Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 232).
Well that escalated fast!
Hopefully the virus lock downs resolve quickly and we can all get back to business. However, will things change in the built environment due to the virus?
I can’t stop thinking about the hospitals and medical facilities I have worked on. Without naming projects, many consisted of:
- VAV systems i.e. large volumes of recirculated air without real control of outside air.
- Poor construction leading to poor pressure regime control.
- Mould issues due to infiltration from poor design, construction and maintenance.
- Poor or zero humidity control.
- Blocked or incorrect AHU filtration.
- No UV lighting on cooling coils.
- Incorrect spacing of patient beds leading to infection control issues.
I could go on but in an infection crisis, all the above are unacknowledged issues in 80% of hospitals.
BTW: A VAV AHU with a full “unit” sized outside air damper i.e. it is not sized for authority, that purports to control (regulate) and ensure correct outside air to meet building code and IAQ requirements is a lie. Any design engineer that signs off on this is IMHO, open to a malpractice lawsuit.
Generally AHJ’s, building code legislation and good practice lag real world requirements. Lessons have to be learnt the hard way. My hope is that following this virus crisis a re-evaluation of hospital and medical facility design will happen. I also hope this re-evaluation leads to:
- DOAS and or displacement ventilation as a prime design feature.
- UV lighting on all AHU cooling coils.
- Radiant heating and cooling in common areas and patient rooms.
- VFD’s plus air monitors on all AHU’s to ensure design flow rates and pressure regimes are maintained as filters clog.
- Uncompromising humidity control.
- Uncompromising room to room pressurization control.
- Uncompromising building pressurization control.
Unless ASHRAE guides, HTM’s (UK) and building codes require the above, they will not happen. Also, it is time to move away from VAV to more efficient, systems that can achieve reliable persistence of control and therefore performance.
Stay safe everyone.
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