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Understanding HTM03 healthcare ventilation rules

The publication in 2021 of the updated HTM03-01 Specialised Ventilation for Healthcare Premises will call for detailed assessment of the risks of non-compliance arising from the technical detail of amendments and improvements in design specifications, inspection processes, air change rates etc.

All these requirements are documented in the standard and hospital authorising engineers and estates managers will need to go through them in detail in order to match them to specific premises. None of the proposals seem to be contentious: in fact, they have real potential to plug gaps and can reduce risks, as explained in the February issue of IHEEM’s Health Estate Journal.

In the article, we focus on what appears to be the overarching challenge in the guidance on HTM-03 compliance and its implications: the increased emphasis on the safety of all ventilation equipment and infrastructure, not just that servicing critical areas.

You can read the whole article HERE.

There is, however, likely to be an elephant or two in the room for some trust managers. We imply no malpractice or complacency, but pragmatism often means that current practice focuses on ultra-clean ventilation and other critical systems but can exclude significant proportions of the ventilation infrastructure. The proposed updates appear to bring all ventilation under the HTM-03 umbrella. Meeting all the requirements of the revised standard will call for capital expenditure on new equipment, significant refurbishment, and, in many cases, periods of shutdown while works are undertaken.

Without a considerable new branch of the magic money tree, can the revisions have teeth? As we see it, the agility and professionalism of healthcare estates managers and engineers has been well proven by the Covid-19 challenges, so there is no doubt that the will to accommodate change exists. In this particular area, they may be helped by changes in the oversight of ventilation management. There are specific recommendations on membership of Ventilation Safety Groups (VSGs), building on the experience and success of Water Safety Groups. This approach will perhaps empower Estates and Facilities Managers and streamline the changes implicit in managing the new requirements.

Airmec Essential Services has significant expertise in the healthcare sector. If you want to explore the implications of the changes, please get in touch.

Published: 14 March 2023 | Updated: 27 March 2024

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