Many of the world’s best and brightest minds operate in Healthcare and Scientific environments. Hospitals, Academic and Government Research Institutes, Healthcare Clinics, Medical Laboratories, Corporate R&D Centres: it is here where medical, scientific and technical breakthrough are first discovered, developed and then applied.
And operating right along side these professionals, helping them day-in, day-out to create the foundation for these advances are delicate, sensitive (and often expensive!) instrumentation and high-technology equipment.
Vibration Isolation of Sensitive Equipment
Some like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs) and CAT Scanners, DNA sequencing microarrays, Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM), Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) are so sensitive their performance and reliability are affected by vibration dynamics that would be virtually imperceptible by building occupants.
Unfortunately, all buildings vibrate due the hub of activity within and around them. From people, HVAC systems, pumps and motors, loading docks, and garbage compactors, to nearby construction or subway, rail & highway traffic corridors — all create ground-borne and/or structural vibration disturbances.
HGC Engineering has developed an international reputation and expertise in assessing and mitigating the impacts of vibration on sensitive equipment in healthcare and scientific institutions. We also have the resources and capabilities to conduct vibration monitoring, both short and long term as needed.
Public-Private Partnership (P3) Project Experience
We are also an active contributor to both Planning, Design, Compliance (PDC) and Design-Build (DB) teams on many P3 projects. We work with leading developers, planners, builders, architects, and engineers, providing comprehensive assessment and design services for all acoustical-related aspects of these large, complex and often mixed-use institutional projects across Canada and the United States.
Institutional Acoustical Engineering Know-How
Beyond sensitive equipment, other areas that are common to many scientific and healthcare facilities include large atriums, lecture halls, clinical care areas, wet and dry laboratories, classrooms and/or patient rooms, food courts, and administrative offices. We are fully adept and knowledgeable about how to best address the noise, vibration and acoustical challenges associated with these common institutional features.
Hospital Acoustics Expertise
In particular, hospitals have their own unique set of acoustical-related concerns. These institutions are typically hives of bustling activity, producing a discordant symphony of pulsating alarms, rattling carts, whirring machines, along with the full force gamut of patient, family and staff voices operating under stress, fatigue or pain. Adding to this chorus is the noise emanating from HVAC systems. As critical systems for the control of infections and contaminants, hospital HVAC systems have special air conditioning and ventilation requirements that are not amenable to standard silencing techniques.
The results? Not just poor acoustical environments, but soundscapes that are not conducive to healing and productive work. Issues of acoustical privacy and confidentiality are also of paramount importance but can be challenging in the large open spaces that are found through out these institutions. We work with design team members to establish properly targeted room and noise criteria for all key building areas.
LEED and WELL Certified buildings
We have also performed acoustical consulting for a variety of Green Building projects, which have become more prevalent in recent years. There are special challenges to developing good practices in acoustics for LEED and WELL Certified buildings, and we are familiar with the acoustical implications associated with their associated systems, standards and certification processes.
HGC Engineering offers consultation services relating to acoustics, noise and vibration at all stages of a project
Environmental Noise and Vibration Studies
These feasibility studies examine the noise impact of nearby roads, highways, rail and subway traffic on the proposed site and its future occupants. As well, the study assesses the potential effects of vibration from adjacent subway or railway lines on a building’s foundation and structure. A study will also look at surrounding industries, buildings or activities nearby for potential stationary sources of noise or vibration that might impact the planned site. Additionally, we will review any early details the project team can provide on the site plans, looking for new noise and vibration sources associated with the design such as such as cooling towers, heating plants, loading bays, generators, helipads, that may in turn impact surrounding buildings and environments. These aspects are considered in a preliminary fashion in the context of a study and only general recommendations for mitigation of environmental noise and vibration are offered at this juncture.
At this Planning Stage we also offer:
- Expert Testimony for municipal hearings
- Peer Review
- Acoustic Design Spec and Brief for Design/Build RFP
During Building Design
We review the internal design of the building and its systems in order to provide acoustical guidance and recommendations to the architectural, mechanical, and electrical members of the team, with appropriate follow-up through construction.
There are several aspects of the project during construction where we are also able to offer additional assistance for the design/build team.
Construction Vibration Assessment: Toronto is one of the few cities in North America with a City By-Law, 514-2008, that requires that a Construction Vibration Assessment be conducted in support of an application for a building or foundation permit. It mandates that a Professional Engineer assess the potential for impact on off-site structures in a “zone of influence” by the vibration effects of shoring, excavation and demolition activities. HGC Engineering is fully versed in all aspects of Construction Vibration Monitoring and Assessment. We offer the in-house know-how and monitoring technology your require to efficiently and cost-effectively meet your assessment and timeline requirements. Visit our Construction Vibration Monitoring and Assessment page for more details.
Shop Drawing Reviews: Shop drawings can be reviewed once the project enters the construction phase. We will review typical base-building equipment drawings for consistency with the specifications and recommendations contained in our initial review.
Site Inspections and Testing: Site inspections or field testing is often driven by the sensitivity of a specific issue or the complexity of its implementation.
Commissioning: During commissioning we will conduct measurements of reverberation and background sound to confirm compliance with the criteria.
Noise and Vibration Complaints: We offer on-going noise and vibration complaint forensics and troubleshooting to building managers of both new and mature buildings.