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March 28, 2022
Project: EvergreenHealth Critical Care Unit
Client: EvergreenHealth/KMD Architects
Faced with a likely overload of its facilities’ ability to handle airborne infections during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to acute public health care, EvergreenHealth’s administrators asked P2S to conduct a feasibility study for changes to a planned remodel. Original plans to add four new critical care rooms suddenly expanded to 20 rooms that could convert to negative-pressure isolation rooms as soon as possible.
Negative-pressure hospital rooms prevent infectious illnesses from invading other public spaces. The construction of these rooms is so tight that a pressure difference is measurable between the patient room and adjacent corridors and rooms. These rooms require floor-to-structure sealed walls and additional exhaust air to suck outside air under the doors and through cracks to maintain negative air pressure.
For this effort, P2S worked directly with Dirtt Environmental Services to develop a custom extended wall panel that enables sealing to the existing structure to create an isolated negative pressure room.
P2S and Dirtt also collaborated to develop a flex gas system, which allows medical gas hookups to be integrated into the Dirtt wall using flexible interior piping. This innovation accommodates construction coordination changes without time-consuming and costly replacement of standard piping. The newly developed walls provide connection points for compressed air, medical gases, and other necessary patient room utilities.
The innovation of integrating utilities and medical gases into the wall system created significant time savings during the construction coordination phase of the project and ultimately saved EvergreenHealth precious time and resources. This flex gas system has since been used extensively in Dirtt wall systems throughout North America, and P2S continues to provide consulting for health care code compliance for Dirtt’s development of helpful new technologies.
When the project scope expanded from four to 20 isolation-capable rooms with ventilators, P2S worked closely with the general contractor and architect to design and install new HVAC equipment on the roof. This design was a complex undertaking, with the ventilation demands for the third-floor rooms requiring twice the amount of above-ceiling ductwork as standard installed in minimal space.
With safety a priority, air exhausted from the CCU rooms is heavily treated. The new systems include HEPA filters and 100% redundant exhaust fans to ensure that the isolation exhaust system is always functional, even during routine maintenance.
The installation and design of many complex and large mechanical systems in a confined area presented complex challenges that required close collaboration between the architect, P2S and other design consultants, and the construction team. The teams completed the final functioning unit within the project budget and timeline, even when construction was taking place in a working hospital under potentially dangerous pandemic conditions.