Dust Containment at a Health Care Facility

By Todd Fratzel on Safety

Containing Dust at Nursing Home During Renovation Work

Dust certainly seems to be one of the hottest safety topics in the construction industry for the last few years since the EPA announced sweeping new Lead Paint Laws. Working in and around health care facilities increases the possibility of infection transfer according to recent studies. Obviously contractors that work in these type of facilities need to take extra precautions to contain the dust and prevent it from entering the patient areas.

ZipWall Dust Barrier with 20 ft Spring Loaded PolesBecause of all the press and education on the topic of construction related dust, I’d like to share with all of you a recent renovation project at a local nursing home. We were hired to install a window between a common hallway and a lounge area. The hallway is the main entrance to over 1/2 of the rooms in the facility. In order to keep people moving while we worked we decided to “tent off” a small area within the hall such that workers could access the renovation zone and residents/staff could still walk by without restriction.

Dust Containment Options

Over the years we’ve used several different options when containing jobsite dust. On large long term projects we’ll usually build a temporary wall from studs and plywood. Temporary walls are great at keeping out the dust and also keeping down noise. However, they are time consuming and quite expensive to install. Another approach we’ve used is attaching plastic to pieces of wood strapping and nailing the strapping to the walls and ceilings to hold the plastic in place. This too can be quite time consuming yet effective.

Over the last year we’ve started using a new line of products from ZipWall. ZipWall offers all sorts of dust containment products designed specifically for the construction and renovation industry. They offer an entire system of poles, rails, zippers, and other products that help you quickly install a very professional dust containment system.

ZipWall Dust Barrier Hallway of Nursing Home

ZipWall Speeds Nursing Home Renovation

Recently my crew had a small renovation project to complete at a nursing home. The scope of work included installing a window between a busy hallway and an activity room. The window would allow residents to see the activities going on and the window would let more natural light from the room into the hallway.

The project required us to cut a large 6′ wide hole through drywall and framing. This would potentially let dust enter not only the activity room but also the busy hallway that leads to the residences rooms. So our challenge was containing the dust while not shutting down the busy hallway or interrupting the day to day operation of the facility.

We used a combination of ZipWall products to quickly build a very professional looking, effective dust containment system that didn’t damage any of the existing finishes including paint, plaster or ceilings. The products we used included:

  • 20′ Aluminum Poles (We used these in the tall space). These are sold with the Kit 20.
  • 10′ ZipPole which are steel and are the most commonly used poles (we used these in the hallway with lower ceiling heights). These are sold with the ZipPole™ 2-Pack.
  • ZipRail™ Dual Seal was used for both containments. These let you easily seal the ceiling and floor using a single pole. The top and bottom essentially use one of the ZipWall 4′ Foam Rails at the top and bottom. The foam rail seals the plastic to the surface without the need for tape or other adhesives.
  • We also installed a Standard ZipDoor™ Kit for each of the dust containment areas. The doors easily allow workers to come and go from the space while helping to keep dust contained to the work area.

ZipWall Dust Barrier Door

The ZipWall Difference

I’m always skeptical of new products and the claims that are often attached to them. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how quick, easy and effective the products from ZipWall are. Our crew was able to build two dust containment enclosures in less than an hour. The enclosures were neat, professional looking and most importantly very effective. Management at the nursing home complimented how neat and orderly the entire process was. Ultimately, the products from ZipWall made a huge difference in not only how we were perceived from the client but also on the bottom line.

ZipWall products are now part of our permanent dust control approach. I’ve seen first hand how effective they are and know that when we use this product we’ll be a step ahead of our competition.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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