Health care facilities are a unique environment, because unlike many other buildings, there is a heightened focus on hygiene. Not just hygiene, but most parts of a healthcare facility need to be practically sterile and completely contaminant-free.
However, it’s inevitable that most healthcare facilities will also undergo construction work at some point in time. Whether it’s renovating an existing space or adding extra rooms, construction is always going to be a possibility. With construction comes a serious risk of contaminants such as fungal spores and other airborne particles. That’s where you need the top indoor air quality construction controls.
What is Air Quality Construction Control?
Air quality construction control means keeping the air clean around a construction site. Infection control is extremely important to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. So, the infection control team works with air quality control providers to plan contaminant elimination strategies.
This ensures that other parts of the building aren’t exposed to harmful airborne particles as a result of construction work taking place.
Why is it so important?
Most patients in a hospital have weakened or compromised immune systems. For people in good health walking past a construction site, there will likely be very little effect. However, if particles from construction make their way into the air supply of a hospital, the risk of infection is amplified. Fungal spores, for example, are harmless to most people, but for those with suppressed immune systems they can be fatal.
In addition, healthcare workers should be provided with safe working conditions, and that means keeping the air free of contaminants.
Several factors influence the strategies used to control air quality during construction. Opira works actively alongside both infection control staff as well as construction project managers to develop the perfect strategies for each construction project.
Here’s some of the things we consider when assessing the risks of contamination.
How big is the project? Is the work confined to one small room, or does it take place across several rooms or even floors? The larger the construction area, the higher the risk of contamination. Large projects will need much more robust air quality construction control techniques than a single-room project.
Potential number of contaminants
We need to assess what types of contaminants may be produced during construction. This will generally relate to the materials being used, and sometimes even the area materials are delivered from. No stone is left unturned in identifying potential risks, and this allows us to develop the right air quality control strategies for every job.
Building occupancy characteristics
This is where we look at how the building layout may increase or decrease the risk of contamination. While certainly not risk-free, if construction is taking place in an isolated part of the hospital with no current occupancy, the risk is decreased. However, if the construction area is more central it can present a higher risk. For example, do the construction crew need to frequently walk through occupied areas?
Consequences of exposure
Finally, we must analyse the consequences of exposure to occupants and equipment. Not all types of contaminants are the same, and therefore different situations may present a higher risk than others.
All of these factors, and more, inform our planning for air quality construction control in hospitals. Occupants are generally the most vulnerable, which is why Opira is committed to providing the highest standard in air quality control and environmental management strategies.