Alternative Design & Equivalent Studies

Alternative Design & Equivalent Studies

The principle of equivalence is present in all International Marine Organization (IMO) instruments. It is used to demonstrate that a trial alternative design is as safe as standardized designs or arrangements. Alternative Design and equivalent studies enable shipyards, owners, and regulatory bodies to perform risk-based studies that demonstrate all types of equivalence.

Specifically, the Alternative Design regulations in SOLAS — available since 2000 — are provided for Fire Safety, Life Safety, Appliances, Machinery, and Electricity.

Today, every feature of a ship’s design must conform to specific requirements. However, shipowners, designers, and/or the shipyard may sometimes request a feature that does not conform to an IMO instrument’s specific requirement.
An example is composite materials, which are lightweight, but not allowed because they lose their mechanical properties at high temperatures and produce toxic gas. In this case, shipowners need advice on alternative design approach to ensure an equivalent option for the requested feature.

  • Our 20 years of experience in developing Alternative Designs offers clients unrivaled insight into all types of equivalence procedures  
  • Our team of experts—specializing in naval architecture, marine engineering, regulations and risk analysis— provides the necessary advice to assess the consequences of deviations in terms of risk
  • Our cutting-edge digital simulation tools—including CFD and finite element solvers, CAD, and fire, explosion, and evacuation software—ensures your design equivalence

our offer

Fire safety

Bureau Veritas Solutions Marine & Offshore conducts studies to define fire scenarios that challenge risk deviations compared to conventional designs. We then use simulations to demonstrate your alternative design achieves a safety level equivalent to the conventional design, even in challenging conditions.

Life safety appliances

Bureau Veritas Solutions Marine & Offshore performs alternative design studies for life-saving appliances (i.e., oversized) and arrangements. These studies typically include risk assessments and time domain simulations for the abandonment process.

Other alternative or equivalent design studies

Bureau Veritas Solutions Marine & Offshore conducts alternative and equivalent design studies relating to SOLAS, MARPOL, IGF, IGC, and Polar Code requirements, in accordance with MSC/Circ. 1455. These studies are specific to any code or convention text that includes an “equivalent” section and involves deviations from regulatory values. Our in-depth knowledge of regulations and risk-based methods assure that your specific design achieves a satisfactory safety level.

What is Bureau Veritas Solutions Marine & Offshore

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Bureau Veritas Solutions Marine & Offshore is the Technical Advisory, Asset Management and Assurance Solutions provider within our Marine & Offshore activities. These services shall be performed independently from Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore regulated activities, such as classification and statutory certification.