ASHRAE updates health care ventilation standard 

ASHRAE has released an updated edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities. The standard offers guidance, regulation and mandates to designers of health care facilities. The 2021 edition delivers critical guidance for designers and operators of these front-line facilities and incorporates 17 addenda to the 2017 edition of the standard. Changes include expanded requirements to allow airborne infectious isolation room exhaust discharge to general exhaust under certain conditions; revised scope, with improved guidance on thermal comfort conditions provided; and more. 

ASHE reports on successes at ICC hearings

The American Society for Health Care Engineering partnered with the International Code Council (ICC) Committee on Health Care (CHC) to give virtual testimonies before several ICC committees at the Code Action Committee hearings in the spring. The testimonies were in regard to the latest round of code proposals submitted by the CHC and others. The CHC was successful in getting approval for 10 of its 15 proposals. The five CHC proposals that were disapproved will be modified to address the committee’s concerns and resubmitted as part of the public comment hearings that will take place in September. The CHC also testified in opposition to 18 other proposals, of which 17 were disapproved. 

The Joint Commission issues rule on aisle widths 

Now in effect, Joint Commission Life Safety Code surveyors will cite noncompliance in suites with aisles that have less than 36 inches of clearance from side to side to facilitate egress. This requirement follows the 2012 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, Section The core chapter on egress sets the minimum width of any means of egress at 36 inches in all facilities or portions of facilities classified as health care occupancy. This requirement applies to Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals that use the suite provisions of the code and, depending on their building occupancy classification, may apply to behavioral health care and human services organizations, facility-based hospice facilities and nursing care centers.

FGI releases emergency conditions paper 

The Facility Guidelines Institute released a new white paper, “Guidance for Designing Health and Residential Care Facilities that Respond and Adapt to Emergency Conditions.” This white paper, which includes the draft Guidelines for Emergency Conditions in Health and Residential Care Facilities, is the result of a collaboration of 130 volunteers representing multiple disciplines in health care, residential care and facility design. The overarching goal of the white paper is to help health care and residential care organizations respond to emergency events and plan mitigation strategies in anticipation of future emergency events. It includes a wide range of temporary and long-term solutions for the design and operation of health care and residential care facilities.