The Joint Commission
Tuesday 8:34 CST, February 9, 2016

Standards FAQ Details

Life Safety (LS) (Hospital and Hospital Clinics / Hospitals)

Temporary Construction Barriers
Updated | November 24, 2008
Q. Do plastic sheets constitute acceptable temporary barriers in and around construction areas?  

A. Unrated flammable plastic sheets, do not!  Even though flammable plastic sheets taped across an opening may form a dust seal, they are incapable of controlling fire.  The only thing they can do is keep air from moving around.  They are good for controlling dust and its associated infection control implications and, on a limited basis for stopping smoke caused by a fire in the construction zone, but these sheets do absolutely nothing to stop the fire itself.

The Joint Commission standards require that temporary construction partitions [should be] smoke tight and built of noncombustible or limited combustible materials (sheet rock, gypsum board) that will not contribute to the development or spread of fire."   Be sure that evidence of "limited combustibility" can be furnished if questioned during survey.

The Joint Commission position is that plastic sheet barriers of a limited combustible type (rated material) are "tolerated" for short term use.  In addition, if the project includes any high risk construction activities (i.e., torch cutting, welding, burning, open flame, etc.), non-combustible barriers should be erected.

Note:  This applies to Inpatient Hospice only for the Home Care Accreditation Manual (CAMHC)

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