Design Firm Collaborates with Hospitals

Design Firm Collaborates with Hospitals, Engineering ‘Old School’ Solution to Ventilation

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

When COVID-19 hit, healthcare execs were thinking outside the box about how best to prepare their patient rooms and hallways with optimal ventilation to meet the looming pandemic.

BSA LifeStructures was right there with them.

BSA Compliance Officer Sam Reed says nearly three months ago, as hospital execs were prepping for anticipated patients with cases of coronavirus, they called upon the design firm for solutions.

“Our healthcare clients in the St. Louis region and beyond were seeking to engineer a simple yet effective solution,” said Reed. “Knowing that materials supply chains were already constricting (in early March), they called us with a strategy to purchase specialized box fans for the windows of their ICU rooms and hallways. Their goal was to keep these spaces safe from the potential spread of COVID-19.”

BSA received that initial phone call from hospital execs on a Wednesday afternoon. After a follow-up call the next day with a green light to proceed, BSA worked well into the night to research, engineer and test for a solution. By Saturday of that same week, BSA’s solution was implemented by a team of internal hospital staff aided by contractors.

The solution? Determining the static pressures on the fans, mitigating noise and ensuring negative air pressure in the targeted spaces. “We compared the air pressure in these patient rooms and hallways with that in the other rooms within the suites,” Reed said. “We calculated that we could simply cut off the return air on the floor and exhaust it directly out of these rooms with the box fans. The solution met hospitals’ immediate needs in a cost-effective way. Thankfully the (COVID-19) surge did not impact our clients as greatly as anticipated. But this solution remains as a viable alternative for any future scenarios like this one that our valued healthcare clients may face.”

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