New England Baptist Hospital, a 162-bed adult medical/surgical hospital located int he Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, recently completed construction of it’s new Central Sterile Addition. Since the site of this major addition is immediately adjacent to buildings in which operating rooms and scanning equipment are in intensive use, the hospital’s personnel were concerned about the effects that vibrations generated by construction activities may have on the hospital’s functions,. Would it be necessary not to use certain operating rooms for extended periods during construction? Would construction activities interfere with scanning and with cardiac catheterization? What should be done to minimize the impact of construction work on the hospital’s work?
In order to provide the desired information, an investigation was carried out to evaluate the vibrations expected in sensitive areas of the hospital due to specific construction work. This investigation consisted of developing reliable predictions of the construction-related vibrations in the areas of concern and comparing these predictions to the criteria relevant to the hospital activities and equipment. The logic of this approach is straight-forward, but its implementation involves practical difficulties.