The inevitable equipment upgrades and remodeling projects common to hospital settings often prompt questions regarding the merits of repurposing an existing overhead support system versus a new installation.
Strong and stable systems ensure proper functioning of equipment and protect manufacturer’s warranties of highly sophisticated lighting and imaging systems weighing hundreds or thousands of pounds. Patient liability and employee safety are also a concern, so before any decision is made regarding the use of an existing overhead support structure, it is important to consider all available options. It is our hope that with this information in hand, you will have everything needed to make an informed decision.
On the surface, the least expensive option is to assume that since the existing structure held the old equipment, it is suitable for re-use. Although this may be true, there are no guarantees that the existing support structure is suitable for the new equipment. If problems arise, the equipment manufacturer will claim that the General Contractor has final responsibility for the strength and stability of the mounting structure. Re-purposing is your least expensive option, but this approach also has the most potential downside because nobody has assessed the structure’s suitability for the new application. Your project may also experience delays if the contractor discovers problems mid-project and worse yet, the new equipment may malfunction or even fall during use. With these outcomes in mind, the re-use of an existing support structure has potential hidden costs that may far exceed anticipated savings.
The second option is hiring an engineer to review the existing structure and compare the support system to standard design practices. Often this additional step unveils missing bracing, loose hardware, and improper design concepts that can save substantial time downstream. The last
The only options that ensure the equipment manufacturer will honor a warranty include removal and installation of a new support structure backed by engineering drawings and PE seals, or making modifications (again, backed by engineering drawings with PE stamps when necessary). These options may seem unnecessary, but when you factor in the costs associated with voided equipment warranties and potential patient liability, a new or thoroughly reviewed support structure are the most cost-effective solutions over time.
As an example, this month, we were hired to assess the suitability of a Cath Lab support structure we designed and installed 17 years ago. In this
Although we offered a turnkey service for the original installation and performed the retrofitting, we can also design systems, and cut, kit, and bundle materials so a local contractor can complete the project.
If you are wondering what to do with an existing overhead support structure, remember to explore your options with an engineering company that understands the complexities of