Regardless of the type of work you do – construction, remodeling, remediation, restoration, abatement, or demolition – harmful airborne contaminants can pose potentially severe health risks. To keep customers satisfied and stay compliant with regulatory and government bodies like the EPA, CDC, and OSHA, contractors and facility managers need an effective containment barrier system.
A dust barrier system enables contractors to quickly and easily create temporary walls as well as temporary isolation chambers, containment booths, or anterooms for separating the affected area or worksite from the occupied part of a building. In addition to keeping dust and air pollutants in check, the barriers significantly reduce costly cleanup time. Below we will outline the steps to creating an effective containment area.
STEP 1 - SECURE THE BARRIER
Select the number of poles you will need for your barrier. ZipWall® poles should be spaced eight to ten feet apart. They are quick to set up and reposition. These strong and lightweight poles telescope up to 20 feet high and can be set up in just a few minutes by one person without ladders or tape, and without damaging surfaces.
As for the barrier material you choose, disposable plastic sheeting is the most widely used. A variety of plastic sheeting options are available to suit different applications, with thickness, length, height, and flame retardancy among the factors to consider. It is important to make sure that you leave extra material on all four sides when cutting the plastic sheeting for your barrier. At least three to four inches on the top and bottom and a minimum of six inches on the sides is recommended. That way, you have plenty of extra material when it comes time to seal off the perimeter.
For an eco-friendly alternative to plastic sheeting, contractors also use ZipFast™ Barrier Panels, which are machine washable and reusable. These quickly zip together to fit the size of the job. With no measuring or cutting required, the nylon fabric panels are ready to use.
STEP 2 - SEAL THE BARRIER
Once your barrier is set up, the focus shifts to sealing the top, bottom, and sides. Tapeless seals are a fast and easy solution for most cases, and they will not damage painted or finished surfaces. These seals snap onto ZipWall® poles to seal along the ceiling, wall, and floor without using tape. Magnetic strips are another great way to hold the barrier between poles when working with drop-ceilings. Some jobs may require taping the perimeter, so be sure to check pertinent regulations.
STEP 3 - CREATE ENTRYWAYS
Now that the barrier is in place and the perimeter is sealed, the final component of constructing an effective barrier is enabling access in and out of the work area, an important step to get right. A popular way to create an entry in a plastic barrier is by using self-adhesive zippers like ZipWall’s, which come with a special cutter to prevent jams. The entryway can be made as wide as needed to move equipment and supplies in and out of the job site. When self-closing access is important, magnetic doors are an effective option. The ZipWall® magnetic door is reusable, easy to install, and works with negative air pressure. Even with heavy foot traffic, the self-closing mechanism ensures the barrier always remains intact.
STEP 4 - SET UP NEGATIVE AIR PRESSURE
Some jobs may require the use of negative air pressure, which can be installed at this time. ZipWall® poles are specially constructed to withstand negative air pressure without moving out of place. Placing the poles closer together is advised when working with negative air. It is also especially important to use the floor disks provided with the poles to enhance grip. In addition, you may need to seal off return vents, electrical sockets, and other areas where air could enter or escape your work area. When setting up your air mover or scrubber, the ZipWall® PassThrough™ makes it easy to pass the duct hose through your barrier. A nylon fabric sleeve seals around the hose with a quick cinch. When the hose is removed, the sleeve can be cinched closed to completely seal the opening.
There may be other necessary containment steps as well, depending on the requirements and regulations. But the critical first step – isolating the affected area or work area from the occupied area with a barrier – is now complete, and you can devote your attention to the job at hand.
Watch ZipWall's video, "How To Build A Containment Barrier."
ABATIX can assist you with your containment barrier needs.