Renovation and construction projects often begin with containment of the area. Healthcare practitioners, general contractors, and facility staff need to be confident in temporary wall containment systems that provide sound attenuation, eliminates the introduction of dust and pathogens, can be easily installed and dismantled and allows for operations to continue without disruption. And, for healthcare and life science facilities, exceeding ICRA Class IV requirements is of paramount importance.
There are many different options in the containment/barrier management space. Choosing the right solution for your project requires a good understanding of the options. What is the most effective?
For years, drywall barriers have been the traditional option for contractors and restoration companies. These walls are typically constructed out of metal studs and sheetrock and take hours, sometimes days to erect. Often a barrier of poly sheeting must be erected to contain the dust and debris generated during the construction of the drywall partitions. After each use, these partitions have to be broken down and thrown away requiring a new structure be installed for each phase of work. Costs rise due to excessive labor hours, materials, and disposal fees that comes with drywall solutions. These barriers cannot be reused for other jobs, making them is expensive and the waste adds to our landfills.
Plastic Sheeting Partitions
Plastic sheeting containment is commonly constructed using metal studs, PVC piping or telescopic poles as a barrier frame then covered or wrapped with thick flame-resistant plastic sheeting. The process of erecting this kind of containment requires the measuring and cutting of sheeting to fit the area that needs to be contained. Similar to a tarp, plastic sheeting is easily damaged and must be repeatedly inspected for rips and tears. The sheeting is not easily cleanable and does not provide any sound reduction, and cannot meet ICRA Class IV requirements, which is necessary for the healthcare space. It also doesn’t hide the renovation work and looks sloppy.
Upon completion of the project, the plastic sheeting must be disposed of, the structure dismantled, and rebuilt with new sheeting for the next phase of work.
Polycarbonate Partition Systems
Polycarbonate partitions are sometimes used as a dust barrier in infection control containment solutions. These panel-configured walls come in multiple sizes, multiple levels of transparency and opacity, and can be fitted with custom fasteners and ports for integration with air control systems and other tools.
While many polycarbonate panel systems are cleanable and reusable, they are not very stable options and most do not seamlessly integrate into a facility’s look and aesthetic. They also do not reduce renovation noise very effectively. For healthcare organizations, the patient experience and satisfaction is critical. These are influenced by the facility design, creating a critical need for a pleasing aesthetic and the ability to reduce the disruptions from renovation.