7-Jun-2012

Building within mission critical facilities

Abstract

It is not always practical to close down areas or halt production in a high care (mission critical) environment during construction work. Construction can be a major contributor to HAIs and the same strict cross-contamination controls used within environments such as the pharmaceutical industry are transferable to this sector. Due care and attention demanded in cleanroom facilities should be applied to all high care environments, including hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes, food processing and packaging plants, as well as research and development laboratories

Figure 1: Hereford County Hospital and the dust-proof acoustic segregation within working hospital wards over three floors

Projects in high care environments require specialist skills to minimise contamination risks and work disruption. Adam Bell, managing director of Building Projects (UK) outlines best practice and new approaches.

Over the past decade there has been a definite rise in demand for skills and experience of working with high care environments. While construction is a necessity, it is not always possible or practical to close down areas or halt production in a high care (mission critical) environment; it has to be business as usual for clients.

Whether from the public or private sector, construction companies have to understand the client’s objectives and identify what the impact of the work could be on their facilities, users and stakeholders.

There are often additional risks or implications for high care environments, particularly in the healthcare sector. One of its major concerns is minimising the potential risk of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) and protecting patients and staff during a construction project.

Construction can be a major contributor to HAIs and the same strict cross-contamination controls used within environments such as the pharmaceutical industry are transferable to this sector. And with changes in NHS directives resulting in stricter control procedures within health centres, the same protection and risk management needs to be transferred to these types of environment.

It is key that building companies have experience of working in different types of high care environments so that skills and techniques developed to increase effective-ness and to minimise contamination potential in comparable sectors can be shared.

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