Tag Archives: Certification

Temporary or Permanent? Increasing Hospital Capacity for the COVID-19 Crisis

Image above: Photo by Noah Berger courtesy of UCSF https://calmatters.org/health/coronavirus/2020/03/california-hospitals-coronavirus-shortage-ventilators-beds/

Temporary or Permanent? Increasing Hospital Capacity for the COVID-19 Crisis

In an effort to prepare for the projected number of patients who will need medical care during the COVID-19 crisis many hospitals are making rapid improvements to increase critical care capacity.  On March 17, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed emergency legislation providing $1.1B in additional state funds to increase hospital capacity, provide medical equipment, and implement other measures to address the outbreak.  According to current projections California is expected to face a shortfall of 4,000 to 20,000 hospital beds from its pre-crisis capacity.

Though some hospitals are erecting temporary accelerated care units (ACU’s), like at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center above, many existing hospitals and clinics will require ventilation modifications to make them safe for the care of COVID-19 patients.  With multiple waves of the pandemic possible, some are asking whether this capacity is really temporary or if we need this hospital capacity on a semi-permanent basis.

Negative Pressurization

Laboratory Exhaust Fan

Laboratory Exhaust Fan on Shake Table (via OSP-0223-10), courtesy of OSHPD

Many patient rooms in hospitals are designed to have net positive pressurization so outside pathogens stay away from vulnerable patients.  However, infectious disease wards typically require negative pressurization so germs get exhausted outside at high velocity and don’t spread throughout the facility.  Modifying hospital care facilities from positive to negative pressurization isn’t as simple as modifying fan speeds or directions.  The potentially harmful exhaust air must exit through an elevated stack and leave at a high velocity so it doesn’t come into contact with humans outside.  Also, additional outside air often requires rooftop makeup air units so treated fresh air can be cycled into these facilities.

Install Now, Permit Later

Makeup Air Unit on Shake Table

Makeup Air Unit on the Shake Table (Photo by Matt Settergren)

Due to the crisis, the State of California is waiving building permits for the emergency preparations needed for the expected influx of patients.  TRU Compliance certified manufacturers are rising to the challenge and are supporting rapid delivery of equipment needed for these hospital modifications.  TRU has confirmed with California State Officials that any emergency installations during this time will either need to be removed following the crisis or permitted in-place at a later date.  Given the expense of these modifications, hospital owners may want to select pre-approved and certified equipment and install it in a code-compliant manner so it can remain in place as we prepare for future waves of the virus.

Wind and Seismic Concerns

Though we need to first consider rapid expansion of hospital capacity, the ongoing aspects of this crisis mean that in seismic regions like California, equipment installed for this crisis should be seismically certified in order to remain after the crisis.  As we’ve seen in the M5.8 earthquake on March 18 near Salt Lake City, earthquakes are unpredictable and could happen at any time.  Similarly in high wind regions and with hurricane season approaching, wind certified equipment should be considered if a medical facility hopes to have the flexibility to convert to negative pressurization for this and future pandemics.

TRU Compliance is an accredited product certification agency ready to assist hospitals, manufacturers, and suppliers to assure that the equipment provided will be able to remain in place and ensure no lapses in certification during a period of enforcement.   Please feel free to contact the TRU Compliance team to discuss your rapid installation project, or for any certification needs at 844-TRU-0200 or info@trucompliance.com.

Find TRU Compliance certified equipment at https://trucompliance.com/certification-database/.

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What Distinguishes an ISO-Compliant Product Certification Agency?

Whether it’s fair-trade coffee, sustainably harvested lumber, energy efficient appliances, or other certified products, consumers and companies look for products that have high standards of origin, production, and performance. Structural Integrity Associates’ TRU Compliance mark is no different. Our mark shows buyers a product has undergone rigorous assessment for seismic, wind, and blast performance to nationally recognized standards.

However, not all agencies conform to the internationally recognized set of standards that govern a product certification agency, allowing it to be impartial, objective, and accountable to the public. The standard ISO/IEC 17065 Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services spells out requirements that make agencies like TRU Compliance accountable to its clients and to the public. The requirements in TRU Compliance’s Certification Manual are broad, but they generally fall into the three categories below.

Structural Requirements

An annual management review meeting occurs highlighting potential areas for improvement in quality and impartiality. An impartiality committee consisting of experts external to TRU Compliance convenes annually as well and reviews the steps TRU has taken to protect the objectivity of their certifications. This committee has the power to escalate issues to the SI’s Quality Assurance department, accrediting organizations, and to halt certification activities until their concerns are addressed.

Process Requirements
Product assessment is carried out to the TRU Compliance Certification Standard for Seismic, Wind, and Physical Security Performance, which references national standards from ASCE, ICC-ES, IEEE, ASTM, and others. This standard is available upon request by emailing info@trucompliance.com. The assessment is not offered in conjunction with any consulting activity and TRU Compliance certification engineers are precluded from working on assessments of products for which they provided design advice for a period of two years.

The evidence documenting a product performance is submitted to an expert member of the TRU Certification Decision Maker (CDM) roster who has not participated in the certification activities up to that point. The CDM reviews all pertinent information and makes the final decision on whether the certification can be granted.

After a product is granted a certification, the manufacturer submits their production process to periodic surveillance to make sure the products for market are well represented by the products submitted for testing or assessment. TRU staff will review records and make factory or point-of-sale inspections to confirm products can still be marked as TRU Compliance certified.

Public Accountability
TRU Compliance maintains public records of products it certifies on its Seismic Certification Database. Visitors can search and sort products rated for seismic certification, filtering for product category, seismic level, and building code. Manufacturers who label their products with a TRU certification mark are communicating to discerning buyers that their product has been subjected to industry standard by testing, analysis, or combinations thereof. The mark of conformity allows any user to search for the active listing to verify the product indeed has an active certification.

TRU Compliance is further accountable to the public with its system for public comment and complaints, which are overseen by Structural Integrity’s Quality Assurance team (reachable at 877-4SI-POWER). This process allows anyone to file a grievance if they believe a certified product is not in conformance and for the management of TRU Compliance to be held accountable to SI’s Quality Assurance department.

With the certification program going active July 2018 and external accreditation expected in early 2019, the TRU Compliance certification has never been a more robust program for seismic, wind, and blast compliance of products.

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