CREATING A STRONG MEDICAL GAS SPECIFICATION
WHAT IS A MEDICAL GAS SPECIFICATION?
A Medical Gas Specification is a document issued by Plumbing Designers that serves to define the parameters of the materials and equipment to be installed in a facility during a construction project. This document ensures compliance with local codes and must be updated and revised for each project, including technology and code changes depending on the location.
There are many benefits of having a strong specification, including making reviewing submittals easier and reducing change orders. Another advantage is that they ensure the owner/end-user have the products that meet their expectations and align with their comfortability. Having a strong specification also results in less RFIs from the contractor, by ensuring drawings and specification complement one another. They aid in understanding the equipment options to allow the owner strong value engineering options.
GENERAL DEFINITION AND GUIDELINES
This section will be focused on where you define the project code and compliance. There are important things to remember and essential questions to ask when creating these guidelines.
- Do you have the option to always design to the latest code?
- Will you allow manufacturers to not be specified?
- What are your preapproval requirements?
It is crucial to define the code revision based on project location. You will also need to define the requirements under plumbing scope versus other disciplines such as electrical.
PRODUCT SECTION: ACCEPTED MANUFACTURERS
When thinking about accepted manufacturers, there are some common mistakes that are made. Many of these errors come from the way that they are listed, including listing manufacturer representatives and not the manufacturer themselves. Another is listing industrial manufacturers when they have the potential to provide systems that are not compliant with NFPA 99. Including manufacturers of raw materials instead of complete systems is another common mistake.
It is essential to remember to list only relevant manufacturers and one manufacturer based on installed base.
PRODUCT SECTION: MATERIALS
Pattons Medical gas outlets are designed for gas distribution in centralized areas of several industries and are available in four styles. This information can also be found on the Pattons Medical website.
Zone Valve Boxes
There are several standards to follow when implementing zone valve boxes. This includes material, pressure rating, and ball valve type. In addition to this, gauges are required and you must have cover requirements listed. Information about medical zone valve box specifications can be found on the Pattons Medical website.
For alarm panels, the standards are found within the wiring and programming requirements. Pattons Medical has many resources regarding alarm panels, including specification information and a webinar entitled "Overview of Medical Gas Alarms and Zone Valve Box Placement."
- Ethernet for Master and/or Area Alarm Panels
- A benefit of this is connecting to a building management system. However, it’s important to consider: does the owner want every alarm panel connected or only the master? Ethernet capability adds cost to every panel and most value engineering practices remove Ethernet from the area.
- If the facility wants to keep an eye on their source equipment, then the master alarm panel should be ethernet capable. On the area alarms, the facility will not need this, which will reduce unnecessary costs.
Standards for manifolds include following location and installation requirements as well as header requirements. It is important to follow automatic changeovers. You can find more information on the Pattons Medical website by viewing our “Overview of Medical Gas Manifolds” webinar or by navigating to our manifold specifications.
- Bulk – usually provided by owner or a contract with the owner
- Liquid by Liquid
- This particular option is equipped with electronic controls to reduce venting and is also equipped with a “look-back” control to ensure the liquid container is fully utilized.
- High Pressure by High Pressure
- This option utilizes dome biased regulators. It reduces the need for all gases. Another thing to note is that it does not allow shuttle valves which are a single point of failure.
Medical Air Compressors
Medical Air Compressors have a redundant system including a compressor, dryer, and filtration. They have additional standards such as a desiccant dryer, dewpoint monitor, CO monitor, and filtration. Medical Air Compressors follow the standard of oil-less technology. To learn more about Pattons Medical air compressors, visit our website.
Medical Vacuum Pumps
There are a few important questions to ask when looking into 3rd Party Certifications. Are you comfortable with the certifying selling the equipment for the project and then certifying the installation? Do you want a certifier that only provides certification and does not provide the equipment? By listing the certifier in your specification, you are potentially making your specification proprietary.
Pattons Medical recommends not listing certifier in your specification and making that proprietary because it can potentially impact the budget and quoting of the job. It is required that every job be certified to a NFPA 99, you need to have this done before you can open the building.
EXECUTION: SERVICE, START-UP, AND TRAINING
Many manufacturers partner with service organizations, so it is essential to require the manufacturer to have local service. It is important to not specify service as it could limit the facility in getting appropriate support. The manufacturer is responsible for starting up the equipment because it ensures it is installed correctly outside of NFPA 99. It will also guarantee that the equipment will run smoothly for the end user – including drip legs installed, ambient temperature, among other essential aspects. In addition to all of this, the manufacturer is responsible for training the facility on the equipment.
Overall, it is important to update your specification as it aligns with your project. Remember to clean up your approved manufacturers list, delete sections that are not relevant to the project that the specification applies to, and make choices that are needed for technologies. Pattons Medical specification makes that easy by putting choices in red or blue.
You can find the Pattons Medical specification guide on our website.
The Pattons Medical team is here to help you, you can find your local representative on our website. If you aren't sure which rep to contact, you can search by state to figure out which member of our team can help you on any project.
A recording of Patton Medical’s “Creating A Strong Medical Gas Specification” webinar can be found on our website for you to watch at your convenience.