by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | October 01, 2018
From the October 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Requiring as much as 1.5 million pounds of concrete, a radiation shielding project is not a construction job that should be taken lightly.
These expensive and time-consuming endeavors call for a team effort and the leadership of a specialist. HealthCare Business News went around the industry to get tips and insights from some of the experts in the field.
“The first thing I always advise is to get the physicist involved as early as possible in the planning process,” said Adam Evearitt, co-owner of Atom Physics, a company that specializes in X-ray equipment and radiation safety consulting. “I often can help in the design of a room or project to minimize the shielding or the cost that’s going to be involved with the shielding just by the way the machines are oriented in the room.”
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He says that too often he receives calls from facilities seeking help at the last minute when a project is almost complete. Usually this happens when the vendor is about to install the machines and, when asked for the shielding design specifications, the administrators aren’t prepared.
Robert J. Farrell, CEO of Veritas Medical Solutions, stresses that there is a big difference between general construction and a specialty company that focuses on radiation protection.
“I met with a contractor today,” he said. “The group is very well qualified as a general contractor, but they have not designed or constructed a project requiring radiation shielding in over seven years.”
Making sure you have the right team members involved in a shielding job is the best way to ensure costly problems don’t arise along the way or in the aftermath of installation. Trying to go it alone, or cutting corners as a way to keep costs down, is one of the surest ways to wind up paying more in the long run.
Things to consider
Regardless of the specific project, the most common advice Frank Heinz, owner of H&H Design-Build, provides to his clients is to focus on safety.