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April 2010

LE GROUPE GESFOR OFFERS COMPLETE SPECIFICATIONS FOR INSPECTION, MAINTENANCE, AND SANITATION OF CONTAMINATED HEATING, VENTILATION, AND AIR CONDITIONING (HVAC) SYSTEMS

IMPROVED PROJECT MANAGEMENT WITH PROCEDURES ADAPTED FOR HEALTHCARE ESTABLISHMENTS TO PREVENT RISKS OF FUNGAL AND BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION

• Le Groupe Gesfor Poirier, Pinchin inc. has developed complete specifications for inspection, maintenance, and sanitation of HVAC systems contaminated by mould and/or asbestos, along with a section dedicated to the prevention of nosocomial infections, in conformance with the requirements of CSA standard Z317.13-07.

Since 2001, when a case of contamination of the HVAC system caused the deaths of three immunocompromised patients in a Montreal hospital and required closing the operating room for nearly six months, two guides have been written, one by Health Canada in 2001, and another in 2002 by la Régie régionale de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal-Centre (Montréal Regional Health and Social Services Board). A standard, entitled Infection Control During Construction, Renovation, and Maintenance of Health Care Facilities (CSA Z317.13-07), was also established in 2003 and revised in 2007. Despite these guidelines, few contractors apply all specificities to their proposals. Moreover, project managers are not always aware of the technicalities outlined in guides, standards, or their recent updates.

Many project managers receive submittals to control dust in HVAC systems based on specifications that do not include the recent changes made to the standard, even if these changes make a difference in regards to prevention. In fact, some submittals completely omit dispositions such as using a HEPA filtration system or a work enclosure, neglecting work-related risks that could lead to disastrous consequences. The days of applying the same specification to every scenario are now over.

The team of experts at Le Groupe Gesfor has resolved this problem by writing new specifications for inspection, maintenance, and sanitation of contaminated HVAC sytems. These specifications have been adapted for the needs of hospitals and other health and social services facilities in Quebec.

According to Daniel Tapp, specialist in inspection and sanitation of HVAC systems, the development of the specifications helps prevent risks of fungal and bacterial contamination by enabling project managers to evaluate more precisely the work involved in inspecting, maintaining and sanitizing HVAC systems, and to make informed decisions when granting projects to contractors. Robert Labrecque, director of the Industrial Hygiene Department at Le Groupe Gesfor, says that the development and application of the adapted specifications facilitate management and control of sanitation projects, bringing quality and efficiency standards to a higher level than ever before.
 

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