TuffWrap® Construction Dust Barriers and ICRA Standards
Can Temporary Walls be used to meet ICRA standards?
When this question was first asked of TuffWrap®, we weren’t sure how to answer. We hadn’t heard the term ICRA before, and we certainly didn’t want to promise something we couldn’t provide. We began to research what ICRA is, what it means, and how this relates to the dust and debris containment systems we provide.
What is ICRA?
The acronym ICRA stands for Infection Control Risk Assessment. The term refers to a procedure that all healthcare facilities must engage during any construction project within occupied spaces. This procedure helps to establish appropriate infection control measures based upon the nature of the project.
How is it implemented?
All healthcare facilities have both obligation and freedom when it comes to the application of ICRA procedures during construction. Their obligation is to have a plan in place to systematically evaluate what kind of infection controls will be required for each and every project – large or small – and enforce them.
Yet healthcare facilities also have freedom to make decisions on the specific infection controls they put in place and how often they update or revise them. This means that the procedure that works for infection control in one facility may not work exactly the same in another facility. It is up to each facility to make its own decisions.
There are a lot of moving pieces involved in ICRA implementation, some best practices include efficient investigation, planning, and communication prior to the project execution. All of which we can assist your team in implementing.
How is ICRA evaluated?
The level of ICRA procedure ranges from Class I to Class IV.
- Class I ICRA is simply ensuring that the people involved in the construction project are aware of potential contamination, and that they take the minor steps necessary to avoid it.
- Class II ICRA calls for a more careful analysis of infection risk concerns, necessitating more significant measures by facility staff and contractors.
- Class III and Class IV ICRA involves extensive steps and procedures to manage the risk of infection/contamination during construction.
When does containment become important?
If a situation calls for Class III or IV ICRA, this is when there will be the need for temporary dust containment walls, HVAC alterations to ensure negative air pressure in the work areas, temporary ante-rooms to act as transition points between work and clean areas, and regular monitoring of dust, air quality, and overall compliance with safety and cleanliness standards.
How can TuffWrap help?
TuffWrap’s services become an option when the need for temporary dust barriers and ante-rooms is involved. Most ICRA guidelines call for temporary barriers made of polyethylene sheeting and/or sheetrock. While a studded wall of sheetrock provides a barrier, TuffWrap’s C.O.R.E. Frameless Walls® and Hybrid Walls may also qualify for adequate ICRA Class III and IV expectations, pending approval by the contractors and facility managers involved with the project. The key to any temporary dust barrier is that it be fully-sealed, impermeable, and able to withstand negative air pressure situations. While most people naturally think that a framed, hard-surfaced wall is the best solution, that’s not necessarily the case. TuffWrap’s temporary walls can be just as tightly sealed (if not more fully so), just as impermeable, and almost always less expensive, cleaner, and more flexible and customizable.
So, getting back to the question posed at the beginning . . .
Can temporary walls be used to meet ICRA standards?
The answer is YES, as long as the contractors and facility managers understand our offerings and are willing to consider them as a viable option. Learn more about our containment solutions here.