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IAQ Essential for UAE’s Hospitals

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A new campaign from Abu Dhabi-based Farnek Services is highlighting the importance of indoor air quality in hospitals and healthcare facilities as summer approaches accompanied by rising outdoor temperatures and humidity levels.

HVAC systems draw in air from outside for circulation within buildings, and are prone to ductwork and filtration system failure resulting in deposits of dust that harbour biological contamination from bioaerosols (tiny airborne particles capable of supporting fungi and bacteria).

Poor duct hygiene and IAQ and HVAC system proformance can be improved significantly with periodic cleaning, with additional measures that can be implemented including upgrading filters and ensuring furnishings do not release noxious gases. 

A common misconception we encounter is when onsite maintenance teams consider the supply of air to be clean because HEPA filters are used in a fan coil unit (FCU)

Zohaib Azhar, Farnek’s Head of Operations, says: “A clean air supply is essential to patient safety and particularly those with reduced immunity.

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“A common misconception we encounter is when onsite maintenance teams consider the supply of air to be clean because HEPA filters are used in a fan coil unit (FCU), ignoring just how important it is to regularly check air duct systems. This misunderstanding can result in mould and microbial formation, that could cause harm to staff and patients.

“It is also well worth pointing out that these issues also apply to general working environments, not just healthcare facilities. The economic benefits of HVAC duct cleaning can be significant, by reducing worker absenteeism and increasing productivity.

“Humidity is often a major factor in selecting cleaning methods because of the types of contaminants generally found in areas with differing levels of moisture in the air. Higher humidity levels often witness greater levels of microbial contamination, including mould, mildew, yeasts and bacteria. Such contaminants, as opposed to common nuisance dust, require more aggressive cleaning techniques, especially when addressing the HVAC unit itself.”

According to U.S. National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) standards, HVAC duct cleaning in hospitals should be peformed annually. In addition, cleaning must be performed whenever significant accumulations of contaminants or debris are observed visually, confirmed through testing, discharges from systems become visible, or heat exchanger, filtration or air-handling equipment is determined to contain impediments to airflow.

Dubai Municipality requires operators of healthcare facilities in the Emirate to engage specialist maintenance contractors to carry out cleaning work or provide evidence that in-sourced staff have the skills and experience required for maintaining HVAC systems.

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Staff Reporter

FMIndustry.com covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.

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  • Staff Reporter

    FMIndustry.com covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.

    View all Articles

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