A friend of mine recently went to an eye appointment at a doctor’s office where outpatient surgeries are performed. The floor was noticeably shaking as a result of vibration energy from the air handling unit directly above the office. He asked the doctors if they have problems with sensitive medical instrumentation, such as data that seem erroneous. While the doctors didn’t directly admit to having any problems, he could see the look of concern and alarm on their faces, as if my friend had psychic powers to know something was wrong with their instruments. They were extremely interested in what my friend told them about how excessive vibration can be the source of errors, which apparently hadn’t occurred to them before.
Vibration problems are best prevented in the design stage when structural issues can be addressed and low noise and vibration mechanical equipment can be specified. Sensitive medical or magnifying equipment should ideally be located in ground level rooms to minimize floor vibration. Alternatively, provisions to minimize vibration on upper floors should be made early in the project so that the structure can be stiffened, the mechanical equipment properly vibration isolated or both. Overlooking these issues during the design stage could result in remedial corrections that are costly or not feasible after the building is finished. The new FGI Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities sets objective standards for healthcare vibration that designers are now required to meet.
At Acoustics By Design, we specialize in designing solutions for healthcare noise and vibration issues. As an independent engineering firm, our objective is to work with architects, engineers, and healthcare professionals to offer solutions that are tailored for each unique project and stand the test of time.