Florida Construction News special feature
Amidst the health care challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee Health in Fort Myers reached out B & I Contractors with an innovative concept they believed could help reduce the spread of the disease in hospitals.
The employee-owned Florida-based mechanical, electrical and plumbing subcontractor was contacted by Rod Allen, system director for Plant Operations with Lee Memorial Health System on March 22. B & I Contractors, excited to partner with Lee Health, responded immediately.
In collaboration with Lee Health and RDJ Construction, a prototype of a plenum box was quickly put in production. The plenum box is part of a temporary negative air station, designed to slide through the hospital room door without being disassembled. Its function is to catch the coughing patient’s discharge, while in the hospital bed, drawing negative air back into the plenum and then filter it through a 99.97% efficiency portable 500 CFM HEPA fan.
When B &I sheet metal shop manager Phil Murphey and sheet metal foreman Eddie Fisher were given the task, they recognized the urgency and potential impact it could have in the hospital environment. The project became number one priority and with the assistance of their skilled workers they were able to produce seventy-five units by March 26.
“I am happy and proud of what we are doing as a company during this time of need. It feels like a small task, but it could help contain the spread of the virus and keep our nurses and doctors safe,” Murphey said. Twenty-five additional units were expected to be completed by Monday, March 30.
The success of this effort is a result of the long relationship between B & I Contractors and Lee Health. “Lee Health knows that they can trust B & I to respond quickly and put our engineering and fabrication capabilities behind it.” Jeff Zenoniani, vice-president of service, said in a statement. “We are a team of like minds––able to work seamlessly and efficiently.”
Eric Anderson, director of strategic capital construction projects for Lee Health, expressed his gratitude.
“I would like to personally thank you on behalf of Lee Health, but more importantly, on behalf of the caregivers and family of those caregivers. The equipment that you are helping to develop and expedite is critical to reduce the spread of this deadly disease. The importance of this containment is to help provide additional safety measures to keep the staff away from the sick patients that have tested positive or are suspected to be positive of COVID-19. With the significant supply shortages for masks, gloves, face shields, etc., these containments significantly reduce the amount of PPE usage in the facility while we are waiting to be resupplied. We have been able to greatly increase the duration of use of our current PPE supplies and minimize the potential for running out. Thank you so much.”
The negative air units will be used in the Gulf Coast Medical Center and the HealthPark Medical Center locations.
Established in 1960, B & I has offices in Fort Myers, Tamarac, Sarasota and Tampa. The employee-owned company specializes in providing HVAC, electrical, plumbing, refrigeration and building maintenance services for commercial, institutional and industrial facilities throughout Florida and beyond.
The company is a leader in providing reliable, energy efficient and sustainable solutions for building owners and contractors and has won prestigious awards including Excellence in Construction, Top Specialty Contractor and Best Large Company in southwestern Florida.
To learn more, call (239) 332-4646 or visit online www.Bandiflorida.com.