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Behind the scenes on proton therapy construction jobs

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | October 16, 2020
Rad Oncology Proton Therapy
From the October 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

In-situ poured structural concrete is available all over the world at relatively low cost, any high-density material option can quickly cost 3-10x as much and may have to be shipped in. For shielding calculations, it is not relevant if a material is installed in blocks, or poured in situ; from a cost perspective there is a substantial difference; from a schedule perspective this difference may not be easily measurable.

Underground Construction of the Proton Therapy Vault in very tight site on the campus of King Chulalongkorn Hospital, Bangkok. Courtesy of: Business Alignment PCL, Bangkok
A cost and construction-savvy shielding consultant should review the initial design in the early schematic design phase, and in interactive discussions with key stakeholders come up with an optimized best-guess-design for the stakeholder’s needs (e.g. regulatory, safety, cost, footprint, schedule, etc.). This design should start with conservative wall thicknesses, so that the structural engineers and architects do not have cumbersome change requests later. A complete shielding validation for conventional and future FLASH therapy should start with this best guess design and can take between 3 weeks and 6 months. Ideally the shielding consultant also works with 3D BIM models, so that results can be imported automatically into the architect’s design, and misunderstandings of 2D drawings can be avoided.

HCB News: Back in 2016 you highlighted some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) of a new proton therapy facility. Have there been any major changes in the KPIs in the last four years?
JM: The article in 2016 has sparked many requests from project developers how to define KPIs more relevant to the specific project they were working on. The main process to develop the KPIs is still valid today. For a good tracking of the project’s success, it is necessary to generate detailed KPIs and ensure that they are measurable. Some will focus on design; others will focus on construction execution. KPIs need to be set up by experts of the respective trade and it takes a collaborative effort to set up all KPIs for a project.

HCB News: From start to finish, how long does it take before a proton therapy facility can start receiving patients?

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