Ensuring Building Enclosures Help Protect Your Healthcare Facility

It’s no surprise that healthcare facilities are designed to a superior standard that focuses on occupant health and requires the environment to support exceptional patient care. Additionally, this dependable enclosure design results in higher productivity and employee effectiveness.

Wilford Hall Ambulatory Care Center & Satellite Pharmacy at Lackland Air Force Base (AFB) located in San Antonio, Texas

But what if the enclosure isn’t working as it should?

Maintaining, identifying and addressing enclosure failures is challenging – in part due to the complexity and hidden cavities typical of roof and wall assemblies. For these reasons, third-party quality assurance for the entire enclosure system is becoming the industry norm. This service, called enclosure commissioning, is defined by ASTM Standard E2813.

Building Enclosure Commissioning, or BECx is a quality assurance process that adds an enclosure expert to the project team.

This enclosure expert helps define the requirements for the enclosure, confirms that the design will achieve these requirements, and then validates performance using spray tests, air leakage tests and site visits. Throughout this process, the BECx agent works with the building owner and the professionals within the design and construction teams to holistically identify and limit risks to building performance. For healthcare facilities, this includes special attention to critical care areas and the special indoor conditions required for exam rooms, operating rooms and inpatient spaces.

This commissioning will ensure a high-quality enclosure which is the best assurance against leaks and condensation which, if unaddressed, may lead to mold growth. The enclosure also creates a continuous air barrier, allowing reliable management of building pressurization while restricting outdoor air pollution. The continuity of thermal insulation and air barrier also leads to improved acoustic performance, buffering occupants from outdoor noise. In these ways, high-performance building enclosures lead to increased comfort and health while reducing maintenance.

Healthcare facilities are evolving quickly to meet new challenges and patient expectations. While seemingly simple, a hospital or clinic with a poor enclosure can interfere with almost every aspect of care. With designers and builders balancing more requirements each year, building enclosure commissioning brings clarity and focus to the most fundamental elements of building performance.