Peninsula Dental School
Knauf Safeboard provides protection at UK’s newest dental hospital.
Ease of installation made the case for using Knauf Safeboard in the X-ray rooms of the UK’s first new dental hospital for 40 years.
Some 200m2 of Knauf Safeboard has been installed in the Peninsula Dental School at Tamar Science Park, Plymouth – a partnership between the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and the NHS in Devon and Cornwall that has put the South West at the forefront of delivering ground-breaking, modern clinical education.
The board brings X-ray protection, 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 Knauf 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.
“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.” 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
Knauf Safeboard is simple to fix, it scores and snaps like an ordinary plasterboard, while Knauf Safeboard Joint Filler is used to fill joints to complete the radiation shield. Knauf 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.