As a result of the Covid pandemic, the Ministry of Health and Dental Council of New Zealand released guidelines for dental surgeries to meet, that related to urgent or emergency care of patients who are Covid-positive (or suspected to be). Only dental surgeries equipped with negative pressure environments could treat COVID infected or potentially infected patients as they were deemed high risk. We’re very familiar with negative pressure rooms at Jacksons, having worked on several in NZ, including the one at Greenlane that was built with the emergence of SARS in 2002/2003.
On the back of the MoH’s and Dental Council of New Zealand guidelines, the Bay of Plenty DHB plan to future-proof their Community Health 4 Kids fixed-site dental clinics. They asked us to give them a report on improving the ventilation in six community-based fixed-site dental clinics, including designing an HVAC system that introduces fresh air in and the removal of stale out, including aerosols from their for treatment rooms. The HVAC system will service the entire dental clinic as well. Overall a system like this will improve infection control and is endorsed by the BOPDHB Infection Control team.
Despite our skill and experience in this area, designing a solution for these clinics wasn’t clear-cut. Some buildings had difficult or restricted ceilings and a recently added 5th clinic is an older pre-fab design with an extremely low-pitched roof which offers no room for ceiling mounted equipment — it will require externally mounted systems.
We used our expertise in HVAC engineering to design the flow of outdoor air for internal areas and dedicated extract systems for these treatment rooms, all in line with the MoH guidelines.
At this stage we have progressed the designs to a ‘costing’ level so our client, the Bay of Plenty DHB, can better understand what a project like this will cost.