Aternative Design and Equivalents Studies

Equivalence is a principle present in every IMO instruments. After 2000, Alternative Design principle was added for more clarity in SOLAS convention for Fire Safety, Life Safety Appliances, Machinery and Electricity. In 2013, IMO recommended a procedure (IMO/MSC/Circ. 1455) for enabling shipyards, owners and regulatory bodies to perform risk based studies to demonstrate all types of equivalence or alternative design and arrangements.

This process is based on risk models and advanced simulations, and requires to settle Risk Control Options and to prove their efficiency to the Flag Administration. In that field Tecnitas has available models, acceptable criteria principles and experience in reporting to Flag Administrations. Tecnitas has also excellent records in management of such projects that involve several stakeholders i.e. shipyard, owner, class, Flag, Port Authorities. A dedicated Tecnitas team manages these studies.

  • Fire Safety

Alternative Design and Arrangements for Fire Safety studies are required when the designers, the shipyard or the owner wish a design feature that does not meet SOLAS Chap II-2 requirements on Fire Safety (Reg.17, IMO/MSC/Circ. 1002 and IMO/MSC/Circ. 1455).

Alternative Designs are frequently asked by shipyards and owners, especially in Europe and particularly for Passenger Ships. The main topics concern the large Main Vertical Zones (length larger than 48 m and/or surface larger than 1600 m²) and for composite materials (prohibited in SOLAS as these materials lose their mechanical properties at elevated temperature, participate to the fire and produce additional toxic gas).  

These studies define fire scenarios that challenge the deviations of risks compared to a conventional design. Then simulations or tests are used to demonstrate that even in these challenging conditions, the alternative design has a safety level at least equal to the conventional design.

  • Life Safety Appliances

Tecnitas performs Alternative Design studies for Life-Saving Appliances (e.g. oversized) and arrangements in accordance with MSC/Circ. 1212. These studies typically include risk assessments and time domain simulations of the abandonment process.

  • Other Alternative or Equivalent Design

Tecnitas also supports clients in other Alternative or Equivalent Design studies to be presented to Class and Flag concerning requirements of SOLAS, MARPOL, IGF, IGC, Polar Code… in accordance with MSC/Circ. 1455. That relates to any code or convention text that includes an “Equivalent” section. Most of the examples involve deviations from regulatory values. Many of these limiting values were selected at high level to prevent some risks that were foreseen originally. Based on know-how and risk based methods, it can be easily proven that a satisfactory level of safety is achieved by a specific design.