In November 2019 HFL Consulting was acquired by SLR, a global leader in environmental and advisory solutions.

SLR has a team of over 1800 professionals delivering advice and support from a network of offices across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Canada, the USA and Latin America. Our expanded service offering means we can provide a unique blend of leadership, management, consulting, engineering and training services to businesses of all sizes across the process and allied industries. We can draw on many more ‘in house’ skills and services, including process, civil and structural engineering, environmental permitting and compliance, air quality, flood risk, ecology, acoustics and wastewater treatment.

HFL Consulting (now part of SLR)

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A global supplier of commodities was looking to store hazardous and non-hazardous substances for a major customer by extending existing facilities at one of its UK terminals.  The materials were classified as highly flammable, corrosive and dangerous to the environment, which in the quantities proposed would bring the site under the COMAH Regulations.

The Challenge

Safety and efficiency in design

In any new project, failure to comply with legislation and accepted good practice can lead to costly rework and delays.  Recognising the need to meet the expectations of the regulators, as well as satisfying the business case, the client approached us to produce a design and cost estimate for building the proposed new facility.

The design would need to:

  • Allow for sufficient storage and throughput to meet customer demand whilst minimising working capital
  • Provide for flexible and efficient ship-to-shore and road tanker loading/unloading with minimal manning levels
  • Comply with the latest safety and environmental standards for prevention of loss of primary, secondary and tertiary containment
  • Ensure that the risks to people onsite and offsite, and to the environment would remain ALARP


A design based on Lean priciples and accepted good practice

The Solution

  • 01

Development of a package to take to detailed design

By providing a multi-disciplined team of engineers and process safety professionals, supported by business improvement specialists, we could develop a design that would best meet the business needs for storage capacity and throughput, whilst complying with relevant standards and guidance for safety and protection of the environment.

Key Services

Business Diagnostics

Plant layout and optimisation

Data analysis to understand customer demand and optimise tank farm layout and operation

Safety Engineering

Process design

Process design in accordance with latest safety and environmental standards, design safety reviews for compliance with COMAH and DSEAR, and development of design documentation and cost estimates for detailed design and construction.

Regulatory Compliance


Guidance and support in relation to design, construction and operation for compliance with COMAH and ATEX / DSEAR.

Risk Assessments


Preliminary hazard study, Environmental Impact Assessment and guidance in relation to protection of people in occupied buildings on site.

The Results

By providing a cross-functional team of process engineers, safety specialists and business improvement professionals, we could meet the client’s business needs by delivering:

  • User Requirements Specification setting out the operational needs and regulatory requirements for the new facility
  • Design for the tank farm and ancillaries to facilitate ship-to-shore transfer operations and road tanker loading/unlading, taking into consideration Lean design principles
  • Specification of main plant items and cost estimates
  • Bund design and cost estimates
  • Review of ground conditions
  • Survey of above ground utilities  
  • Preliminary hazard studies
  • Environmental impact assessments
  • Cost estimate to ± 30% for detailed design and construction
  1. 01
    Design and layout to meet business demand
  2. 02
    Design compliant with accepted good practice guidance for safety and environmental protection
  3. 03
    Package developed for progression to detailed design
  4. 04
    Project commercial risks identified and assessed

Our understanding of the business case, together with our knowledge of the latest safety and environmental standards in design, led to the delivery of a package that would help minimise unnecessary spend and delays and allow the client to procure competitive tenders for detailed design with confidence.

Principal Consultant, HFL Consulting Ltd

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