Containment Systems are becoming more of a priority for Restoration, Renovation and/or Construction projects due to the need to conduct business as usual during what would normally require times of business interruption and disruption. A containment system allows an area(s) of a building structure to be isolated to ensure the safety of employees, patients and/or patrons, and allows for optimal working conditions for businesses to remain operational. When used properly, containment systems solve any temporary containment problem or situation that calls for isolating an environment.
The Challenge / Situation
How do you contain dust and debris on renovation projects? How do you protect employees, patients, patrons and workers from debris and noise from restoration and construction projects? How can you ensure you have a containment system that meets ICRA Class IV requirements for healthcare and life sciences environments? How do you protect high tech data systems and equipment when you need to renovate the structures surrounding them?*
Containment systems are used in many industries, including but not limited to: Office Buildings Academic Institutions, Airports, Hospitals/Healthcare Environments, and other Commercial and Residential environments.
*Some examples of utilizing containment systems may include:
- Corporate Office: Installation won’t disrupt the flow of business; business can continue while restoration and/or construction is underway due to the sound attenuating wall panels.
- Educational Institutions: Make smaller spaces out of large ones and section off areas of a building while construction is taking place to avoid noise, debris and dust disturbances.
- Data Centers: Keep critical systems and equipment clear of dust and debris — and easily reconfigure the panels/containment as requirements change and layout of server room changes.
- Healthcare and Hospital Environments: Create and build spaces that comply with ICRA Class IV protocols and maintain negative pressure and the highest clean environment standards.
- Hospitality: Maintain business and accommodation of guests and ensure they are not disturbed by noise and dust during renovation and construction projects.
Construction and renovation projects are known to increase levels of dust as well as disturb and release harmful bacteria and mold and/or noise disruption. The CDC estimates that 5,000 people die every year from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) linked to construction and renovations.*
Healthcare facilities (hospitals, urgent care facilities, assisted living facilities, surgical centers) need an effective temporary containment system in place to reduce the spread of infection. But when planning for a proper containment strategy, there are vital questions that need to be asked before making a decision on a containment system. Further, industries outside of healthcare are learning the benefit of containment for restoration and construction projects on a small and large scale. Protecting people and creating a healthy, safe environment should always be the priority of businesses.
Identifying a proven, effective containment system is an important and sometimes critical consideration for restoration and construction projects. Temporary containment for fire, water, smoke, mold or other restoration situations is important to ensure areas outside the affected area are not contaminated and/or exposed during critical stages. Temporary containment solutions hide the mess of renovations with a temporary construction barrier that blends into the background, is airtight, simple to install/dismantle, and reusable for the next project (if not purchased, the system can be rented for one-off projects).*
Contemporary containment should have the ability to be installed, moved and reconfigured over and over again. Also, it is more environmentally friendly than traditional drywall containment that gets disposed at the end of a project.*
Primary Benefits of a reliable containment system should include the following features and performance specifications which allow for construction and restoration companies to work effectively and efficiently within a work space and provide a contained environment to support whatever the situation calls for.
- Clean exterior for finished appearance; visually attractive/professional
- Durable metal construction
- Simple installation and dismantle – connection systems that don’t require multiple tools/brackets
- Airtight system
- Dustless installation and removal
- Sound attenuating; reduces airborne noise
- A ‘green’ solution – no disposal waste
Ideal Performance Specifications:*
- The modular system is engineered to required standards for temporary partitions for interior applications (to support various environments)
- Humidity controlled
- Interior non-load bearing applications
- Chemical compatibility: May be cleaned or disinfected with all common water and solvent based cleaners and disinfectants
Choosing an appropriate, innovative containment system should keep you in business through and during restoration and renovation construction projects. Inherently, it saves time and money because business can continue during times that companies are usually forced to stop business. For contractors, having the right system provides time savings if it allows for easy setup and installation. Optimal containment solutions allow for 50 feet of wall panels to be installed in 30 minutes. Multiple panel sizes and accessories allow for a containment system to accommodate the setting and environment appropriate for the situation. Accessories include air panels, flexible corners and multiple doors.*
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. Along with purchasing and/or renting a temporary containment system, below are other traditional methods of containment.
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.
Containment Systems are proven over and over again to be the best solution for isolating an environment based on the benefits that far outweigh alternative containment solutions.
In Summary, key benefits of an optimal containment system includes the following:*
- FAST: Easy to install and reconfigure to any environment/situation
- INFECTION CONTROL: Meets ICRA Class IV Containment Requirements
- QUIET: Reduces noise by 50%
- GREEN AND CLEAN: No Waste and Dustless
- ODORS AND DUST: Negative Pressure Capable
- ECONOMICAL: Can be purchased and reused or rented for short term temporary containment
- DURABLE: Engineered to last and rugged to handle small and large jobs
It’s also important to select the right company/contractor that has access to innovative containment systems, and are experts in the industry to identify appropriate containment no matter the environment. Companies that leverage best-in-class containment solutions understand the need to invest in people that are certified and trained under Infection Control Risk Management (ICRA) or Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) – certification and standard for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. These companies also understand Infection control, prevention strategies and facilities risk management.*
5 Most Common Questions on Temporary Containment*
Here, we list the 5 most common questions asked about containment and answer them.
1. What is negative air pressure and how can temporary containment systems achieve effective negative air?
Negative air pressure is defined allowing air to flow into the isolation room but not escape from the room, as air will naturally flow from areas with higher pressure to areas with lower pressure, thereby preventing contaminated air from escaping the room. Particles released into the air during healthcare facility construction projects can remain suspended in the air for hours, days, and even weeks. These particles can migrate into other areas of the facility and pose a threat to sensitive patients. A containment solution or system that has the ability to maintain negative air pressures allows for those particles to be properly isolated and contained.
2. Why does sound reduction matter during construction/renovation?
It’s no secret that noise increases during construction. With the demolition and rebuilding of healthcare facility areas to be expected, crews are bringing in and operating loud, but necessary, equipment. An increase in noise levels can disrupt daily operations and increase the risk to patient’s well-being. Sharp noises can cause high levels of stress which impact the heart and blood pressure and in some cases be deadly. Having the right containment solution can eliminate up to 50% of renovation noise, allowing businesses and daily operations to continue as normal.
3. Is an Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) a requirement for construction crews?
The CDC requires healthcare facilities to perform an Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) before any renovation, construction or repair project. ICRA Class IV designation states that 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.”
4. How does having an effective temporary containment system reduce downtime and labor costs?
Having a reusable temporary containment system that can be quickly installed, dismantled, and reinstalled greatly reduces downtime between phases and overall labor costs. Where traditional methods (drywall barriers or plastic sheeting) increase labor costs, due to the amount of time it takes to install and dismantle.*
5. Why does an aesthetically pleasing temporary wall matter during construction projects?
When to it comes installing a temporary containment wall for healthcare renovations, appearance might be the last thing the contractor is thinking about. But the truth is that having a containment wall that is both effective and has a professional appearance actually plays a huge role during the project.
Containment System Case Study Example
Location: Houston Hobby Airport
Situation: Water leaking situation around the TSA Security Desk was identified in the Houston Hobby Airport. The origin of the water leak, source of the water and damage was unknown and required an investigation while keeping this high traffic area of the airport in business so as to not interrupt daily operations.
Solution: An airtight, noise attenuating, easy to install containment system was installed around the area that required to be isolated and contained during the investigation. The containment system remained through renovation of this area that required water restoration and ultimately replacement of drywall and construction of the infected walls. This system provided an attractive solution that allowed business to continue and keep the restoration and renovation out of sight, and protected patrons from dust, debris and noise.