Temporary Medical Facility Requirements

In a state of emergency or when a natural disaster occurs, such as the COVID-19 epidemic, both municipalities and provincial regulators may look at temporarily re-purposing facilities to accommodate hospital overflow or extended healthcare relocation.

In these cases, Technical Safety BC will provide oversight of regulated equipment and work to facilitate a safe transition to temporary medical alternative facilities.  In locations where the municipality has jurisdiction, the municipality will take the lead and Technical Safety BC will provide support at their request.

Regulatory requirements for temporary medical facilities

The regulatory requirements below describe the general process that Technical Safety BC intends to follow to regulate technical work and equipment at temporary medical facilities.  Individual regulatory requirements at a particular site may differ based on particular site conditions.  Technical Safety BC commits to pro-actively working with regional health authorities to minimize the burden of regulatory requirements while protecting the safety of these facilities.

Gas, Boiler, Refrigeration, Electrical
  • Technical Safety BC recommends that regional health authorities in the province should take the lead with any decision regarding temporary facilities.  We recommend that health authorities consult Technical Safety BC during the site selection process so that any potential challenges can be identified early and we can provide support to streamline permitting, variance and inspection requirements.  Contact information can be found below.
  • Operating permits must be in ‘active’ status in order to perform work under an existing operating permit.
  • If the regional health authority has a valid gas or electrical operating permit for their existing facilities, any temporary facilities would be considered an extension of the existing operating) permits.
  • If a valid operating permit exists at the temporary facility (such as a community centre or school), then the permit holder for the temporary facility will remain responsible for the infrastructure under the existing facility permit and the health authority will be responsible for the medical equipment under its own operating permit.  Temporary distribution equipment will be the responsibility of the site operating permit holder, while any essential equipment such as backup power will be installed collaboratively with both operating permit holders.
  • Both the health authority and the facility will maintain separate log books as per the terms and conditions of their permits.  Each log book should cross-reference the other operating permit number.  Each log book should list the of scope of regulated work, location of regulated equipment, date of the installation, and duration of the installation.
  • If the health authority does not maintain a gas or electrical operating permit, all regulated work would be required to be performed by a licensed contractor and qualified individual for the technology under a temporary operating permit.
  • Any new regulated medical equipment must be certified or approved and for any equipment that requires an operating permit (for example: sanitizers under the Boiler, Pressure Vessel Regulation), an operating permit must be obtained before operating the equipment.
  • Facilities with ammonia as a refrigerant such as arenas, curling rinks, may only be used for temporary health care facilities if appropriate precautions have been taken (including monitoring and other safeguards) and a variance has been issued by the safety manager or delegate.
Elevating Devices
  • Consideration when selecting site: The health authority in collaboration with the building owner should ensure that all the tests (annual & periodic) are up to date and there are no outstanding non-compliances. Not all elevators are designed to accommodate a stretcher and this should be an important consideration in the choice of facility. Another consideration is the elevator traffic analysis, the elevator/s capacity should be sufficient to transport the current and anticipated building population in a timely manner at high peak time.  We recommend that the health authority and/or building owner consult with Technical Safety BC to ensure the elevator is appropriate for the intended use.
  • Temporary facility: If the temporary facility has an elevating device, the elevating device must have a valid (active) operating permit and a current maintenance contract with a licensed elevating device contractor.
  • Ongoing maintenance: All elevating devices are required to have ongoing maintenance at set intervals. Some devices are maintained on a monthly basis; the maximum gap between these intervals is 3 months.  There are criteria established by the code which guide the elevating device contractors in determining the maintenance intervals. If the intended use of the building is changed then the maintenance interval needs to be reassessed.  The health authority and/or building owner should ensure the licensed elevating device contractor is aware of any changes in the use of the facility.
  • Access to facility: The heath authorities / building owner will need to establish work procedures and protocols for allowing access to elevating device maintenance personnel.
Federal jurisdiction

Temporary federal facilities are under the jurisdiction of the federal government and Technical Safety BC will support as and when requested by the appropriate federal entity.

If you have any questions, please email contact@technicalsafetybc.ca or call 1 866 566 7233.

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