British Gypsum ceiling tiles and plasterboard products have been used to help create a healthy indoor environment for patients, visitors and employees at a new unit of St Mary’s Hospital, Kettering.

Balfour Beatty, made air quality one of its key considerations at a new St Mary’s hospita in Kettering . British Gypsum’s ACTIVair technology was specified alongside a range of interior lining systems to meet the hospitals acoustic and impact resistance requirements.

ACTIVair technology absorbs volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful pollutants found in the air and converts them into harmless, inert compounds, preventing their re-emission back into the atmosphere. ACTIVair technology performs for more than 50 years, which is longer than the intended design life of most healthcare interiors.

British Gypsum’s Gyptone ceiling range with ACTIVair, was installed in four key areas of the existing hospital building as a retrofit measure. The lead nurse office, corridor areas and memory assessment services office were used to test the success of the products in-situ, providing Balfour Beatty with sufficient data to demonstrate the performance of the technology. Another benefit of this testing phase was that it allowed the client to choose preferred ceiling designs from the comprehensive range. Gyptone Ceiling tiles and plasterboard with ACTIVair technology were then specified throughout the new build hospital building.

The effectiveness of ACTIVair technology has been tested by the accredited Eurofins laboratory. The test shows that ACTIVair decomposes up to 70% of the formaldehyde in a controlled test environment.

The St. Mary’s hospital project tests showed that, following the installation of ACTIVair ceiling and plasterboard products, there was an average reduction of 42 per cent in levels of formaldehyde, a common VOC which is linked to health issues in high concentrations. Measurements taken in rooms without ACTIVair showed significantly lower formaldehyde levels, in comparison to the same rooms with ACTIVair installed. All results were well below the maximum level recommended by the World Health Organisation of 0.08ppm.

Mark Walsh, project manager at Balfour Beatty, said: “ACTIVair technology works through a paint finish, the products are easy to install, and they offer the same fire, acoustic and durability performance as the standard ceiling and plasterboard ranges – important factors that we have to consider when selecting new solutions.”

GypWall Classic, GypWall Robust, GypWall QUIET and GypWall QUIET SF systems were used to meet the projects acoustic and duty requirements in accordance with BES5234 Part2 1992.