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A buyer’s guide to radiation shielding

September 02, 2016
From the September 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Modular concrete shield block systems provide the greatest degree of flexibility of all the concrete systems and offer several advantages. Designed to come apart and be removed and relocated, modular block systems can easily be built in both green field and shell spaces. The use of modular systems in leased spaces, for example, allows the owner to accept the “temporary use” of the structure. The modular block system may be disassembled and removed to restore the landlord’s space when a lease expires. Modular block systems can be made with conventional and heavy concrete and offer the most flexibility to strategically place materials. Space savings and other benefits offered by heavy concrete can be applied to compact shield block systems, which can result in reduced leasing costs.

Another benefit of a modular system is the pre-testing individual units and product guarantee. The blocks are factory manufactured off-site and their density is measured prior to shipping. This ensures that all blocks will meet the project density requirements. Alternatively, poured-in-place concrete batches have to be tested in the field prior to placement, so there is a risk that some concrete batches may have to be discarded if the density is not achieved. Other remediation might also be required for a poured-in-place system if a lower-than-desired density batch is discovered after placement.

Additionally, modular shield blocks can be delivered and installed in most inclement weather conditions, thereby reducing the potential for weather delays. Modular systems can be assembled in a fraction of the time required for a poured-in-place structure. The ceiling for a modular block system does not require the expense or delay of shoring. The entire modular structure can be assembled and then immediately handed over to subsequent trades faster than a typical poured-in-place concrete process. A modular block system can reduce the overall construction timeline for a treatment room by weeks or months when compared to poured-in-place concrete.

Another benefit of modular blocks is that they are easily utilized for treatment room retrofits and upgrades. They can quickly be installed in existing treatment rooms to provide supplemental shielding in places where the accessibility for poured-in-place concrete options is limited or impossible. By varying the density of the modular shield blocks, the amount of shielding installed can be adjusted to fit the space available within the treatment room being upgraded.

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