear, transient, dynamic finite element program, LS-DYNA, to evaluate structural responses to extreme loading.