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RAD-Planning Reveals Conflict (and Resolution) in New Healthcare Building Codes

In a recent series of articles and presentations on recent changes to the healthcare building codes, RADIOLOGY-Planning, a planning and architecture firm specializing in radiology, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy, identifies and resolves a new building code conflict in the design of MRI facilities.

Kansas City, MO, April 08, 2011 --( RADIOLOGY-Planning (RAD-Planning), a specialty architecture firm providing planning and design services for radiology, nuclear medicine, and radiation therapy facilities, has highlighted a rare conflict between the design and construction building codes for MRI facilities.

In February, the firm published an article which highlighted the significant design standard changes brought about by the release of a new edition of the most predominantly used US building code for hospitals, "Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities." That article (available at: indicated that MRI suite design would now also be governed by a referenced standard published by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

That referenced design standard, called the 4-Zone principle, describes a series of sequential screening and access control protocols incorporated in the 2010 edition of "Guidelines." This series of spaces however, runs afoul of the National Fire Protection Association's Life Safety Code and their current exiting requirements.

"We'd been using the 4-Zone principle in our design of MRI facilities for years before it was a referenced element in the code," offered Robert Junk, architect and founding principal of RAD-Planning. "We have been working around it for so long, in fact, that we were a bit surprised to see that this conflict still existed. The article on the code changes gave us the opportunity to share this information with the community of architects for radiology."

The conflict centers on the distance that an occupant has to walk to get out of the MRI suite and how many rooms he or she must pass through.

"The good news is that anticipated changes to the Life Safety code will make this conflict go away," stated Tobias Gilk, RAD-Planning senior vice president. "But with the pace of code revisions and adoption by the major regulatory and accrediting bodies means that we'll all have to live with the outdated standards on the books for many years yet."

Beyond sharing this information with other architecture and engineering firms, RAD-Planning recently hosted a web conference to which state and accreditation authorities were invited. "It was a small-ish group," stated Scott Branton, an architect, senior project manager at RAD-Planning, and co-presenter for the conference, "but we had a broad representation of states and accreditation bodies. We covered more than just the MRI code conflict, but that was one of the major components."

The firm has written up their analysis of the MRI code situation, and included the firm's approaches to resolving the conflict. This article was just published in the March/April issue of The Radiant, and is available online (

"We've already had requests from several of our client groups, which include both governmental and private hospitals, to provide our overview of the code changes and, specifically, how to safely and effectively negotiate the code conflict for MRI," said Junk.

Contact Information
Tobias Gilk

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