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Best of health

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A new report, High Performance Hospitals using Concrete Frames and Cladding, sets out the benefits of using flat-slab concrete framing for hospitals.

This fast option offers benefits of robustness, fire resistance, sound insulation and vibration control - important in areas such as operating theatres and night wards. Only small increases in mass and depth are needed to control vibration compared with steel frames, which need considerable vibration damping.

The report points out that concrete is well suited, especially for the heavy servicing of hospitals, with services generally the most critical part of construction cost and time; services can be readily prefabricated and installed without the need to thread them through beams or negotiate downstands.

Slab openings for risers can be pre-formed or cut later.

Flat slabs also suit what can be miles of partitioning that needs to be airtight;sealing wall head-to-soffit joints is essential to prevent airborne cross-contamination.

Flat concrete soffits can thus significantly reduce partitioning costs, says the report; a saving equal to 4 per cent of the frame costs was made on a recent project. Similarly, concrete's inherent fire resistance not only eliminates the need for continuing fire protection maintenance programmes but also avoids surfaces that could harbour accumulated bacteria.

High Performance Hospitals using Concrete Frames and Cladding is available free of charge from The Concrete Centre. Tel 07004 500 500 or visit www. concretecentre. com

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