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A Case for the Use of Steel Conduit in Medical Centers

By Dale Crawford 

Ensuring medical facilities are safe zones for users is essential for the health and safety of a community. Not only are medical centers likely filled with patients who are reliant upon medical devices for their lives but also, in cases of emergencies, like extreme weather or unfamiliar virus outbreaks, a medical center must continue to be operational and that means fully powered. As medical centers prioritize care, they must also prioritize electricity. Using steel conduit as a raceway for wires will not only allow facilities to stay open during disasters but the facility will also be designed for quality and efficiency. Steel Conduit can better withstand environmental impacts disasters like high wind or earthquakes can deliver.

Tested and certified for safety 

In cases of a natural disaster, the community is reliant on local medical facilities. Fire and rescue services as well as other types of first responders bring a flood of patients to the facility and their families follow.  The volume of users makes safety a priority for these facilities and the use of steel conduit and tubing is the only choice to make when building or rehabbing medical facilities. Not only is it allowed everywhere, even with NEC rigorous restrictions on material, but it is also made of noncombustible material to help protect against further disasters like a fire. Disasters don’t just impact the demand for medical facilities. While serving their clients, medical facilities themselves may also be threatened by the same disaster conditions and steel raceways offer extra protection to the wiring it encases, helping prevent shorts or fires and further protecting circuitry in moments of physical crisis to a structure. 

Designed for quality and efficiency 

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Medical facilities face important requirements in their design and build, including redundant grounding requirements for patient care areas. One of the biggest benefits of steel Conduit  in medical facilities is that this system already meets one of the equipment grounding requirements, saving designers and contractors from having to run two separate grounds. Cable systems cannot offer the same efficiency. 

In addition to rigorous regulation and electrical requirements, medicine and its patient facilities are constantly changing and the facility that houses these developments must be able to evolve with the industry’s innovations. Steel conduit raceways are an up-front investment, creating a return on investment that continues years into the future. Yet, it also offers incredible flexibility, so for those specifying engineers willing to spec for a long game and who recognize the endless innovation in medical devices and technologies, the long look for steel conduit helps create a building infrastructure that can weather use and purpose changes. With steel raceways, when properly designed, circuits you originally built can be pulled and replaced to meet new needs or design considerations.  Additionally, steel raceways do not require budgeting for additional conductors, so while its investment is up-front, it’s also singular, with no surprises or additional line items. We know medical facilities will bear innovation and new devices, but considering their capacity growth or workflow changes is also important and steel conduit’s ability to flex to such changes also makes it a worthwhile investment in this industry.

Green and sustainable  

Using steel Conduit also reduces environmental impact with its long service life and ability to accommodate new conductors and additional circuits; its ability to scale helps eliminate the need to produce more plastic or other materials for new conductors or circuits. It is recyclable in and of itself and can also be reused for nearly any purpose. Though recyclability is important, what makes it most sustainable is its long-life expectancy. Once produced and machined, steel conduit serves for years, eliminating the environmental impact of frequent re-installation or renewed resource production. As medical facilities continue to advance, the original steel conduit used during installation can be reused to accommodate the ever-changing landscape of medicine. 

Not only are medical centers safe zones for natural disasters but the communities they serve are reliant on them to keep up with discoveries in medicine. Though how we turn to medicine, where we turn to medicine and workflows within medical facilities constantly change, the change to completely rebuild facilities is less available in challenged commercial real estate markets. Installing a base that is easily changeable is essential for medical facilities’ growth and future. Using steel conduit in medical facilities is not only smart for a buildings’ budget but for the health and safety of its community. 

Dale Crawford is Executive Director at the Steel Tube Institute.

Healthcare Business Today is a leading online publication that covers the business of healthcare. Our stories are written from those who are entrenched in this field and helping to shape the future of this industry. Healthcare Business Today offers readers access to fresh developments in health, medicine, science, and technology as well as the latest in patient news, with an emphasis on how these developments affect our lives.

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