5 Containment Questions for Healthcare Project Pre-Planning

Our healthcare contractor customers have shared reams of notes from the field with us over the years. One thing is clear: healthcare contractors have ‘settled’ for traditional, often inferior, methods for containment challenges for far too long. Methods which can create as many problems as they solve, contributing to unnecessary safety risks, missed deadlines and budget overruns - and no one wants that. Addressing these five questions early will help you construct a containment plan which avoids those costly problems.

Never underestimate the value of “measure twice, cut once,” right?

Bonus! Here’s a quick-tip sheet guide to use while scoping your next healthcare projects.

Download Tip Sheet 

How do You Design Patient and Staff Safety into the Project?

You know patient safety is paramount in healthcare settings. One way industry experts recommend to plan for patient and staff safety in the constantly changing healthcare environment is by conducting an assessment of safety risks related to the use of space during your design and planning phase. Conducting a thorough Safety Risk Assessment (SRA) - along with an ICRA - and building the findings into your containment plan will help ensure sustained compliance with risk mitigation efforts during construction. Take a look at how our reusable modular containment solutions are designed to exceed safety requirements and meet the ongoing demands of your healthcare projects. 

How Many Project Phases Are Planned? 

When your answer to this question approaches two or more phases, it’s time to look seriously at how prefabricated modular wall systems reduce time, costs and dependencies. The speed and simplicity of modular wall systems benefit Project Managers and Supers in three key ways:

  • Reducing initial labor and material costs of multiple phases - and overtime labor when the project calls for scheduling outside normal hours
  • Minimizing uncertainties and scheduling conflicts with hospital staff or subcontractors
  • Creating a time buffer for other inevitable project unknowns - up to 15 days in a five-phase project. 

What Did Our Hazard Assessment Identify for Potential Contaminants, And Did We Include Drywall as a Potential Contaminant? 

You are ahead of the game if you answered “yes” to including drywall as a potential contaminate. Why? The National Institute of Health’s training program in Environmental Health Sciences estimated over 2 million incidences of Healthcare Associated Infections and 99,000+ deaths annually from ‘opportunistic pathogens’ - a portion of which are directly related to hospital maintenance and renovation. One of those pathogens, Aspergillus, is ‘found naturally [in many things] including drywall, plaster, dust, and concrete powder.

Cheaper alternatives add additional risks, as our customer Peter Hauer explains: “With a conventional temporary wall installation like drywall, if you bumped into it you would have cuts and tears. There’s no infection control when there’s a breach in the wall that can lead to the potential of dust and contaminants. That’s not the case with STARC Systems.” - Peter Hauer, Field Superintendent at Mortenson

What’s more, dust and debris from drywall removal becomes an additional risk if not properly contained.

Does our Containment Plan Address All ICRA Requirements - Including Negative Air?

As a healthcare contractor, you are well aware of the importance of the required Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) before any healthcare system or hospital renovation, construction or repair project.

For containment, ICRA Class IV - the highest risk group assessment classification - states hospitals must “construct barriers to prevent dust and dangerous pathogens from entering patient care areas and ensure that barriers are impermeable to fungal spores and in compliance with local fire codes.” 

You may remember from ICRA training that particles released during renovation can be suspended for hours, days or even weeks. Air will naturally flow from areas with higher pressure to areas with lower pressure. Negative air pressure allows air to flow into the isolation room and prevents air and particles from escaping the room.  Achieving negative air in a containment plan to prevent particle migration is an understandably heightened priority for today’s healthcare renovations. 

Read how our modular walls and panels and their pre-engineered components achieve negative air and exceed ICRA-IV requirements. And, here’s a round-up of what to know about ICRA in healthcare facilities.

How Close to Patient Caregiving and Employee Work Areas? 

Finally, a quiet and safe environment is paramount during occupied healthcare renovation. Heavy equipment, material movement, even extra foot traffic in most areas of a hospital can negatively impact patient recovery, wellbeing, and satisfaction - as well as caregiver productivity. Our RealWall™ modular wall systems are engineered with foam core panels which reduce up to 50% of excess renovation noise and eliminate disruption

Interested in More Information on STARC Systems?

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