Safeboard provides protection at UK’s newest dental hospital

Safeboard provides protection at UK’s newest dental hospital

Ease of installation made the case for using Safeboard from Knauf Drywall in the X-ray rooms of the UK’s first new dental school for 40 years. Some 200m2 of Safeboard has been installed in the latest dental education facility at the Peninsula Dental School at the Tamar Science Park, Plymouth.

The Peninsula Dental School is a partnership between the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and the NHS in Devon and Cornwall and it has put the South West at the forefront of delivering ground-breaking, modern clinical dental education.

It has four dental education facilities across the South West – one each in Exeter and Truro and two in Plymouth. The dental education facilities are designed to recreate the real life clinical environment, in which students treat NHS patients under the supervision of fully trained dental clinical supervisors. At full capacity the dental education facilities treat over 500 NHS patients a day during term time.

“We were looking for a wall-lining product that was equivalent to lead to protect users from X-ray radiation from the intra-oral or Orthopantomogram (OPG) X-ray machines,” explains Rich Smith, Project Architect at the Architects Design Group.

“Safeboard was clearly superior to the alternatives – a dense block construction that would take up a lot of space or lead-lined plasterboard, which would have required specialist skills and increased the number of trades needed on site. The system was vetted by the NHS radiology department who also witnessed installation at various stages and who have subsequently carried out on site testing.”

The main contractor, Midas, was also keen to use Safeboard, as quantity surveyor Peter Philpotts explains: “We wanted to let out the drylining contract as one package, which we couldn’t have done if we had used the traditional leadlining method. We were also reassured by the Knauf’s guarantee and that it had been fully tested by the Health Protection Agency – that gave us peace of mind.”

The board brings X-ray protection and fire and acoustic performance together in one easy-to-install board thanks to its key ingredient - barium sulphate. This is a radio contrasting agent that can create a barrier for radiowaves of specific bandwidths. In a barium meal, the X-rays hit the barium and the image silhouettes the specific area of interest. In Safeboard the distinctive yellow core is filled with enough of this material to effectively block X-Rays across its entire area – and each board is thoroughly X-rayed on the production line to ensure radiation-tightness.

Typical drywall constructions using Knauf Safeboard offer the same radiation protection as 1‑2mm of lead sheeting – the requirement for the more than 80% of X-ray equipment in the 70-125kV range. If greater radiation protection is required then simply install more staggered layers of Safeboard. It is easy to visually inspect a Knauf X-ray partition to ensure the correct number of sheets of Safeboard have been used – just look at the cut edges of the sheets for the yellow core that denotes Safeboard.

Safeboard is simple to fix and cuts and snaps like an ordinary plasterboard, while Knauf Safeboard Jointing Compound is used to fill joints to complete the radiation shield. Safeboard installations also provide excellent acoustic insulation and fire resistance.

This ease of installation means that Knauf X-ray partitions can be inexpensively designed to suit mobile X-ray apparatus, and can be retro-fitted or removed far more easily than traditional lead-lined partitions. This is an increasingly important consideration for modern, future-adaptable healthcare projects, which demand the flexibility to re-design interior layouts and to build in changes of use to rooms.

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