Designing, building and operating a medical gas distribution system can be complicated. It can involve hundreds of regulatory and safety considerations. An oversight could have serious implications for the schedule and budget of the installation, in addition to the dangers it could present to patients.

The things that should be kept in mind before designing a medical gas pipeline system are given by the HTMs. Health Technical Memoranda (HTMs) give comprehensive advice and guidance on the design, installation and operation of specialised building and engineering technology used in the delivery of healthcare. The 2022 volume HTM looks at issues of design, installation, verification and validation for MGPS. It covers the user requirements for flow, pressure and diversity and gives technical guidance on the design, installation and accommodation of plant and medical pipeline distribution systems.

Other standards are the British Standards EN 737 (BS EN 737), Compressed Gas Association, Canadian Standards Association, and the International Standards Organization. Cylinders should follow American Society for Testing and Materials standards, and pipes should have Lloyd’s certification as per BS 2871.

Apart from abiding by the standards mentioned above, here are some other design considerations-

  • The gases are supplies from the manifold room that consists of the gas reserves and control panels, which should always be situated on the ground floor having easy access to delivery vehicles.
  • This room should be well ventilated and lit and no grease, oil or naked flame should be used near the vicinity of the area.
  • A sperate room for compressors and vacuum pumps, called the plant room must be in close proximity of the manifold room.
  • For ensuring uninterrupted supply, two separate banks must be used and the switch from the Bank in use to reserve bank must be without fluctuation in the line pressure.
  • There should be a regulator for each cylinder band to initially reduce the cylinder pressure to the pressure in the two-line regulators that control the final pressure.
  • Before the system is finally handed over, tests like Pressure drop test, Valve tightness, Correct valve zoning, Anti-confusion test for checking cross connection, Flow rate and pressure test, etc is carried out.

Thus, before designing an installment as big and complex as a Medical Gas Pipeline System, there are innumerable things to keep in mind.